Kevin Costner’s Directive for John Dutton Offers Clues to Yellowstone’s Conclusion!


The relationship between ‘John Dutton’ and ‘morality’ in Yellowstone is undeniably complex, but given the show’s backdrop of murder, betrayal, and chaos, this isn’t entirely surprising. However, Kevin Costner, the iconic actor behind John Dutton, has established a rule that mandates the character’s demise be ‘moral’. This decision offers significant clues about the show’s ultimate conclusion.

While John Dutton, Yellowstone’s towering central figure, can’t be labeled a morally upright person, he does adhere to a personal code. He extends warmth to strangers (provided they’re not trespassing), and he refrains from harming innocents. Nevertheless, when it comes to defending his land, which he views as a symbolic representation of his vanishing way of life, everything else is on the table.

A ‘moral death’ for John Dutton, a clause reportedly written into Kevin Costner’s contract, is entirely plausible. It’s not a contradiction in terms, and when contemplating its implications for the series’ grand finale (set to conclude with Yellowstone season 5 part 2), one word looms large: sacrifice.


A ‘moral death’ for John Dutton would almost certainly entail sacrifice, and envisioning a scenario that demands one isn’t difficult. With Jamie Dutton and Beth Dutton engaged in mutual attempts on each other’s lives, danger is imminent, and John is likely to find himself caught in the crossfire.

Would he willingly give up his life to save Beth, Rip, Tate, or any of the ranch hands? Almost certainly. For John, safeguarding his sprawling ranch (and by extension, its devoted inhabitants) is paramount. He’d trade his life for its safety without a second thought, especially given that he’s already confronted the prospect of death due to severe illness and multiple gunshot wounds. It’s precisely this kind of dramatic tension that elevates Yellowstone to the pinnacle of current television.

Now, consider this hypothetical: John Dutton sacrifices himself for another. Such a development would be pivotal to Yellowstone’s conclusion. The ownership of the ranch would pass to Kayce Dutton (Jamie wouldn’t be allowed near it, and Beth doesn’t desire it). What would Kayce do with the land? He’d likely relinquish it to Chief Rainwater’s Broken Rock reservation.

Kayce’s loyalties are twofold. Firstly, to his father, the ranch, and its continued existence. Secondly, to the Broken Rock reservation, due to his relationship with Monica and his son Tate, who was raised there and is as much a member of the Broken Rock community as he is a Dutton. Allowing Broken Rock to annex the land would serve to protect it from development (which was John’s ultimate goal) and ensure it remains within the hands of the Dutton family tree, through Tate.

Need more supporting evidence? In the prequel series Yellowstone 1883, the founder of the Dutton ranch, James Dutton, is told a prophecy by a Native American leader: “In seven generations, my people will rise up and take it back from you.” Our theory aligns with this prophecy, with John Dutton’s ‘moral death’ as mandated by Kevin Costner serving as the linchpin. It’s safe to say, this theory holds water!