Yellowstone fans who have been speculating how Season 4 would end online in recent days got a much different ending than they probably anticipated when the show brought its most recent season to an end on Sunday night (Jan. 2). The stunning season finale gave us an impromptu wedding, a prison sentence for one character and a stunning murder that it's fair to say nobody saw coming.

The episode begins with Rip (Cole Hauser) talking Beth (Kelly Reilly) back from the edge as she is packing to leave the ranch after her confrontation with John (Kevin Costner). Crestfallen, we see another side of her as she goes to him and apologizes, telling him she'd like to stay despite his indication in Episode 9 that he might prefer for her to leave. We see that their bond, though tested, has not been broken as he tells her, "Beth, I love you. That never changes."

Another scene between Beth and Carter (Finn Little) demonstrates that although she's grown a lot over the season, Beth is still not necessarily the most motherly type.

Beth also goes to see the man who orchestrated the attacks against the Duttons that ended Season 3, then goes to see Jamie (Wes Bentley) after putting together the pieces that his birth father, Garrett Randall (Will Patton) was really behind the plot. She offers him two extremely unpleasant choices, as well as a third that viewers do not overhear.

As it turns out, the third choice was for him to murder Randall, which Jamie does, shooting his father in the head by surprise after telling him he loves him. It's an act of such a cold-blooded and calculating nature that one is left to wonder if Jamie has finally crossed a line that's irredeemable, but things get even worse for him when he takes Randall's body to the train station, only to find Beth waiting there to take his picture, which she plans to hold over his head for the purpose of controlling him in the future.

That's just as well, since she also loses her position at Market Equities after Caroline Warner (Jackie Weaver) figures out she's behind staging the media coverage of the protests.

Those protests end very badly for Summer (Piper Perabo) when a judge decides to make an example of her, sentencing her to decades in prison for her role, though John intervenes afterward, making it look like she'll serve just eight months in the end.

Meanwhile, Kayce spends days in a delirium as he goes through an indigenous ceremony to try to find out why the wolf keeps showing up for his family. He hallucinates a conversation with his brother Lee (Dave Annable), who died in Season 1, and ultimately emerges from the experience with an epiphany. But it's a disquieting epiphany, as he later tells Monica that he saw the end of their life together in his visions.

Jimmy (Jefferson White) keeps his word to John by returning to the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, and he has Emily (Kathryn Kelly) in tow, introducing her as his fiancee. That does not sit well with Mia (Eden Brolin), who attacks Emily and then has an emotional confrontation with Jimmy, telling him she wishes he'd fought for their relationship. John also demonstrates a new respect for Jimmy when he frees him from his promise with the words, "The only person you owe is yourself, Jim, You don't owe me a thing." Jimmy opts to return to the 6666 ranch with Emily, but from the looks of things, there may still be more to resolve with Mia at a later date.

The brightest spot of Yellowstone's Season 4 finale is the long-awaited wedding of Rip and Beth, though it doesn't go as he might have pictured. Beth wants to make sure the wedding is accomplished before she takes care of what she has to do with Jamie, so they end up getting married in the yard at the ranch by a priest whom she kidnapped for the job, in true Beth Dutton fashion. The wedding serves as healing for more than one character, as Lloyd (Forrie Smith) serves as Rip's best man, while Carter is also on hand for the ceremony.

The episode concludes with John wondering if he has lost his son when Beth returns from her grim errand, which ends with her saying that he now owns him. And despite all the pain that the family have endured, there's still redemption at the end. When John tells Carter that he can't see a point in riding that day, Carter shoots back, "There is no point. It's just fun."

"Guess we'd better ride," John replies in a sweet moment that reminds viewers that the tough-as-nails rancher with the indomitable will also has a soft spot for taking in strays.

Season 4 is over now, but so many questions remain. What will end up happening to Summer? Does Kayce's vision really mean the end for him and Monica? What is going to happen with their baby, and with Tate (Brecken Merrill)? Will Beth still be able to fight off Market Equities, or will they take the ranch? Will she go to prison? And most importantly, what will Jamie's role in all this be? Can he ever find his way back after all of the terrible things he's done?

Yellowstone Season 5 has not yet been announced, but this doesn't mean the end of our coverage. Stay tuned to Taste of Country as we provide comprehensive coverage of Yellowstone and the first season of the new prequel 1883, including episode analysis, news and rumors about the shows, cast interviews and more.

As part of our in-depth coverage, check out the Dutton Rules podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

1883 premiered on Dec. 19 and airs exclusively on Paramount+. Subscribe to the streaming service to make sure you don't miss out.

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