The fourth season of Paramount Network’s Western series ‘Yellowstone’ depicts several challenges the Dutton family face as they set out to protect the way of life in Montana from the non-residents. Market Equities and their people become John Dutton’s major adversaries. Meanwhile, Summer Higgins lands in the state with a bunch of protestors. Although she creates a significant impression upon her arrival, it doesn’t take long for her to get imprisoned. In the fourth episode of the fifth season, John pardons her, which paves the way for her release. If you are wondering about the reasons behind both narrative developments, let us be your ally! SPOILERS AHEAD.
Why Was Summer in Jail?
In the fifth episode of the fourth season, Summer arrives in Livingston, Montana, and protests against the Livestock Commission. Her group propagates veganism and raises its voice against animal killings. She also protests against a luxury textile shop for selling clothes made up of animal products. Beth encounters the same and lets her know that she and her group should be protesting against the airport construction that will severely affect the environment rather than a single store. Beth, who then works for Market Equities to destroy them from the inside, uses Summer and her group to tarnish the company’s reputation.
Summer more or less falls into Beth’s trap and follows every word the Dutton daughter tells her. She arranges a remarkable protest at the airport construction site, forcing the construction to stop. National media arrives at the scene, which increases the intensity of the protest. Meanwhile, authorities arrive at night to deal with the protestors. Summer gets involved in the confrontation between her group and authorities, only to handle one of the officers physically. She gets charged with assault as well. Since Summer was previously arrested in several other states, Judge Mitchell Davis believes that she should be imprisoned this time for good as a punishment rather than facilitating her early release.
Even though John seeks Mitchell’s favor, the judge makes it clear to the Dutton patriarch that he cannot allow Summer to walk away. He reduces her prison sentence to fifteen years with parole that can be scheduled after fourteen years.
Why Did John Pardon Summer?
In the second episode of the fifth season, Ryan and Colby are asked by Rip to kill wolves that are killing the cattle in the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. At night, they kill the wolves without realizing that they belong to Yellowstone National Park. After seeing the GPS tag on the dead wolves’ necks, they inform Rip concerning the same, who takes the tag out, puts it in logs, and leaves them in the nearby creek to flow down. Rangers of the national park discover the logs and find out that the wolves have been in the Dutton Ranch before disappearing.
In the fourth episode of the season, the rangers meet John Dutton and explain the predicament. John realizes the seriousness of the issue and seeks the advice of Senator Lynelle Perry to deal with the same. Lynelle lets John know about the severity of environmental protests and how it can become one of his major headaches as the Governor of Montana. Since John wins the Governor election by promising to protect the wilderness of the state, any protest against him concerning the dead or missing wolves is expected to tarnish his reputation and credibility. As John tries to find a way out of the issue, Lynelle asks him to have an environmentalist on his team to predict how the other environmentalists would be against him.
Summer Higgins is the environmentalist John Dutton adds to his team. Since Summer has participated in and led protests in several states, she must be able to foresee what John is against clearly. Considering that Summer also doesn’t align with the way of life in Montana, she brings a different perspective to the table, helping John to predict his adversaries’ potential moves against him through her. In the upcoming episodes of the season, Summer is expected to be John’s environmental consultant and they may team up together to deal with any backlashes he would confront.
In addition, John comes to know about the “pardon” system from Lynelle in the same episode. Along with adding Summer to his team, John must have been trying to fulfill his promise of helping her by pardoning her.