Author and director Taylor Sheridan has, merely put, taken over our TV screens. Paramount+’s Tulsa King starring Sylvester Stallone is gearing up for a Season 2, and the Jeremy Renner-led Mayor of Kingstown was not too long ago renewed for Season 3. David Oyelowo’s Lawmen: Bass Reeves will likely be an anthology sequence about well-known lawmen all through historical past. None of those exhibits, nevertheless, would probably be in existence if it weren’t for the huge success of Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone, the hit cable sequence that is additionally made its solution to CBS. The sequence, led by Kevin Costner, is coming to a detailed with Season 5 after some behind-the-scenes drama, although Matthew McConaughey is ready to guide a Yellowstone spinoff.
Whereas it may be laborious for a multi-season sequence to recollect each plotline from its early years — particularly given how lengthy Yellowstone’s episodes can run — one forgotten character stands above the remaining, awaiting actual justice for his absence: Dave Annable’s Lee Dutton. With spinoff prequels similar to 1883 and 1923 introducing so many different Duttons so as to add to the more and more giant household tree, it is easy to neglect about Lee completely. In any case, the character is not within the present all an excessive amount of, and his siblings, Kayce (Luke Grimes), Beth (Kelly Reilly), and adoptive brother Jaime (Wes Bentley), typically battle (often one another) for Yellowstone’s heart stage. A humble cowboy like Lee would not actually match into the cutthroat world that Taylor Sheridan created, therefore why he did not stick round. However what occurred to Lee? Why did Dave Annable go away the present so abruptly? Effectively, the solutions are easier than you may assume.
Who Is Lee Dutton on ‘Yellowstone’?
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Should you forgot that Costner’s John Dutton had a 3rd son (properly, fourth should you embrace Cole Hauser’s Rip Wheeler, John’s surrogate son), then you definitely’re not alone. Annable solely performed the firstborn Dutton in three episodes of Yellowstone, and in that point, his character by no means precisely made an actual impression on anybody concerned. First showing within the prolonged pilot episode “Dawn,” Lee is the primary in line for the Dutton throne. Greater than that, he is the one one in all John’s youngsters who genuinely cares in regards to the land and cattle, not simply the facility it buys. However, Lee’s tenure on the sequence wasn’t meant to final, nor apparently was his reminiscence.
Close to the tip of “Dawn,” Lee, himself a Livestock Agent, is murdered by Robert Lengthy (Jeremiah Bitsui) — who simply so occurs to be Monica Dutton’s (Kelsey Asbille) brother — throughout a cattle dispute on the border of the Dutton Ranch and the Damaged Rock Indian Reservation. Because of this, Kayce (Luke Grimes) retaliates by killing his brother-in-law in self-defense, which finally ends up inflicting extra points than Lee’s loss of life did. In some ways, Lee’s demise serves because the catalyst for the occasions of your complete sequence, because the Duttons go to conflict with all of the encroaching forces on their ancestral land. Solely they type of neglect about him within the course of.
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After his loss of life, Annable was understandably written off the sequence. In any case, Yellowstone is not precisely a present the place you may deliver characters again from the useless. For years, his solely reappearance was by way of a photograph that cameoed within the Season 2 episode satirically titled “Resurrection Day.” Nevertheless, Lee did return by way of flashbacks to his sibling’s childhood within the ’90s (again when Costner’s John Dutton seemed extra like Josh Lucas) the place he was performed by Kip Denton — who, except for the episode “Blood the Boy,” typically went uncredited.
‘Yellowstone’ Forgot All About John Dutton’s Firstborn Son
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Whereas Lee’s occasional flashback appearances stored the character alive after his Season 1 demise (his pure second with a younger Kayce on the Dutton household Christmas of 1996 was a pleasant shock), they’re scarce and by no means concentrate on the character himself. Within the current storylines, Lee’s loss of life is all however forgotten by the tip of the primary season, and slightly than battle for the Dutton Ranch in honor of his son’s reminiscence, John Dutton does so out of some mysterious promise to his father that is not revealed till later. By some miracle, Lee’s the one Dutton youngster who’s been murdered so far, regardless of earlier makes an attempt on different relations’ lives.
