Yellowstone Season 5 first-half recap: here's what happened if you need a refresher

Yellowstone season 5 has been the talk of the town. Here's what you need to know before the rest of the season airs this summer

Yellowstone season 3
(Image credit: Paramount)

Back to the ranch! Here's what happened so far during Yellowstone season 5, with recaps from all eight episodes.

If you haven't heard of Yellowstone by now, we'll catch you up to speed: it's an uber-popular TV show on Paramount that features big names like Kevin Costner, Kelly Reilly, and Luke Grimes. Set on a ranch in Montana, the show sees the Dutton family continually having to fight for their land. The show has grown to widespread popularity since its release in 2018 - so much so that it reached 5 seasons, the latest officially premiered in November 2022. So if you've been wondering why and how to watch Yellowstone, now you know.

The mid-season finale of Yellowstone season 5 aired on New Year's Day of 2023, leaving fans hungry for the final episodes of the season. Although the rest of season 5 of Yellowstone isn't projected to air until the summer of 2023, there's plenty of time to catch up on the last eight episodes. And trust us, there's quite a lot to catch up on. 

But, if you're not in the business of watching the whole season, or you just need a refresher before the release of the remaining season 5 episode, look no further - we've recapped them all below. 

Yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount)

S5, Episode 1: One Hundred Years is Nothing

John Dutton is recently elected governor of Montana, but he is not happy about it—even though Beth Dutton is crying tears of joy. We also see a flashback scene of young Rip and young Beth flirting, and of course, Beth plays hard-to-get with Rip. She wakes up in present day and apologizes for any way she could've hurt him in the past. While John is being inaugurated, Kacee is off trying to cross the border into Canada trying to stop horse thieves. The family then attends the Governor's Ball, which is actually a pretty fun reprieve from the drama in the episode. But, meanwhile, Monica starts having contractions, and has to drive herself to the hospital because Tate isn't old enough to drive. She gets into an accident, but survives - and names her baby John before the baby unfortunately dies at the end of the episode.

S5, Episode 2: The Sting of Wisdom

Monica is mourning the loss of her baby boy, and Tate wonders if Monica will be okay. Rip, as usual, gets tough on Carter, his adopted kid, as he tries to saddle a horse - and later in the episode, Carter accidentally causes a horse to break its leg, and the horse has to be put down. John fires his Chief of Staff, and gives the job to Beth, which she tries to refuse (shocker), but John won't let her out of it. John later hosts a press conference where he announces his strategies for going against Market Equities, where they're met with resistance from Sarah, who works for the company. John continues to use questionable methods in order to play the political game with Market Equities.

S5, Episode 3: Tall Drink of Water

Yellowstone cast members

(Image credit: Paramount)

Beth throws the first punches at Market Equities. In the last episode, we saw an issue with cattle being eaten by wolves, which John blames on the government, telling them that they need to eradicate the issue before it becomes bigger - and Rip continues to deal with the fallout from the wolf attacks. Market Equities has filed suit against the cancellation of the lease, which Jamie laughs off in a meeting with them as Sarah hopes Jamie will pledge his allegiance to Market Equities. Beth meets with a business partner to offer them her controlling stake in Schwartz & Meyer, and all she wants in return is the land the company has in Montana; Caroline then sees this as a "checkmate" move. Then, Beth gets arrested after hitting someone over the head with a bottle for flirting with Rip. Not good.

S5, Episode 4: Horses in Heaven

An apropos title, no? Jamie and Beth reach a boiling point in this episode - but before, Beth and Jamie discuss legal options for getting her out of jail. The woman does not press charges, so Beth is able to go. When Jamie is driving Beth back home, she notices a baby's car seat in the back. She realizes Jamie has a son, which he hadn't told anyone in the family. She is pissed, to say the least, and then vows that she'll take Jamie's son from him. Meanwhile on the ranch, they're digging graves for Monica's son and the dead horse. After the funeral, John talks with Rip about the wolves, and Rip assures him they are somewhere no one is going to find them. In a meeting between Jamie and Sarah, she flirts with Jamie and then they end up having sex - and we come to find out that Beth is spying on him and takes a picture of Sarah's ID, which Beth finds out is fake.

