Fans have come to expect a few things with each new season of Paramount’s Yellowstone: moments of romance, power struggles, and untimely character deaths.
Okay, some of those character deaths aren’t all that untimely — people have crossed the Dutton family and been dealt a hand of cards that ultimately led to pain and destruction, and fans weren’t upset about it in the slightest.
Yellowstone has gripping characters to tell beautifully multilayered storylines, but they’ve also got downright terrible characters. Of course, it all lends to the storytelling process, and with high stakes, you’ve got to anticipate extreme villains, but some losses in Yellowstone feel more like wins.
When season 4 came around, the stakes were at an all-time high. Several fan-favorite characters were lost somewhere between life and death, and there were no guarantees as to who’d make it after such intense battles.
So what characters died in season 4 of Yellowstone? Which lives were in the balance, but they ended up surviving? Let’s take a look.
While the deaths in season 4 were significant, the surviving characters also played a hand in the continued storytelling. That’s especially true because season 3 left the lives of many of the Duttons themselves hanging in the balance.
While it was touch and go for far too long, John Dutton did survive the attack on his life, and fans had never taken such an enormous sigh of relief.
Yellowstone has teased John’s death on many occasions, but it would be nearly impossible to imagine the series without him. Of course, his staying alive meant those who orchestrated the attack against him were brought to swift justice, which made for an exciting season 3.
John might be alive now, riding horses to enjoy the sunrise. Still, for as much as his character has experienced touch-and-go scenarios, we know not to get too comfortable with the idea of his longevity.
Yes, it creates a state of constant nervousness for fans!
Beth Dutton ended season 3 with a bang, and we don’t say that lightly. Fans thought they’d seen the last of everyone’s favorite swear-word-loving, stiff drink-enjoying powerhouse, and it didn’t sit right with anyone.
Luckily, Beth survived the attack that was meant to kill her, which did a couple of things to her as a character. We saw a softer side of Beth in season 4, in some ways, but also a less trusting side. With a character who had already been through so much, that didn’t leave a lot of her left that trusts anyone — and that is a big arc for her in season 4.
The season may have started with a life-in-the-balance moment, but it ended with a wedding, and we can’t say we’ve been more pleased by another TV moment in a while. We’re hoping Beth and Rip have a long, love-filled life ahead of them.
Plus, they need more moments in that cabin of theirs together — the sweet side they pull out in one another makes for some sultry romance, and we can’t get enough,
There are some characters whose death would start a riot, and Kayce Dutton is one of them. One of the Dutton boys, he’s an impactful character, kind, and one of the most vulnerable in the series.
Kayce is an easy guy to love, so when we realized he’d been shot at the end of season 3, we all waited on bated breath to see if he’d survive. Luckily, the odds were in our favor, and Kayce lived to see another day and steal our hearts all over again.
Season 4 has been an important one for Kayce, a moving one, and it’s led him on a spiritual journey unlike any character in the series has taken before. There have been some life-and-death moments for him in season 4, even after he recovered from being shot, but his will to live is more robust than anything he’s faced so far.
We’re just crossing our fingers that it stays that way. We can already imagine the hashtags across social media if we were to lose him.
Jimmy Hurdstrom is everyone’s favorite ranch hand, but to say he’s had an easy road would be quite an understatement. Jimmy’s character is a people pleaser, and that’s gotten him in over his head a few times.
At the end of season 3, wanting to be something more than he should ended with him suffering a significant injury, one we didn’t expect him to recover from.
Season 4 saw Jimmy in a hospital bed, trying to strengthen the use of his hand, and while the moment sent a wave of relief through fans everywhere, it was also nerve-wracking.
Fans knew that John wouldn’t be happy with Jimmy being reckless if he survived — and they were right. Jimmy’s choices got him sent to the 6666 Ranch in Texas to reevaluate his life, job function, and what was important to him.
While the season also proved that he’s always got a home in Yellowstone, Jimmy had some growing up to do, and it’s been exciting for fans to see it happening. With a potential spin-off in the works, we’re not sure what to expect from Jimmy in season 5. Still, he and his new fiancé are both cast regulars, so we’re hoping that means they’re going to be calling the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch home.
The significant deaths in the season happened in later episodes; surprisingly, there was no one we couldn’t live without. Think of these losses as — well, the trash taking itself out. Of course, episode one did have one death that would impact the series’ future, but it happened off-camera and through another character.
When Beth was at the hospital visiting her own father, patriarch John Dutton, as he teetered between life and death, she met a boy named Carter.
Carter was at the hospital because his own father was sick. The child, barely a teenager, was there alone, and Beth immediately felt connected to him. It didn’t take long for Carter to be disrespectful to Beth, and as we all know and love her, fans know she’s not one to handle disrespect well.
Carter’s father did end up passing away, and Beth’s patience with him began wearing thin, but Rip sees something in him. Carter remains at the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, and the passing of his father led audiences to get to know an interesting character in the series and someone who reminds us a lot of a young ranch-hand we all love. Maybe that’s why Beth had a soft spot for him so early on.
Roarke’s death in season 4 was not surprising but did leave some fans feeling like his character hadn’t yet fulfilled everything he set out to do.
Of course, that serves the purpose of the ever-evolving storyline: some evil must be dealt with immediately, not left to linger to see if they’ll make that epic next move. Roarke’s death scene was quite brutal, but it felt like a moment Rip needed to have.
He surprised Roarke with a snake in a cooler, something we never knew we needed to see — until it happened. Rip is, of course, John’s right-hand man, and his job is to protect the family and the ranch. Doing so with such flair is just an added bonus for the man beneath the cowboy hat.
Chester ‘Checkers’ Spears
If you thought the Dutton clan would let the man who helped plan the attack on their family live, you clearly haven’t been paying attention. Chester Spears was killed in season 4, serving as one of those deaths we didn’t shed a tear over.
Spears didn’t face just any Yellowstone death, either; he was taken to the train station. Before his trip, Spears was captured by Mo and held in his shed. The moment further proved that anyone who messes with the Duttons is also dealing with Mo and Chief Rainwater.
The train station took Spears on a fitting final last ride, and we’re grateful he had a ticket.
Randall’s death was one of the most prominent in the fourth season and the series as a whole. His character was relentless in his fight against the Dutton family, but not ever as physical or in your face as other foes of the family.
What Randall did best was draw a line of separation between Jamie and the Duttons, which made his death at the hands of Jamie all the more ironic. He had a decision to stick with his biological father or side with the family that raised him — Jamie, all things considered, chose smart.
Randall was killed at the hands of Jamie, and as the fallen in Yellowstone often are, taken to the train station, only this particular visit came with a bonus. Beth showed up as Jamie was, well, putting his father on the train and took pictures for evidence. Jamie is a pawn in her game, now and forever, and it’s a slow game that he’ll be playing forever.
You can watch prior episodes of Yellowstone now on Peacock, and you can see new episodes when season 5 premieres on Nov. 13.