The Dutton family is known for its formidable members, each exuding a unique brand of toughness (except for Jamie, who doesn’t quite embody the Dutton legacy). Among them, none outshines Beth Dutton in terms of sheer savvy and grit. Her badassery is epitomized in a pivotal moment during Season 2, Episode 9 of Yellowstone.
Yellowstone thrives on its penchant for high-stakes drama, a quality that drew many fans, myself included, to the show. The entire cast seems to revel in this chaotic energy, but what Kelly Reilly accomplishes in the notorious boutique scene is truly exceptional. It leaves me torn between being awestruck and unsettled.
In the episode titled ‘Enemies by Monday’, Monica, Kayce Dutton’s wife, finds herself wrongly accused of shoplifting by the store owner, Veronique. This baseless accusation stems from Veronique’s distrust of Native Americans and a strong envy towards Monica’s youth. While this scene is undeniably uncomfortable to witness, it provides Beth Dutton with an opportunity to display her mettle.
Sensing trouble, Monica calls upon her spirited sister-in-law for help, knowing that Beth consistently goes to great lengths to support her family. And Beth doesn’t disappoint. She storms into the boutique, clad in leopard print and sporting bruises, to find Monica subjected to a degrading strip search by local authorities. Beth intervenes forcefully, putting an end to the distressing ordeal and directly confronting Veronique.
What follows is a power shift of monumental proportions, featuring some of Beth Dutton’s most memorable lines. She metaphorically disrobes Veronique, leaving her feeling as small and humiliated as she had made Monica. Glass shatters, vulnerabilities are exposed, and Beth revels in every moment.
Fans of the show have rightly celebrated this epic display of strength from their beloved Yellowstone character. It’s a scene that adds depth to Beth, revealing her unwavering determination to protect those she holds dear—a trait that I suspect will become even more pronounced in the upcoming second part of Yellowstone Season 5.
While this scene undeniably showcases Beth’s inner fortitude and appears on the surface to be a standout moment, it also underscores Taylor Sheridan’s notable weakness as a writer when it comes to female characters. Throughout the Yellowstone narrative, Sheridan has sometimes employed his female characters in ways that don’t sit quite right, whether it involves gratuitous nudity or unnecessary catfights.
The boutique scene essentially depicts three women occupying vastly different positions on the social hierarchy, engaging in a form of bullying. While I’m inclined to give Sheridan the benefit of the doubt and suggest that he intended this as a vehicle for character development and an exploration of the complexities of female relationships, there’s a lingering concern that his primary goal in writing this scene was simply to generate maximum drama and scandal.