By Barb Oates
It’s been an exhaustingly long wait to get answers to that epic third-season finale of Yellowstone that left three of the Duttons potentially dead. Family patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner) took a handful of bullets on the outskirts of his Montana cattle ranch while doing a neighborly deed. Favorite son Kayce (Luke Grimes) was greeted at his office with a hail of gunfire, and daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly) got a bomb package that blew up and took out half of the building she was in.
We tracked down the family’s black sheep himself, Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley), who may or may not be behind the Dutton takedown, to get some answers on Season 4 of Yellowstone, which kicked off with two back-to-back new episodes Sunday, Nov. 7, on Paramount Network.
How hard has it been to keep things secret on the new season, as you wrapped up quite a bit ago, correct? I imagine people are bugging you all the time to give a little teaser of what happens.
Wes Bentley: Well, I live a life that, fortunately, that’s not the case. I wrapped around Halloween last year, but I don’t have any social media presence. And we were in a pandemic, so I wasn’t seeing anybody. But the first store I went into after I got vaccinated, I went into Bed Bath & Beyond, I had my mask on, and I had sunglasses on, but somehow someone, they recognized me and asked what the heck is going on with our show. That was my one interaction in the real world. And it was about Yellowstone, so that made me realize how prevalent it is. Because I’m not online, I don’t always realize how big the show is.
The finale was filled with lots of devastation and multiple cliffhangers. In Jamie’s eyes, what would be the best outcome for him on what played out at the end of Season 3?
That’s a really good question. And it’s one that’s hard to answer, because it’s hard to understand where Jamie is at — in his mind and emotionally now — knowing that he’s been lied to his whole life and from a family he was all-in on and had committed fully to. I think it was a shock to his system. So it’s really hard to say.
I guess his best outcome is he gets something out of this family, something substantial, something physical, something. And I think he’s at that point now, where if they’re not going to give it to him, then maybe he is going to have to take it.
When we pick up with Season 4, where’s his head at? We know when Rip [Cole Hauser] called him in a panic, he told Rip it wasn’t his problem.
I’m trying to give you a good answer that’s something I feel like I can say without giving up too much. But I think he’s hard to read. I think it’s going to be hard to know where he is at until you see the show. Sorry.
We met Jamie’s birth father, Garrett Randall [Will Patton] last year, and he offered Jamie many bits of advice, including “kill the king.” Do you think Jamie will find happiness now that he understands why Garrett did what he did?
Yeah. I think at this point in Jamie’s life, he’s sort of starting to give up on happiness as far as it comes to a sense of family. And now he’s just looking for some kind of acceptance or belonging. And Garrett’s providing that, and Garrett’s opening that door that’s not been open to him in an emotional way, or in a real core way that [his adoptive father] John Dutton never gives him.
John never really looks in the eye of Jamie and talks to him. He just tells him what to do. But Garrett’s talking to him and listening to him. And this is opening up a side of Jamie, I think, that he’s understanding now. At this point, it may not be happiness I need; it’s just a sense of belonging.
Do you get the feeling that Jamie’s scared, though, about his birth father and being a Randall where, according to Garrett, “Killing is our only gift”?
I mean, yeah, but he’s also a member of the Dutton family and is very aware of, and has participated in, the violence there. It’s not as daunting to a person like Jamie, although I do believe Jamie believes in the rule of law. I believe Jamie believes this man is wrong for what he did, in a sense. I think he also sees the layers underneath. And his desperation overrides all of that. Jamie really essentially is alone anyway, and he’s looking for just a little bit of a connection with someone who might love him.
With the amount of knowledge and intelligence Jamie holds over the Duttons, who do you think in the Dutton clan he should be most worried about?
I think Beth, because she’s got the drive to get him. Even if she’s not as well-informed as a lawyer, I think she’s got the drive to figure it out. And he knows that. And he knows Beth has always got his number. She’s got everything on him, really, in a sense. It’s hard for him to feel like a real solid person when he knows what he did to this person. And he knows that she’ll never forgive him, even if he loves her.
We’ve always imagined Beth and Jamie as being close when they were younger, like they really were connected. And now that they’re split, that kind of person is the most dangerous to you, because they’ve got you from the inside.
Like when Beth told Jamie that she’s waiting for the time when Jamie actually loves someone only so she can take that away from him.
It’s frightening. There’s only one thing that he’s got like that right now, and that’s that kid. [Editor’s Note: Wait, what kid? Jamie’s on-again/off-again love interest and campaign manager Christina was pregnant and she told him that it’s Jamie’s child, but nothing was brought up about that in Season 3.]
Fans spent most of last season wondering what Jamie did to Beth to have her hate him so much. Give us the insider story on when you found out the reason and what your reaction was.
I don’t know fully, because I’m not in the writing room. I don’t know what [writer] Taylor Sheridan’s doing when he is putting this all together. Even from Season 1, he suggested there was something major that happened between them. And we sort of talked of a number of things it could be. That, however, never really came up. It was a bit of a surprise. Although at the same time, I guess what the surprise was, was how it went down. I guess part of me always maybe thought there was something to do with her maybe losing a child in some way, or in pregnancy losing a child. I didn’t know. So it was a surprise. And I didn’t know for sure until I read it. It was the day we got the script that I knew for sure how it went down. It was a shock, and it was so sad. It’s so hard to read, and on many levels, not just in our script, but just that this really happens was quite deeply disturbing. And then to play it is even more.
Jamie’s certainly a survivor and has shown his resilience over the seasons. What do you hope for him?
I have a hard time with this, for a couple reasons. I tend to, when I’m playing my characters, my first rule is to not judge them or try not to have a personal opinion or feeling about them. But over the seasons, that’s harder than on a film. I do catch myself wanting stuff for him, because I know him. But I also know he is not a great guy. He hasn’t done great things, so I feel weird about wanting something good for a man who’s murdered somebody. You know what I mean? It’s hard, but I play him. So there’s an empathy that I can never describe, an identification, that I know that in his heart, beyond all that, there’s a better guy than what he’s been. So I kind of want him to find some form of peace. That’s it. Even if he’s that bad guy, I still want him to find some form of peace and some love given to him. I do. I feel bad saying it, but I do.
Jacki Weaver joined the cast this season. She stars as the CEO of Market Equities, the company that employs the Duttons’ nemesis Roarke Morris [Josh Holloway].
Yeah. And I didn’t even see her.
I, in particular, was keeping myself isolated. My children were with me. So we locked up, and we didn’t go see anyone. Except at testing, I’d run into people here and there. But really, this season, I was pretty isolated anyway, story-wise. I’ve got a lot of time with Garrett. And so, I didn’t get to see a whole lot of people at all, but I would’ve loved to meet her. I’m so happy she’s on the show. She is a caliber of actor that we love having. I’m proud of all the cast members we brought on.
Immediately following Yellowstone‘s Season 4 premiere will be a first look at two brand-new shows from Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan, both of which will soon be streaming on Paramount+: 1883 (the Dutton prequel story), coming to the streaming service Dec. 19, and Mayor of Kingstown, which begins streaming Nov. 14 (Paramount Network will simulcast the Kingstown series premiere following a new episode of Yellowstone on that day).