Paramount Network’s ‘Yellowstone‘ is a Western drama revolving around the Dutton family’s quest to save their land from external threats. In the series, the Dutton family is led by patriarch John Dutton who faces several dangerous and powerful foes. However, John trusts only a few people and none more than Rip Wheeler. Given John and Rip’s long-standing relationship rooted in their trust for each other, it would be shocking if John kills Rip in the show. Nonetheless, there is plenty of compelling evidence to suggest the same. If you are wondering whether John will kill Rip in ‘Yellowstone,’ here is everything you need to know! SPOILERS AHEAD!
What Happens Between John and Rip?
In ‘Yellowstone,’ Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) is the ranch foreman of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. He is the right-hand man of John Dutton III (Kevin Costner) and the husband of John’s daughter, Beth Dutton. Rip came to the Yellowstone Ranch after the dearth of his parents, and John took him in, giving the young boy a second chance in life. Young Rip was involved in the death of Rowdy, and John helped him cover up the crime in exchange for his undying loyalty to the Dutton family.
As a result, Rip becomes a branded ranch hand and eventually rises to the position of the ranch foreman. Later, Rip marries Beth and John treats him like a foster son. Rip is extremely loyal to John and covers up several crimes for the Dutton family, doing John’s dirty work. In the fifth season, John trusts Rip to take their ill cattle to Texas for the winter until recovering from the disease. Therefore, it is safe to say that Rip and John are on good terms and do not harbor any animosity toward each other.
Will John Dutton Kill Rip?
Fans of the show love to theorize about the ultimate fates of the show’s characters, and Rip is always the talk of the town because of his loyalty to the Dutton family. Although Rip is very close to John and essentially the Dutton patriarch’s most trusted employee, it would require a surprising turn of events for John to turn on Rip and kill him. It is important to note that Rip found John after a militia gunned him down in the season 4 premiere.
However, some fans have theorized that the scene of Rip killing John’s favorite horse out of mercy is a foreshadowing of Rip’s ultimate fate in the show. In the second episode of season 5, titled ‘The Sting of Wisdom,’ Carter rides John’s horse but causes it to break its leg. As a result, Rip shoots the horse to put it out of its pain. Viewers believe that the horse symbolizes Rip, John’s most trusted man. Furthermore, Rip is always ready to take the blame for John or the Dutton family’s crimes. A situation could arise where Rip is forced to commit a crime that breaks his promise to the Dutton patriarch and ends his term of loyalty. As a result, John could be forced to kill Rip.
On the flip side, Rip could also selflessly offer to lay down his life to void a crisis situation for the Dutton family. Things could pan out in a way that Rip’s death could actually protect the Dutton family and help them save their land. As a result, Rip would gladly allow John to kill him, bringing his journey full circle. Lastly, viewers have noted that Rip’s name could hint at his eventual demise. Therefore, Rip’s demise seems inevitable, and John having to kill his most loyal and trusted soldier would make for a heartbreaking moment that would also complete Rip’s character arc.