‘Yellowstone’s best quotes and the characters that delivered them

The Yellowstone cast posed in a field with a pickup
Image via Peacock/Paramount Pictures

Paramount’s Yellowstone first took viewers on a ride to the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch in Montana in 2018. We immediately met John Dutton, patriarch and ranch owner, and realized that this show was unlike anything else on television.

Yes, there are other dramas set against a western backdrop and other stories about the fight for family, but this one has an untouchable level of magic. Viewers quickly found themselves hoping to be part of the Yellowstone, experiencing that level of camaraderie and loyalty. 

Of course, the beauty of Yellowstone doesn’t hurt either, and we’re not just talking about the gorgeous scenery. The cowboys, ranch hands, and the Duttons themselves are beautiful, so there’s a lot about the show to love, including the fact that it’s a very quotable series. 

With powerful characters telling the complex storyline, viewers often pause the television to go back just a few seconds and hear lines of dialogue again. The writing for Yellowstone is next level, and so many quotes from the series have become like quotes from a novel, the kind you hold on to and memorize because they touch just the right spot in your heart. 

Monica Dutton might think the best medicine is a ceiling full of stars, but we think it’s finding the perfect Yellowstone quote to push you through the days that feel a little harder than they should. The series makes viewers laugh, cry, and fall in love — and that’s all in one episode.

These Yellowstone quotes highlight the good, the bad, and the romantic, and we know you’ll enjoy them. 

“You ever have a girl look at you, and your whole world just stops?” – Jimmy

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? It’s that moment when someone meets your glance for the first time, and you must remind yourself to breathe. Jimmy experiences this butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling, and we can all relate.

“Learn to be meaner than evil and still love your family and enjoy a sunrise.” – John Dutton

John Dutton isn’t a perfect man, and he’s never promised to be one, but he is a man that loves his family. Through everything the Duttons have experienced, it would have been for nothing if John hadn’t been there to help pick up the pieces. Sometimes you’ve got to keep that mean bone in your body, but don’t forget to love your family and enjoy the little things — like a sunrise.

“I believe in lovin’ with your whole soul and destroying anything that wants to kill what you love. That’s it. That’s all there is.” – Beth Dutton

Seeing Beth allow herself a level of vulnerability with Rip Wheeler is a treasure. Sometimes, loving someone feels like the most dangerous thing you can do, that is, next to accepting their love. Beth has experienced a lot of pain and heartache, but she still believes in loving with all she’s got — and taking down anything that dares to harm that. We’d all do well to love with that much abandon.

“I see things in people, and I feel like if I can touch it, even if the rest of the person is rotten, I can take that good thing and make it part of me.” – Rip Wheeler

Rip Wheeler often underestimates the man he is. Sure, he knows he’s tough, has a job to do, and is a fierce protector of the Dutton family and the ranch; Rip sees less that he’s got a soul worth loving. Rip is a people watcher, he has to be, but he’s also someone who tries to find the good in others and get a little bit of that good for himself too. If we only see the bad in people, we only feel it; why not try to touch the good when it’s there?

“If hating me keeps you from hating yourself, I’ll be that for you, Beth. That’s what family’s for.” – Jamie Dutton

Jamie and Beth have one of the most layered relationships in the entire series, with good reason. The love they used to share is now replaced by hate so deep that it’ll burn anyone in its destructive path. Jamie wronged Beth, Beth can’t find forgiveness to give him (even if she wanted to), and they’re both constantly fighting for survival. This quote tugs at our heartstrings because it shows the depth of their love; it had to be significant for him to be willing to be the thing she hates forever.

“Soldiers don’t tell war stories anymore, dad, because wars these days, it’s just about trying to live through them.” – Kayce Dutton

As we’ve said a thousand times, Kayce and the rest of the Dutton family constantly struggle to survive. A bad one is often on the horizon on every perfect day they have. Why aren’t there war stories told anymore? The answer is simple; there’s no end to war. You must keep living through it repeatedly; a new battle each morning.

“I can’t think of a better medicine than the stars for a ceiling.” – Monica Long-Dutton

Monica, Tate, and Kayce have all needed a lot of healing. In a particular scene, she tells her husband, Kayce, that there is nothing more healing than being outside with the stars for a ceiling. It reminds us that we should look up more often, taking in the majesty of something so much bigger than we are.

