The season 5 premiere picks up on election night. Beth walks into John’s room crying tears of joy, but John is feeling the exact opposite. His opponent calls him to concede, making John the new governor of Montana.
Beth goes out to join the rest of the campaign team and watches John’s opponent officially concede. Beth grabs John so he can make a speech before his supporters. As the team clears the room to follow John, Jamie is left standing alone. He’s still on the outside looking in.
Beth Apologizes To Rip
Jamie asks John if he can introduce him and Lynelle. Lynelle tells John that was very “big” of Jamie. “He’s not doing it for you. He’s doing it to get on the stage,” Beth says. John makes a short and simple speech. As the confetti and balloons fall around them, Beth and Jamie are staring each other down.
Meanwhile, Caroline is still furious at the Duttons and hates that John has become governor. Her associate eyes Jamie in the news video and notices how unhappy he looks. Caroline asks to get Sarah Atwood out here. She’s ready to take the gloves off.
In a flashback scene, young Beth asks Rip to go out before she leaves for college. They head to a bar in town. Beth starts being Beth and confuses Rip. “I’m not yours to be jealous over,” she says to him. He thinks this date has been a mistake and wants to leave. She tells him to go and she’ll stay. He doesn’t want to leave her there alone. He leaves the keys with her and says he’ll find a ride home.
Outside, Rip runs into some of his fellow ranchhands. Rowdy tells Rip not to sweat whatever Beth’s up to. Rowdy hands Rip the keys to the truck so he can get back to the ranch. Later, Rip is waiting for Beth to come home. She sees him getting out of the car with Rowdy. She kisses Rowdy right in front of Rip.
Beth wakes up in the present day rattled by this flashback. She apologizes to Rip for how she’s treated him in the past. “I was f**king awful to you,” she says. Rip tells her that she’s overthinking this. “But I robbed us of so much time together because I was just…it’s still robbing us,” Beth says.
Rip replies, “Whatever it took I don’t need.” He tells her that she needs to find “someone new to fight otherwise you’re going to beat the sh*t out of yourself.” He wants Beth to let herself be happy.
John Orders Jamie To Fall In Line
Meanwhile, at the U.S.-Canadian border, Kayce and his agents chase down a nefarious group. He manages to stop them before they all cross over into Canada and get out of their jurisdiction.
At the swearing-in ceremony, John stands on stage with Beth, Jamie, and Lynelle. The bell is tolling in the distance. John is looking right at it. When he’s asked to state his name, he pauses for a moment. It isn’t until Beth steps up to him that he continues. John is upfront about how this was never his plan and that he never wanted to be governor.
He reveals his first plans as governor, including canceling funding for the airport project and the surrounding commercial and housing developments, doubling property taxes for non-residents, an extra tax on non-residents, and more. Jamie isn’t thrilled by any of this. He tells Beth that this is going to set the state back 30 years.
Beth lets Jamie know that he’s going to be helping John get everything passed, no matter how ugly it gets. “It’s time for your pound of flesh,” Beth tells her brother. The blackmail is alive and well.
On the way back to the ranch, John asks Beth to make him a whiskey. Jamie asks for one as well. “Go f**k yourself,” Beth snarls. John tells her to make Jamie a drink. She refuses, so John has to meet in the middle. He gives Jamie his drink and asks Beth for another one.
Jamie urges John to think twice about canceling the airport funding. John laughs at him. Jamie brings up revenue for the ranch to keep it afloat, and this could be it. Beth says there are other revenue streams for the ranch. Jamie thinks she’s going to get John impeached with her ideas. “We’re all going to prison,” Jamie quips. Beth responds, “It’s the eighth wonder of the world that you aren’t already there.”
John orders Beth and Jamie to shut up. “This is all your fault. This was never supposed to be me. It was supposed to be you,” John tells Jamie. Jamie replies, “It could have been me. It should have been me.” John is well aware that Jamie could have won but at what cost? John turns around and tells Jamie that he’s going to sacrifice for this family and do exactly what he’s told to do for the next 4 years. The ranch comes first. No matter what.
John commands his driver to not repeat any of this. The driver says John has nothing to worry about. He agrees with everything John is doing.
Rip Fears John Will Lose The Ranch
The inauguration party at the ranch is quite the gathering. This is not John’s scene, and it’s like pulling teeth for him to be a part of it all.
Beth comes across one of the guests, a singer (played by Lainey Wilson) who is performing later. Abby is staring down Ryan, but she doesn’t date cowboys. Ryan does eventually ask her to dance, and she can’t resist.
Rip is steering clear of the party. Beth finds him in the midst of it all. He admits that he’s worried about the next 10 years, and he never has before. “He’s gonna lose this place,” Rip tells Beth. Rip admits that this party reminds him of Nero playing the fiddle while Rome was burning.
Monica & Tate Get Into A Terrifying Car Accident
Monica is very pregnant and just weeks away from giving birth. Kayce’s out on a job and calls Monica. She’s having bad cramps 3 weeks early and thinks she should go to the hospital. He says he’ll meet her at the hospital.
Monica and Tate are driving to meet the ambulance when she starts to have really bad cramps. She’s driving erratically. Another driver isn’t paying attention on the road. A bison makes its way into the road and both cars crash trying to avoid hitting the animal.
The next morning, John takes a moment to breathe in the stables. Carter says he hasn’t seen him in a while. Carter has to tell John who he is because he’s grown up so much. John doesn’t have time to ride right now but wishes he did. “I miss our rides,” Carter says and John agrees.
John jokingly tells Carter to quit growing. He admits that Carter is a “living reminder of how much time I don’t have.” He also tells Carter that if he grows a beard, he’s fired.
