The ‘Yellowstone’ relationships that keep viewers coming back for more

Cole Hauser / Kelly Reilly
IMDb / Paramount

For several reasons, Paramount’s number one series, Yellowstone, has a faithful audience of viewers worldwide, one of which is the sultry and all-encompassing romance interwoven through the Dutton family lineage. The Duttons know a thing or two about the fight for survival and what it means to defend your family name with everything you’ve got, but they’re also great at delivering the type of love (and lust-filled) stories that have us dreaming of cowboy-esque romances of our own.

One of Yellowstone’s most prominent love stories is that of Beth and Rip, the power couple who provide comfort and safety for one another and the kind of romance that leaves you feeling weak in the knees. They’re the “it” couple. If Yellowstone were a high school, they’d be the pairing you see walking down the halls, constantly wrapped up in one another, but they’re not the only ones who know how to light a fire.

From Cara and Jacob Dutton to Kayce and Monica Dutton, we’ve been captivated by the highs and lows that the family name can bring and the way love blossoms despite often tumultuous environments. From those we love to root for to those we watch anticipating a devastating end: here is a look at some of the Yellowverse relationships that keep us coming back for more.

Jamie and Sarah

Hear us out; we didn’t add this to the list because we’re scribbling Jamie plus Sarah forever on our notebooks or anything, but if we’re talking about relationships in Yellowstone that have our attention — this is one of them. When Market Equities realized their fight against the Duttons wouldn’t be easy, they called in reinforcements, specifically Sarah Atwood. Sarah was sent to rock Jamie’s world — to undo the Dutton family from the inside out, and she’s successfully worked her way into the depths of his mind.

Sarah isn’t the first person to work their way into Jamie’s psyche and feed the parts of him that had long felt undervalued and vulnerable, but she’s the first person to have the power and the sultry sex appeal to do it right. Jamie is seemingly eating out of the palm of her hand, but he’s not the only one with a game to play here. Jamie is going against his father, trying to get him impeached and to make him feel the pain Jamie has felt for so long, so fans aren’t exactly sure what’s going on.

It’s evident by their numerous romps in the sheets (and bathrooms, and wherever else they fancy) that they’re attracted to one another. Still, there’s something else bubbling beneath the surface: they both want to destroy the Dutton family from the inside out. While this might make it easy to believe they’d be on the same page, viewers cannot help but notice that they want to destroy the family for different reasons.

Could it be that they’re playing the long game with each other? Are they getting what they want from each other now, only to betray one another later? Only time will tell, but we’re sure we’ll find out more when season five returns this summer.

Elsa and Sam

Elsa Dutton and Sam fell fast for one another in Yellowstone prequel, 1883, and their romance based on nothing but a genuine connection and hope reminded us all of what it felt like to be young and to fall in love for the first time again. Elsa looked at Sam like he might have been magic, and Sam looked at Elsa like she was strong and worthy — they brought out the best in one another while honoring the pain they’d both experienced.

Sam saved Elsa in more ways than one, allowing her to embrace all versions of herself, both familiar ones and those she’d yet to explore. While they didn’t have a wedding, so to speak, they did honor one another in a ceremony, and before Elsa was supposed to set off to finish the journey to Oregon with her parents, they were married. Sam saw Elsa as his wife, and she saw him as her husband. Sam called Elsa the wife of a warrior, and she was to return to him after she took the trip with her family to see where they’d settle.

They had a belief in one another that surpassed logic and reason, they had a love that understood one another above all else, and they saw beyond what was to what could have been. They would ride off into a metaphorical sunset forever, discovering all of the planes of existence with one another. So when Elsa’s story was tragically cut short, our hearts broke: we wanted her to end up with her husband, with the man who loved her, but the silver lining came when audiences saw what Elsa’s heaven looked like: riding horses into eternity with Sam at her side.

Elsa and Sam might have ended tragically, but it was so beautiful that it’s a love story we’ll return to in the Yellowstone universe for years.

Spencer and Alex

A new romance in the Dutton family — or, rather, a romance that took place in the Dutton family history, is captivating audiences everywhere as the story of 1923 unfolds. Spencer Dutton was a brother of Elsa and a son of Margaret and James, and after being dealt a rather unfair hand in life, he has spent his days attempting to outrun his mind and chase an evil so big it would rattle the known pain from his soul.

