Yellowstone: All 19 Major Character Deaths Ranked by Impact

All the major character deaths in Yellowstone

“All the angels are gone, son. There’s only devils left.” John Dutton (Kevin Costner) told Kayce (Luke Grimes) as he taught him why kill-or-be-killed is the order of business in Yellowstone. The family was at war with the Malcom and Teal Beck, and the longest string of killings in the valley was just about to hit the family. Every death in the five seasons of Yellowstone is a spectacle to watch as each one leaves fans more shocked than the previous one.

From Lee Dutton’s death, which left Yellowstone fans forever angry with Thomas Rainwater, to the likes of Roarke Morris, which deliver the best type of poetic justice fans could ever expect, it is fair to say that deaths in Yellowstone rarely disappoint. The deaths of Dutton family members still have the greatest impact on the show, with that of Kayce and Monica’s baby being the show’s saddest. Here is a look at how much each major character’s death in Yellowstone affects the plot and the viewers.

1. John Dutton IV

Yellowstone Johnand Monica Long at Jod Dutton IVs burial

The death of a child is always difficult, but John Dutton IV’s death was especially painful because Monica only got to celebrate the new life for an hour, and young Tate had to name the baby.


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Monica Long could have prevented her unborn child’s death if she listened to Kayce and waited for an ambulance rather than choosing to drive herself to the hospital. The death came at a critical time for the whole family, with their relationship already struggling. Although John Dutton tried to help the family recover from the tragedy, there was just no way to relieve Kayce and Monica’s pain.

2. Lee Dutton

Lee Dutton and John Dutton on Yellowstone

Lee Dutton seems to be the only Dutton that got along with everybody and who just didn’t care about the sibling rivalry and family squabbles. He was Kayce’s best friend, and his death could have been prevented if Thomas Rainwater and Robert Long acted more reasonably. Lee died in the first season while recovering the ranch’s cattle from the Reservation when Thomas Water tried to claim them as the tribe’s property. His death broke every Dutton’s heart and widened the rift between the Duttons and the reservation beyond repair.

3. Evelyn Dutton

Evelyn Dutton in Yellowstone

Evelyn was John Dutton’s wife and Beth’s mother, and while her death was only shown in flashbacks, it had one of the greatest impacts on the Dutton family. She was always hard on Beth, but it was only because she needed her to grow up as a Dutton. Evelyn’s death meant that Beth had to grow up without guidance and with the guilt of knowing she had killed her mother. Having Jaime as the elder brother and John as the iron-fisted father didn’t help Beth either.

4. Sarah Nguyen

Yellowstone 206 Jamie killing Sarah

Sarah Nguyen was the journalist Jaime told the Dutton family’s secrets to defeat his father during the elections. Jaime was more reasonable and didn’t look like he could commit such a violent murder until the moment he grabbed her neck and killed her. When he sought Rip’s help to dispose of the body, it became clear that he was a killer capable of being more cold-hearted than John Dutton. Jaime immediately became a villain, and he had no way back.


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5. Dirk Hurdstrom

Dirk Hurdstrom

Despite his clumsiness, Jimmy Hurdstrom is one of the most likable characters in Yellowstone, and he would never have come to the ranch if his grandfather didn’t beg John to employ him. Dirk’s death at the hands of two drug dealers, because his grandson owed them a debt, was heartbreaking. Jimmy’s pain was difficult to watch as he lost the only family he had left. The loss helped Jimmy find his spine as he realized he had no one else to rely on but himself.

6. Garett Randall

Garett Randall in Yellowstone

Garett was one of the biggest plot twists in Yellowstone as he completed the deterioration of Jaime into a villain. While the Duttons are not the best of families, they loved and raised Jaime as their own child, but Garett didn’t seem to factor that in for a while, encouraging his son to destroy them.


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He proved that he didn’t care about Jaime’s emotional welfare when he asked that he should be the one to kill him. His attack on the Duttons had already caused lots of damage, but advising his son to kill him transformed Jaime into a monster, not to mention Beth recording him as he tried to dispose of the body. Garett was just so sick with hate, and even his death didn’t serve any good.

7. Roarke Morris

yellowstone roarke morris josh holloway paramount network

Rip has committed most of the most gruesome murders in Yellowstone, but the Roarke Morris one was just one step too interesting, if not somehow satisfying. Roarke was one of the most dangerous Market Equities agents the Duttons faced because he purchased the Cross Creek ranch and then hired the Morrows to frustrate the Duttons by encroaching onto their ranch. Rip put a rattlesnake in a cooler and approached him while he was fishing, leaving the snake to do the hard job for him. It is one of the cleanest murders that Rip has ever committed.

8. Robert Long

Lee Dutton pointin a gun at Robert Long

Robert was Monica Long’s brother and a police officer on the reservation who went rogue after the Duttons recovered their cattle and shot Lee Dutton. Robert insisted that the reservation had the right to keep the cattle, which was ridiculous.

Kayce was forced to kill his brother-in-law to protect himself and avenge Lee. Having to hide the details of the death from Monica caused a huge rift between Kayce and Monica, nearly leading to their divorce. Robert’s wife also later killed herself out of grief and desperation. He ended up being such a big nuisance for everyone despite his death being his own fault.