As John is about to head to Helena, Jamie tells him that they need to go to Billings. That’s where Kayce, Monica, and Tate are. Tate is okay. He just has a broken arm and some scrapes. John finds Kayce sleeping in Monica’s bed with her.
“I had a brother,” Tate says. The baby only lived for an hour. “They named him John,” Tate tells his grandfather. John goes into the room. When Kayce wakes up and see his father, he breaks down into tears.
Kayce & Tate Deal With The Aftermath Of Monica’s Loss
Episode 2 picks up right after Monica and Tate’s car crash. Tate wakes up first and sees his mom is not in the car. He gets out on the driver’s side and sees Monica out in the field giving birth. She pleads with him to find his phone and call 911.
Back at home, Tate goes looking for his dad. He finds Kayce holding Monica while she sleeps. When Kayce comes outside, Tate asks if Monica is going to be okay. “She’s a strong woman, son,” Kayce says. Kayce promises they’re all going to be okay. It’s just going to take time.
While Tate lost a brother and he lost a son, Kayce tells Tate that Monica lost more. “She lost part of herself,” he says. Tate wonders if they’re going to try and have another baby. Kayce doesn’t know the answer to that. Tate thinks they should. He liked being a big brother.
At the ranch, Rip tells Carter to saddle up John’s horse. He’s going to ride the horse for the day. Carter is still learning the ropes, and John doesn’t take it easy on him.
John names Beth his new chief of staff and fires the one that was installed for him. Beth certainly didn’t see that coming. John wants to know his schedule, and it’s full of a whole bunch of things he doesn’t want to do. Lynelle tells John that this is politics, and he has has to shake a lot of hands. John’s only concern is making sure this airport isn’t built on his land.
Jamie explains how this will all play out. When John asks to cancel the lease, Jamie tells him that Market Equities will sue him and win. Beth fires back and brings up progress thresholds. Lynelle steps in and agrees with Jamie.
Beth chimes in to say that the land is zoned agricultural. John wants to pursue that avenue to prevent Market Equities from building the airport. Jamie begs John to talk to him about this. Beth gives him a stern warning to just do his job.
Lynelle tells John that she’ll absorb some of these meetings for now. She says that being governor is a game of favors. He’s going to have to change laws to get Market Equities out of Montana. To change laws, you have to have favors. Lynelle defends Jamie and orders John to play the politician game.
Beth heads straight to Jamie’s office to order Jamie to “never contradict” John again. Jamie swears he’s trying to help John and the ranch, but Beth doesn’t believe him. “Stop thinking you have a chance at redemption. You don’t,” Beth says. She adds, “Your political career was over the moment you chose your father over mine. You’re in my prison now. And if you ever forget it, I’ll put you in a real one.” She orders him to come to the ranch on the weekends so she can keep an eye on him.
Monica Asks To Bury Her Son At The Ranch
Monica is still recovering from her injuries. She makes her way outside and finds Kayce on the porch. “We need to have a funeral. Just us. I don’t need 50 people to tell me how sorry they are,” Monica says to Kayce.
Kayce feels guilty for not being there when Monica needed him. “We’re not going to do that. No should’ve. I could should myself to death,” Monica says. She’s not going to let him do that either.
Monica wants to bury their son at the ranch so they can always visit him. She tells Kayce to ask his dad. Kayce knows what the answer will be, but Monica says to ask anyway. “When you said you saw the end of us, is this what you saw?” Monica asks.
Kayce replies, “No, baby. No, I never saw this coming. This won’t be the end of us.” Monica asks, “What will?” Kayce says, “I’d have to choose the end of us, and I will never choose that.” Monica gets up and sits on Kayce’s lap before crying in his arms.
Wolves Could Spell Ruin For The Ranch
Rip and the crew stumble across a dead bison. Ryan assesses and doesn’t think the bison was killed by wolves. Ryan wants to get Kayce involved, but Rip doesn’t want Kayce to deal with this right now. He orders Ryan to get the degradation tags himself.
Sarah Atwood arrives in Montana to stir up trouble. Jamie brings John the documents he needs to stop Market Equities from building the airport. Jamie says John is declaring war by signing this document. John announces at a press conference that he is stopping the funding for the airport and more. Caroline has blood in her eyes, and Rainwater isn’t too happy either. Sarah sets her signs on Jamie.
Carter falls off John’s horse after the horse steps into a hole. Carter’s got a broken arm, but the horse is in worse shape. Rip says that the horse’s leg will never heal, so he shoots the horse and makes Carter watch.
After a series of meetings, John reveals that he’s putting the land in a conservation easement. Beth doesn’t think that’s a good idea whatsoever. This move will make it so they can’t sell off a piece to cover their losses. They can’t ever develop it or anyone else. That’s exactly what John wants, but Beth says they could lose the whole thing. “But it will be whole, honey. It’ll be whole,” John says. As a flashback shows, John will go to the ends of the earth for his family’s land.
John returns to the ranch and finds out about his horse and Carter. That night, Ryan and Colby shoot the wolves that find their way onto John’s land. When they go up to the wolves, they discover that the wolves are from Yellowstone National Park. Ryan admits he never got the tags, so they have to get the collars off or they’ll be screwed.
Rip has to leave Beth in bed to deal with the wolves situation. Ryan and Colby get the collars off, and they follow Rip into the park. They have to get off the collars and make it seem like they fell off the wolves in the water. They think they’ve succeeded, but one of the collars gets stuck while still attached to the piece of wood. This could ruin everything if someone on the anti-Dutton side gets their hands on this information.