Little question a part of the explanation that Lee is forgotten is that the loss of life of a son and a brother is a tough factor to meditate on. No surprise John would slightly put all his effort into preserving his land slightly than grieve. However what begins as one thing comprehensible turns into one thing much less in order time continues on. As Yellowstone continues to flashback to the Duttons’ childhood, Lee is forgotten about completely. Moreover, there are complete Dutton household images that do not embrace their firstborn son in any respect, which we would assume was a degree of rivalry among the many siblings if we did not comprehend it was clearly unintentional. Greater than something, it simply looks as if Taylor Sheridan forgot about Lee’s existence utterly.
In some ways, Yellowstone developed Rip into Lee’s alternative, particularly in latest seasons. Not solely did John reward his surrogate firstborn Lee’s previous cabin on the Dutton land, however John’s love for his new son-in-law rivaled that of his love for his personal youngsters. Flashbacks to Rip’s teenage years in Season 5 reveal that John helped conceal the physique of a murdered ranch hand whom Rip had killed on accident. In some ways, it is a scene that appears like a ceremony of passage between father and son, cementing the truth that Rip, not Lee, has probably grow to be the rightful successor to John’s cattle empire.
Lee Dutton Briefly Returns on ‘Yellowstone’
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After practically two seasons with out hardly a passing point out of the misplaced Dutton, the ultimate episode of Season 4, “Grass on the Streets and Weeds on the Rooftops,” did what we by no means thought Yellowstone might do and introduced Lee again from the grave. (Effectively, type of.) As Kayce launched into his imaginative and prescient quest forward of Season 5, he noticed a imaginative and prescient of his long-dead brother, one who wasn’t significantly blissful to see him. Not solely did Lee confront Kayce about forgetting him, however his look in his brother’s imaginative and prescient served extra as a warning slightly than a reunion.
Annable’s return was a welcomed shock for positive and introduced the sequence full circle as Lee and Kayce seemed eye-to-eye for the primary time for the reason that pilot. It is an fascinating second to think about heading into the fifth and closing season, and there is at all times potential that it could possibly be elaborated on in future episodes earlier than the tip. However even when it would not, it is good to see Taylor Sheridan take heed to the followers who referred to as Yellowstone out on forgetting about Lee, and produce him again into the narrative.
Although it is unlikely we’ll see Annable return once more as Lee sooner or later, it was good to see that, after years of questioning why Sheridan and firm appear to have forgotten about him, Yellowstone was prepared to elaborate additional. After the loss of life of John Dutton’s newest grandson in Season 5, the patriarch recollects his personal grief when Lee died again within the first season, explaining that he nonetheless blames himself to this present day. Although it might be some time earlier than the final batch of episodes airs, that hasn’t swayed fan curiosity within the sequence, which is gearing as much as finish comparatively quickly. Even when Lee would not make his approach again onto the Dutton Ranch, Yellowstone’s ending has been years within the making.
Even After ‘Yellowstone,’ Dave Annable Stays a Cowboy
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Regardless of being unceremoniously killed off on Yellowstone, Dave Annable has continued to play the cowboy half, or no less than a wannabe cowboy, on different neo-Westerns following his brief tenure as Lee Dutton. In 2021, he landed the recurring function of Dan Miller on the CW’s Walker, a contemporary reimagining of the unique Chuck Norris-helmed Walker, Texas Ranger that took quite a lot of cues from Yellowstone. Showing in 12 episodes as Miller within the midst of a Hatfield & McCoy-type household squabble, Annable has carved out an actual Western legacy for himself.
Alternatively, Annable reunited with Taylor Sheridan in 2023 for his new espionage thriller sequence Particular Ops: Lioness. Slowly transferring away from the Western style, Sheridan’s newest sequence is extra akin to his work on the motion thriller With out Regret. After being killed off on Sheridan’s flagship sequence, Annable was granted major solid standing for the filmmaker’s newest tv spectacle. Taking part in Neal, the surgeon husband of Zoe Saldaña’s lead character (and authorities agent) Joe, he is lastly landed a long-term function that is introduced him full circle since Yellowstone. This is hoping we’ll see Annable play a cowboy once more someday quickly.
The Massive Image
Lee Dutton, performed by Dave Annable, is a forgotten character on Yellowstone regardless of being the firstborn son of John Dutton. Lee’s loss of life serves because the catalyst for the occasions of the sequence, however his absence and reminiscence are sometimes neglected by the opposite characters. Annable, regardless of his character’s premature demise, continues to play cowboy-type roles in different neo-Westerns, together with Walker, and has reunited with Taylor Sheridan to look in Particular Ops: Lioness.