Of course, we all know that you can’t outrun yourself, and Spencer could never fight something so intense that it shook him back to life, but there was something that could be done — the thing he expected the least. Spencer met someone who felt better than cheating death; Spencer met Alex. The two have embarked on a whirlwind romance, and they’re still discovering one another, all while discovering what they’re truly capable of. So when the pair begin reading letters from Cara that Spencer has yet to open, they realize quickly that Spencer is needed back home.

This is a stark change of pace from the life either of them thought they’d be living, but one thing is for sure: they want to embrace this next chapter together. Fans have been finding links between Spencer and Alex and Beth and Rip: they’re passionate, they’re in love, and they’ve got a fire that almost seems unfathomable that exists between them. Alex isn’t afraid to stand up to Spencer, and Spencer doesn’t mind when she does. They’re a new favorite couple in the Yellowstone universe, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for them.

Cara and Jacob

Cara and Jacob have been together for decades, and their romance is lived-in; they’re strong because they’ve experienced so much together, both good and bad. Everything they’ve been through has only brought them closer to one another, to the most authentic versions of themselves, and to the land and family name they honor. While they’re not in the young infatuation stage, they’ve grown to the comfortable place couples often share. They’re brave and better together, and in the already tumultuous seasons fans have seen them experience together, one thing that grounds them is the love they share.

That’s why audiences were so thrilled to see that Jacob had survived the attack on his life. While that didn’t guarantee long-term survival (this is the early 20s we’re talking about, without advancements in modern medicine), we’re crossing our fingers that the powers that be are big fans of Cara and Jacob too, and that they’ve got plenty of time left to spend together, comfortable and content.

Ryan and Abby

If you want to know which Yellowstone relationship has pulled on our heartstrings in both an incredible and heartbreaking way: it’s that of Ryan and Abby. These two came together fast, experiencing an undeniable pull toward one another, but it almost felt like the cards were stacked against them from day one. Abby is a musician, Ryan is a cowboy, and their jobs are vastly different, as are what they require of them.

At first, it was fun — a stolen kiss or a dance here or there, but it was clear that real feelings began developing quickly. So when things at the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch took Ryan and several other cowboys away from Montana, Abby didn’t want to be the girl waiting on her cowboy; she wanted to be his first choice instead. Of course, some of her knew that wasn’t possible, but we wished that it could have been.

Ryan has since made the journey to Texas, and we’ve yet to see if a future exists where he and Abby can find one another again, but we’re rooting for them.

Jimmy and Emily

Jimmy and Emily met when Jimmy was sent to Texas to learn how to cowboy (and to understand the value of hard work) at the 6666 Ranch in Texas. Their romance began quickly, as seems to be the default setting for our beloved ranch hand, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t real.

They’re a beautiful couple now, familiar and comfortable with one another, happy and content in a way that they both deserve. Jimmy works each morning and comes home to the love of his life each afternoon; they’re in the kind of familiarity with one another that most couples dream of, and they’re still having fun too. They’ve found a way to have the best of a fresh romance and a comfortable love in one — and we can’t get enough.

With Taylor Sheridan planning a 6666 Ranch spinoff, we’ll get to know them more, and that’s an exciting prospect for fans. We’ve always wanted Jimmy to find confidence within himself, and as soon as he did, he found the right woman to celebrate it with. If we had to bet, we could imagine these two will have babies running around in no time, and we certainly hope their happily ever after is a lasting one.

John and Lynelle

John Dutton had a great love for his late wife, Evelyn, and he’s never truly been a man who desired another one in her absence. What he shared with the mother of his children is something unique and rare, beautiful and wholesome, and irreplaceable. John thinks of Evelyn often, wondering if he’s doing right by her, constantly afraid she wouldn’t be proud of him at all.

While he honors her, he’s never honestly looked for a deep romance with anyone else, but what he shares with Lynelle Perry is something fans love. Their bond is seemingly just what John needs; in the same way, it’s what Lynelle needs: it’s not pressing or demanding, and it’s enough for them to revisit when the time is right. Both have been widowed, which also bonds them on a deep level.