Yellowstone

(Image credit: Paramount)

S5, Episode 5: Watch 'Em Ride Away

Yellowstone is getting ready to brand its cattle - and John doesn't want to let his new role as governor interfere with this annual tradition, and he's able to hold it as a political event to show folks how important the tradition is. Beth is weary of Summer, an environmentalist John is working with, so she insists on going on a ride with the cowboys to stake her out, even though as Rip points out, that's not usually her crowd. After a tense family dinner, Beth and Summer go outside and fight. Beth later poises Summer to take stock of the land while the cowboys are out to see if the ranch is really the threat she thinks it is. 

S5, Episode 6: Cigarettes, Whiskey, a Meadow and You

The Duttons and Yellowstone enjoy their day out riding together, but not before the Broken Rock Indian Reservation is visited by a military force, which seemingly has some sort of vendetta against stray dogs and they begin shooting at the innocent animals, much to the dismay of Mo. Jamie also wonders if Sarah has ulterior motives (she does!), but she denies his accusations. Meanwhile, while the cowboys are out, Monica and Summer bond while peeling potatoes. Then, after a night of cigarettes and whiskey shared, John's friend Emmett doesn't wake up the next morning. John's senator, Lynelle (and his sometimes-side piece) advises him at a party that night to make some time to meet with the President while he's visiting the state. All ends well, except for Jamie, who catches a clip of John sharing a hug with Emmett's wife on the news, which really boils his blood.

S5, Episode 7: The Dream is Not Me

Sarah offers to help the ranch evolve, with Jamie's permission—to which obviously he says yes because he's whipped. Monica wonders why Beth is so mean, but they share a tender moment where Beth tells her that she lost a child as well. As they wrangle cattle, the cowboys notice stillborn bison calves, which means there's a disease. If the cattle have it, they'll have to kill the herd—but even if that's not the case, that land can't be used, which means the cows will have to be moved somewhere down south to graze, and will force the cowboys off the ranch. Beth proposes that Yellowstone start selling its own beef. The episode ends with Jamie reciting his speech for the general assembly, where he will recommend impeaching John for putting land in a conservation easement.

S5, Episode 8: A Knife and No Coin

After John asks, Monica agrees to look after the ranch with Kacee while he's away doing work and Rip is in Texas. Jamie then takes to the floor of the Montana State Assembly to deliver his speech calling for the investigation involving John. John tries to clean up the issues and asks people to remember the real issue of the pipeline. Beth finds out and she is not happy, and she goes to confront Jamie. Beth breaks into Jamie's house and hits him on the head with a rock (classic), telling him he either has to resign or she'll release the photo of him dumping Randall's body - but Jamie reminds her that if he's turned it, it will also incriminate John. Jamie asks Sarah if they could hire forces to kill Beth. Meanwhile, in a semi-happy end to the season 5 mid-season finale, Monica manages her recovery and discusses a future with Kacee and their life on the ranch. 

And for those who have been wondering if Yellowstone is based on a true story, even after reading about or watching all of this drama: yes, yes it is. 

Madeline Merinuk
US News Writer

Madeline Merinuk is woman&home's US lifestyle news writer. She covers celebrity, entertainment, fashion, and beauty news but is also obsessed with internet trends - you can find her reciting trending TikTok sounds out loud at any given time.


After winning multiple student journalism awards for her investigative work, she graduated from Hofstra University in 2021 with a B.A. in Journalism. After graduating, she worked at today.com, the digital site for the Today Show, where she wrote pop culture news and interviewed big-name personalities like Emily Ratajkowski, Haley Lu Richardson, Emma Corrin, and more.


Her personal interests, in no particular order, are: cheese, Joni Mitchell, reading, hot yoga, traveling, having multiple chapsticks in every handbag at all times, and dancing to ABBA songs as if she were in the Mamma Mia movies.