9. The Beck Brothers

Teal and Malcolm Beck in Yellowstone

Teal and Malcolm Beck are the most dangerous villains ever hitting the Dutton ranch. They went as far as kidnapping Tate just to hurt the Duttons. The fight to save Tate brought everyone together in the show, including Dan Jenkins and Thomas Rainwater. It made the entire valley realize they had bigger problems than their local territorial and ethnic squabbles. As Kayce shot him on his toilet seat, Teal’s death was the most satisfying. John took care of Malcolm after saving his grandson, ending the outlaws.


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10. Samantha Long

Samantha Long before her death in Yellowstone

Samantha was one of the victims of the massive fallout between the reservation and the Duttons over the cattle that strayed onto the Rez. After Robert Long’s death, Samantha found it difficult to cope independently as the burden of parenting without a stable income proved too difficult. Her suicide hit Monica hard as she was only trying to deal with her brother’s death. The sight of her children suddenly becoming total orphans just made the idea of the misery of living on the reservation worse.

11. Carter Meads

Carter Meads in Yellowstone

Meads was the white supremacist that the Beck brothers hired alongside his girlfriend to kidnap Tate. Kayce and Sheriff Haskell teamed up after getting information about his hideout. Having caused so much pain to the Duttons, most fans expected John Dutton to subject him to harsher punishment, such as taking him to The Train Station, but he let Kayce and the sheriff legally handle it. It was quite a routine takedown and a satisfactory end to the Beck brothers saga.

12. Dan Jenkins

Dan Jenkins in Yellowstone

You would expect the death of John Dutton’s biggest enemy in the first season to be satisfactory for most fans, but Jenkins’ death was actually distressing to watch. The old man was shot dead by a third hitman after successfully taking down two assassins’ in a shootout he seemed to have survived.


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He assumed that his partnership with Rainwater and the Beck brothers made him invincible until he realized that they were more dangerous than John Dutton. After heeding the warning of John Dutton earlier in the show after he was half-hanged, Jenkins had actually become a bearable ex-villain for the fans.

13. Donnie Haskell

John Dutton and the Sheriff in Yellowstone

Despite their differences earlier in the show, the sheriff and John Dutton were friends and always worked together to eliminate real threats to the Yellowstone River Valley community. He was shot by robbers that had taken a diner hostage in the shooting in which John Dutton was the hero of the day.

Haskell died of his injuries while trying to say his last words to his daughter over the phone, making it one of the saddest deaths in Yellowstone. John Dutton stepped in and gave his best father-figure display as he calmed the poor daughter that had just heard her father’s last words on the phone.

14. Emmet Walsh

Emmet Walsh death on the trail in Yellowstone S05

” … He just died on the trail, like every cowboy dreams it.” John Dutton told Rip as he celebrated Walsh’s death as the best one any cowboy can ever dream of. Knowing he would die, Walsh accompanied John Dutton and the rest of the ranch on the trail to move herds across the valley. Despite the death being hard on everyone present, including Walsh’s wife, John Dutton told everyone not to be sad. The death came at one of John’s hardest moments as a governor, but it somehow lifted spirits on the ranch.

15. Chester “Chekers” Spears

Brad Carter as Chester in Yellowstone

To punish the man who brought so much misery to his family, John Dutton showed his best badass moments by having an old-school shootout with Chester Spears at the Train Station. He confessed to knowing who was behind the attacks on the Duttons at Thomas Rainwater’s casino, and Rainwater decided to hand him over to the Duttons. Spears confessed to being a killer that enjoyed shooting people in the back of the head, but John Dutton proved to be the true master of the art by beating him in a fair fight.

16. Fred Myers

Fred Myers Yellowstone 1024x650 1

Myers was the first person to be taken to the Train Station in Yellowstone, and unlike John Dutton, who gave Spears a chance to defend himself, Rip just shot him as he begged for mercy. It was tough to watch, but he wasn’t nice either because he had just beaten poor Jimmy senselessly back at the ranch. His death established Rip as the most dangerous killer on the Ranch. Fred was just a bully and probably didn’t deserve to die, but the rules of Yellowstone had to be enforced, and Rip didn’t regret it.

17. Ray and Blake

The Drug Dealers Blake and Clay in Yellowstone

Ray and Blake are the drug dealers that beat up Dirk Hurdstrom leading to his death, just because Jimmy refused to cook Meth for them. Their actions irked everyone in Yellowstone, leading to a united revenge mission by everyone on the ranch led by Rip to get justice for Dirk and Jimmy.


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The initial plan was to simply blow them to kingdom come, but Jimmy chose to have a final word by giving them a beating first. The explosion marked Jimmy’s baptism as a cowboy as he became a responsible member of the bunkhouse afterward

18. Doctor Patrick Monteith

Rip and Patrick Monteith in Yellowstone

Monteith was the Bozeman medical examiner and only did his job when he ruled Robert Long’s death as an execution. Long didn’t deserve any sympathy for the death because Kayce killed him to protect himself, but Monteith wouldn’t understand it. Rip killed him by strangling him in his lab before setting off an explosion t cover his tracks. While the move saved the Duttons, many fans didn’t agree with Rip’s actions because the doctor, although a drug addict, was only doing his job.

19. Wade & Clint Morrow

Wade and Clint Morrow in Yellowstone

Wade Morrow was once a ranch hand on the Yellowstone and friends with John Dutton. Roarke Morris hired him to frustrate the Duttons by pushing buffalo closer to the ranch, which increases the risk of disease for cattle. He took it too far when he attacked Dutton cowboys, causing John Dutton to order the ranch hands to hang him. His Son Clint met his own form of poetic justice when he hit a branch while fleeing on his horse and hit his head on a rock when he fell, bleeding to death.

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