Yellowstone & Weird Love Stories

Yellowstone, Beth Dutton, Rip Wheeler, Beth and Rip, elaina avalos

I’m new to the Paramount Network show, Yellowstone. I watched the first three seasons over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, thanks to Hulu. And now I’m obsessed. I can’t wait for season 4. The show reminds me, in a way, of a western Sons of Anarchy. It’s not as wild and violent as SOA – although still violent. I also think there’s something a little more redeeming in most of the lead characters at the Yellowstone ranch. Or perhaps the crimes committed are done for reasons that I’m more comfortable with (haha) than the gun and drug running on SOA. Anyway . . . I digress.

Unexpectedly, my favorite storyline in the series became the love story between Rip Wheeler & Beth Dutton. In the beginning, I was so caught up in what was going on with the family and ranch overall, that I missed some of the Beth and Rip stuff. I had to go back and re-watch parts of season 1 to settle into that. The relationship between John Dutton and Rip is also a favorite. The scene where John gives Rip the house, as an early inheritance, and calls him “son” in the letter, was awesome television – especially considering how long Rip had been on the ranch. But back to Rip & Beth. With Beth being the bad ass, wild woman she is, it’s not surprising her love story would become my favorite part of the show. There are some great scenes between them – so much so that YouTube has multiple video compilations of their scenes together.

While I have quite a few top moments, my favorite scene was a little scene that isn’t even popping up in most of the stuff I’ve searched for online. But it reminds me of those sweet moments in the beginning of a relationship when you’re becoming more comfortable with each other and you’re sort of settling into the fact that this thing is sticking around for a little bit. Maybe that nickname or pet name slips out and before you even realize it’s happening – your favorite person is now “Baby or Babe” or whatever.

The scene, on the steps of Rip’s cabin, is:

Beth: You are many things, Baby, but funny is not one of them. Sorry.
Rip: Mmm. Call me that again.
Beth: Call you what?
Rip: Baby. Say it again.
Beth: You like that, do you?
Rip: Mmm. Yeah, I do.
Beth: It’s OK, baby.
Rip: What should I call you?
Beth: Wife. [pause] I didn’t mean that.

If you’ve watched, you would know that there’s a lot to their story – so this isn’t exactly new love (hence the wife comment). But they’ve never truly been in a relationship up to this point. Though there are many scenes to love, as I mentioned, that one got me right in the feels. I also have a major nickname habit so maybe that’s why I loved that even more.

Since I can’t share a clip of that particular moment, I’ll share a couple others . . .

I loved this moment in the video below, too. There’s a reason why Rip is on the receiving end of Beth’s sweetest moments and most open and genuine feelings. It’s because she’s entirely safe with him and she knows it. He gets some real zingers too. But no one else in Beth’s life receives that same level of tenderness.

As a writer, my favorite books, movies, and television shows are always those with complex characters. And for me, that means there are times when your “relationship” with them is complicated. Maybe there are some serious greys in their character? Maybe you’re left trying to decide if you like them or not because they do jacked-up crap (like some of the stuff John Dutton does or asks his people to do)? Either way, the author clearly knows how to write characters that are equally flawed and lovable.

As I’ve been working on my novel, A Thousand Years, the first two people to read the first draft had some words to say about my protagonist’s love interest. I happen to think I write some pretty lovable male love interests. I love Gray Ford (love interest in A Thousand Years). But I didn’t write him (the first time), in a way that rounded out who he is. I had the image of the man and his type, what his struggles and quirks would be – but most of what I wrote was of the flawed side of him. Though I loved him and saw in my head the complete picture, it was hard to see what was lovable in him, in that first draft. Granted, I wasn’t writing a happy story in the first half of the book. I just forgot to show more of who he is (underneath all of his dumb decisions).

It’s in shows like Yellowstone that I’m reminded of how much I love writers for their ability to shine a light on the best and worst in us. Beth Dutton is larger than life. You’re definitely unlikely to meet someone quite like her, although I wish I could be Beth Dutton-ish with some people (haha). Her beauty is in what she has become because of her trauma and loss. Rip loves and takes care of Beth unconditionally, he’s extremely loyal, and he would do anything for his “family” – but the best and worst in him, also comes from trauma and loss. There’s beauty in the brokenness (I think). And Beth and Rip are broken individuals – who love each other fiercely and unconditionally.

Beth doesn’t hide one single thing about herself from Rip – including her heart and tender side. The fact that Rip loves her at her best and worst, knowing all of it, is a beautiful thing. I hope to always write that way. And maybe someday, my Rip Wheeler will show up?

“It’s only the things I love that die, Rip, never me. Come to think of it, I’m surprised you’re still standing.” – Beth Dutton

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