They also have fun with one another, like when Lynelle pays a visit to the ranch and ends up falling for John’s charms, lying on a blanket with a drink as they watch the sunset together. Or the visit they made to a rodeo together, looking like a picture-perfect couple out of a western romance.

Fans know that Summer has made her presence known in season five of Yellowstone; we’re all still rooting for John and Lynelle. While we don’t expect it to end in marriage with a white picket fence — we know it’ll be exactly what they need and what we all hope for.

Colby and Teeter

Pink bears, pink hair, and a hesitant cowboy all come together to form quite a romance at the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. Colby and Teeter found one another when they least expected it, and while they’ve not exactly had an easy road together, it’s been exactly what they needed.

Colby says a lot without saying much — and some would say that Teeter says a lot without really ever saying anything at all — but somehow these two have come together and formed quite a pair. While Colby seemed to withstand Teeter’s advances for some time, he was intrigued by her, interested, and cautious with his approach. Teeter was wilder in how she desired him, eager to love and be loved in return. It took a painful experience for Colby to let his guard down finally, and when they shared their first kiss, it was extraordinary for both of them. Cheating death, they fell into one another, and it was a fan favorite moment.

Another moment we couldn’t get enough of was the pink bear moment at the fair. All Teeter wanted was that pink bear, and when Colby won it for her, the smile on her face said it all. She loves Colby and told him as much before she set off with the other ranch hands and cowboys heading to Texas for the Dutton’s next move.

They’ll be apart for months as Colby was staying at the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch to hold down the fort, but we know that it’ll be special when they reunite.

Kayce and Monica

Kayce and Monica have been a couple with whom fans are in a love-hate relationship, but hearts seem to be softening towards the pair in recent episodes. The thing is, audiences aren’t the only ones who disapprove of their bond; John Dutton didn’t want his son to be with Monica, which is actually part of the reason that Kayce is branded.

That, however, is a conversation for another time. As we dive into the relationship between Kayce and Monica, we’ve grown to understand it on a deeper level. They love one another despite their differences, and they’ve found love for one another in a way that matters the most. Experiencing some of the most beautiful moments in life together and the most heartwrenching, they’ve seen the most intense pieces of this world, which bonded them forever.

Kayce loves Monica in a way that meets her where she is, and Monica loves Kayce in a way that allows him to be who he needs to be. It’s raw, honest, and beautiful, even if it’s not always a fan favorite. They’re not really bothered with what others think of them, which only lends to the authenticity of the bond they’ve created: they’re not writing this love story for anyone but themselves.

Rip and Beth

You can’t talk about the best romances in Yellowstone and not end with these two: Rip Wheeler and Beth Dutton are on a Shakespearean level of love, lust, and a deeply rooted desire to be with one another. They’ve experienced some of the most beautiful seasons of life together, but they began with some of the most heartbreaking, and it’s only now that they’re really working through what that means.

Rip and Beth met when John gave the young man another chance at life by allowing him to live at the ranch after he experienced a profound tragedy. Rip saw his father kill his mother, and he took his father’s life soon after. He came to the Yellowstone as a boy with heartache, and that’s when he saw saving grace for the first time in Beth. Beth was interested in Rip, too, but she had a wall up, often taunting Rip to see how far she could push him before he ran away.

Obviously, he never ran far, and as we’ve seen them grow together, Rip frequently tells Beth that it’s all been worth it. He reminds her that “I’m sorry” are two words he never has to say to her, and he finds her in the depths of her despair and meets her there. Rip is for Beth what she’s always dreamed of — safety. Audiences know Beth is keeping a secret from Rip, and while she’s scared it’ll break them apart, we’re convinced it’ll finally set her free.

Of course, Rip will be hurt once he learns of Beth’s secret, but it’ll ultimately bring them closer together, and that’s a road they’re already traveling in season five. A married couple now, Beth awakens in a cold sweat thinking of her history with Rip, apologizing for the pain she put him through. With each moment Beth feels undeserving of his love, he surrounds her with it, reminding her that all she’s ever had to do was give him her heart; he’s been keeping it safe since they met. Talk about the perfect romance, right?

There’s something about Beth and Rip that we can’t get enough of, or rather — it’s everything about Rip and Beth that we’re so drawn to. They’re the kind of love story you hope to have, the type of love that can and will survive it all.