Yellowstone season 2 episode 4 recap: can John trust anyone?

 Kevin Costner in Yellowstone.
Kevin Costner in Yellowstone.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

You know how zoos ask you not to feed the animals, well Yellowstone season 2 episode 4 opening is the extreme version of this.

More on Yellowstone season 2

Yellowstone s2 e1 recap
Yellowstone s2 e2 recap
Yellowstone s2 e3 recap

At night, a plane dumps bales of hay where the Yellowstone's cattle are, which the cows quickly start eating. However, this was not a gracious gesture. The next morning Kayce (Luke Grimes), Rip (Cole Hauser) and Jimmy (Jefferson White) find a cow suffering from bloat. Bloat occurs when a cow eats something it shouldn't and is potentially lethal. Rip can't understand how it happened here. But it's not just one cow, they find hundreds of cows are suffering or have already died from bloat.

Who could have done this? Read on for a full recap of Yellowstone season 2 episode 4.

Pick a side

John (Kevin Costner), Jamie (Wes Bentley) and Beth (Kelly Reilly) are on hand as Governor Perry (Wendy Moniz) officially declares Cassidy Reid (Kelly Rohrbach) the next attorney general, which Jamie just has to grin and bear. But their focus quickly shifts as Jamie receives an urgent call. John asks "who died," but Jamie explains it's not "who."

They discover clover is the culprit for killing the cattle, so John immediately declares it a crime scene, believing it's the work of Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston). Now he needs Kayce to prove it. To do so, John brings Sheriff Donnie (Hugh Dillon) to the field, explaining Jenkins (who he calls Donnie's golfing buddy) could have hired a skydiving plane to drop the contaminated hay. When Donnie asks what John wants him to do about it, he says to deputize Kayce to officially investigate. Donnie reluctantly agrees, but is leery about Kayce using a gun while in service. John tells Donnie not to put Kayce in that situation, demanding Donnie give him backup if Kayce calls for it.

Speaking of Dan, he's realizing the tricky deal he put himself in. At the groundbreaking for the casino, Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) admits he is going to annex the land, but says that's good news for Dan, as he won't have to deal with government oversight. Dan's lawyer warns that once the land is annexed their contract can be invalidated. Sheriff Waters (Atticus Todd) overhears the conversation and chimes in, calling their potential problem justice for how Native Americans were treated.

It's not all sunshine for Rainwater though, as he still is facing some opposition about the casino. Most notably from the young tribal council member, who gives an interview during the event questioning the project.

Meanwhile, Malcolm (Neal McDonough) and Teal Beck (Terry Serpico) are disappointed Dan did not heed their warning. They decide they need a less subtle way of voicing their displeasure.

Jamie and Beth vie for power

Wes Bentley in Yellowstone
Wes Bentley in Yellowstone

Jamie is settling back into his role at the ranch when learns it has been put into a trust, which he is not on (and apparently Kayce didn't know anything about). He confronts Beth about it and all of the investments she has put the ranch on, which amounts to $5 million, half the ranch's cash. Beth shrugs it all off, saying her actions are what is best for the ranch and saying Jamie won't earn John's trust ever again.

Later, they all meet with Cassidy Reid. John wants her to look into Paradise Valley and slap an injunction on the annexation of the land to the Broken Rock tribe, with Jamie saying they are clearly trying to avoid state regulations and taxes. Cassidy also brings up the issue of the Livestock Commission's raid on reservation land from season 1, saying they should want to avoid a hearing at all cost. Beth pokes the bear though, wondering if Jamie might be culpable if he knew that a "crime" was going to be committed beforehand. John quickly shuts Beth down and diverts Cassidy by inviting her to stay for dinner. Beth tells Jamie she is going to get him disbarred and he should never have come home. When he brings up she told him to come home, she says "why on Earth would you ever listen to me."

Beth continues to taunt Jamie at the dinner table, having Cassidy sit in his seat and forcing him to sit next to her. She then pokes him under the table with her knife until he gets frustrated and leaves.

Unwelcome visitors

The two goons Jimmy dealt with in episode 3, Ray (Lane Garrison) and Blake (Ryan Dorsey), send a message to Jimmy by visiting his grandfather (Stanley Peternel), beating him up and telling him Jimmy has a week to get them their money. When he gives Jimmy the message at the ranch, Jimmy reveals he owes $8,000 but promises he'll get it, taking full responsibility for his past actions.

Also stopping by are the Becks. Rip gets into a scuffle with their security as he tries to find out who they are, but Jamie helps deescalate things. The Becks want to meet with John, which he does (without Jamie). The Becks tell him Rainwater and Jenkins' casino will lead to further expansion and destroy the Yellowstone and other ranches like it. This gives them a mutual enemy and they should partner up to fight them. John says he doesn't need partners and he's going to do what is best for his family, if that happens to benefit the Becks as well, that's just a coincidence. Jamie warns John working with the Becks could be making a deal with the devil, John says there are "only devils left."

At the university, Monica (Kelsey Asbille) teaches her class about how the past actions against Native American people have had damaging effects on their people today. Her physical therapist Martin (Martin Sensmeier) sits in on the class, praising her, but also saying if she only teaches the tragedy, her students will only see Native Americans as tragic. He suggests she show them some of the culture, like Indian relay races. He then asks if she wants to walk with him for her physical therapy session, but she says she has a faculty meeting and has to reschedule, though that seems like a lie. Monica calls Kayce, telling him she misses him. Kayce says he loves her and Monica wishes that was all it took.

Kayce decides to go to Monica's apartment that night. She lets him in and they sleep together. Afterward, Tate (Brecken Merrill) comes into the room looking for Monica and is ecstatic to see Kayce, jumping into bed with them. At least for this moment they are a family again.

Playing with fire

cowboy with a blow torch in a field on fire in Yellowstone
cowboy with a blow torch in a field on fire in Yellowstone

Kayce keeps trying to investigate where the plane came from, working with Livestock agent Steve (James Jordan). To Kayce's frustration, they get called to look into another situation. A rancher's cow has died, possibly by wolves, but Fish & Wildlife won't listen to him because he neighbor, Jerry (Don Hayes), has consistently cried wolf (pun intended) to try and get compensated for any cow that dies. They decide to go investigate Jerry's farm.

Knowing Jerry could get hostile, they call the sheriff's department for backup, but are denied multiple times. They talk with Jerry anyway and Kayce discovers he has been cutting up his dead cows with a weed wacker to make it look like a wolf attack. Steve arrests Jerry, but his son comes out with a rifle. Kayce tries to calm the kid, but Steve pulls his gun and shoots the kid when he doesn't put the rifle down.

John is called in and asks Kayce if the killing was justified. Kayce says it was justified, but that doesn't mean it was right. When Donnie arrives, he's all ready to blame Kayce, but John punches him and says they didn't get the backup they requested, so this is on him.

When the Beck brothers see the news report about the shooting, they see an opportunity to get John on their side.

John caps off his day by watching the cowboys burn the field with clover to prevent it from taking root.

Yellowstone season 2 episodes air Sundays on CBS and are available to stream on-demand on Peacock in US and Paramount Plus in the UK.