“You know, you did something that no one does, Rip. You’ve outlived your past.” – Lloyd

Rip Wheeler experienced things that no one should ever have to go through as a child. He did things as a child that no man should ever be forced to do. Rip had a front row to loss, justice, and heartache, and he did what he could to stop it. Lloyd tells Rip that he’s outlived his past; he’s not that same person anymore; the pain of his past can’t hold him hostage any longer. There are things in all our pasts that hurt, but we can outlive them.

“Karma comes in all shapes and sizes. Guess it’s me today.” – Walker

Walker has been through a lot during his time at the ranch, and as someone who many still see as a flight risk, it was nice to see him say this and have meaning behind it. He is part of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, which sometimes means showing up as someone’s karma.

“Bullies need to be big, and I’m bigger than you.” – Lynelle Perry

Lynelle Perry certainly knows how to deal with bullies, and to outplay the bad guy, you need to be bigger than them. The thing is, that’s not always in size but in fight, heart, and bravery. Perry is tough, we’re not robbing her of that, but she’s also intelligent, wise, and bigger than her foes.

“All men are bad. But some of us try real hard to be good.” – Chief Thomas Rainwater

More than almost anyone in the series, Chief Thomas Rainwater knows who he is and who he isn’t. He doesn’t try to be someone he’s not and is often a voice of reason. It resonates when he stops to admit that all of us are bad, but some try hard to be good. We have the choice to wake up and do good or harm; we’re the only ones who make that decision.

“Winners are never judged by how. They save that for the losers.” – Angela Blue Thunder

While Angela Blue Thunder is a polarizing character, this quote stands out. Winners aren’t held responsible for how they win, but losers are judged by how they lost. It’s something we’ve all experienced in one way or another, either as a winner or a loser.

“She’s not evil, Mo. She’s just angry and trying to punish the world for everything it did to her.” – Chief Thomas Rainwater
“Yeah, I know. That’s what evil means.” – Mo

What is evil if not someone who holds onto anger and tries to hurt others because of it? We’ve all been hurt, wronged, and in pain, but if we try to burn the world because we’re hurting, we only cause more chaos. Mo and Chief Thomas Rainwater shared an important fact of life during this discussion.

“I like having somebody to fight for rather than something. When you fight for a thing, the thing doesn’t care if you win or lose because the thing ain’t alive. But when you fight for people, they care.” – Kayce Dutton 

Don’t we all hope to be cared about? Don’t we all wish for someone to be impacted positively because we’ve fought for them — in significant and small ways? Kayce is tough, he’s rugged, but he’s also vulnerable and charming. This quote says a lot about who he is as a man, and it hits home with so many of us.

“There’s sharks and minnows in this world, Jimmy, and if you don’t know which one you are, then you ain’t a shark.” – Rip Wheeler

You’re either born a shark or a minnow and if you have to wonder which you are, well — you’re not a shark. Sharks know they’re powerful; they’re the alpha. Minnows don’t often realize that they’re minnows until they meet a shark.

“You are the trailer park, I am the tornado.” – Beth Dutton

This infamous quote by Beth Dutton is on mugs, shirts, keychains, and anything else you might imagine. Beth is a tornado, she’s not afraid of causing destruction in her path, and she certainly isn’t worried about whether or not you’ll be hurt because of it.

“All the angels are gone, son. There’s only devils left.” – John Dutton

There are times in life when we no longer see angels; all surrounding us are devils. John sees this in the moment, but he’s also looking at the bigger picture. What happens to us when all that’s left are those who wish to harm us? Where can we look to find the angels again?

“Your grandfather used to say you can’t fix a broken wagon wheel, but you can use the parts to make a new one.” – John Dutton

This quote is compelling because it’s a hand-me-down from a grandfather and a lesson. You can’t fix a broken wagon wheel, but you can create a new one with its pieces. We can’t ever become the person we were before, hurt or change, but we can restructure and become someone new again. We can do the same with anything in our life that breaks, including relationships.

“A man who puts a hand on a member of my family never puts a hand on anything else.” – Jamie Dutton

Again, Jamie isn’t a fan favorite, but he does know who his family is. That idea is complicated for him more so than most characters, but he knows that if someone dares to harm his family, they’ll never do another thing in their life. He’s willing to make that a promise.

“God wouldn’t let you love somethin’ that can’t love you back.” – Kayce Dutton

The circumstances in which Kayce says this in Yellowstone will play a part in the upcoming fifth season, so we had to include it for that reason. We also had to share it because it’s something he says that some will immediately agree with while others will be quick to challenge it. Does God allow us to love things that will never love us back? Is it love or a learning experience?

We don’t know quite yet for the sake of this quote, but we’ll find out more when Yellowstone kicks off its fifth season during a two-hour television event on November 13.