Circle the wagons! America’s favorite dysfunctional dynasty returns bigger and stronger than ever in Yellowstone’s fifth season. The next phase of the Duttons’ all-out war to keep their massive ranch begins with a two-hour premiere — and a six-month time jump. Patriarch John (Kevin Costner) has won the race for governor of Montana and is dealing with the royal court like a king: His bold, loyal daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly) is his new chief of staff, and his less devoted, more tortured adopted son Jamie (Wes Bentley) is general prosecutor.
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“John’s trying to blow it all up,” Bentley says of how government works in Big Sky country. He is determined to use his authority to stop any progress in development. “It becomes a clash of state and corporate power—ironically, with John as the state. There’s definitely some shady business going on,” Bentley continues. “Jamie tries to convince [John and Beth] that they could use the law instead of breaking it or bending it to do the things they want to do. But they are a blunt object.”
If pride doesn’t topple the father-daughter political machine — “You could argue that John is his own worst enemy at this point,” Bentley says — there’s plenty left from the Jan. 2 season finale that could. Specifically, Beth forced Jamie to shoot his biological father (who hit the Duttons) and took a photo of him dumping the body, which she now uses to blackmail him in order to control him. Bentley knows fans are torn about the incident: “They thought maybe Jamie was a good guy for a second and then he goes and does it. But I’ve also heard from people who feel compassion and are angry at Beth for making him do this.”
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But no one can match Jamie’s fury. “He’s full of rage,” Bentley says” have intense interactions on another level this season.” Although he’s smart enough not to act when he’s just a “rat in a cage,” Jamie has plenty of time to think about revenge. “He’s empty, alone, angry, angry, guilty and sad,” Bentley says, so we’re led to believe that Jamie no longer has his girlfriend Christina (Katherine Cunningham) and young son waiting for him at home. “It’s so long before he has to do something. What is redemption for him? It won’t be pretty.”
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Meanwhile, Sis is sitting pretty (for now) and goes home to newlywed bliss with ranch foreman Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser), the only person as devoted to John as she is. “They’ve known each other so long that there’s an almost childlike playfulness between them that you just fall in love with,” Hauser says of the couple. But if past seasons are any indication, you never know when their bubble will burst with another shooting, stabbing, kidnapping or package bomb.
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None of these tactics would deter the Duttons’ most formidable enemy, Market Equities, which wants to develop the family’s land. CEO Caroline Warner (Jacki Weaver) escalates her campaign to destroy the clan, starting with Beth, who committed corporate espionage against her. There’s a new dress shark on Caroline’s generous payroll, Sarah Atwood (Dawn Olivieri). “He comes with power.” Jamie in particular has to deal with her,” says Bentley. “He carries the same powerful energy of the business world [as Beth]. Women might have to remove it at some point.”
The family also clashes with the powerful Broken Rock tribal chairman and casino magnate Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham), who still wants to reclaim the ranch for his people, but has previously strategically allied with the Duttons against more threatening outside forces.
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“This season is a curveball for Thomas. John is gaining leverage and making decisions with significant implications for Rainwater,” Birmingham reveals. “He has a new opponent on the books who is trying to undermine his position. the first two episodes,” promises Asbille. “It will be a force at the end of the season.