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Yellowstone John Dutton Kevin Costner Paramount Network

Spoilers: Yellowstone’s Season 3 finale cliffhanger is discussed below.

Yellowstone went all-in for its Season 3 finale with a cliffhanger, which should keep fans buzzing until Season 4 premieres. One storyline, in particular, got an interesting reaction from the writer behind Dallas’ infamous “Who Shot J.R.?” finale. That plot twist capped the original Dallas’ Season 3 finale and sent the series into the stratosphere with its iconic, pop culture-defining mystery.

Yellowstone ended its third season with John Dutton’s nightmare turning into a reality as he was ambushed, and got shot multiple times on the side of the road. It all happened while John was helping a mother and her son change their flat tire. “No good deed,” as the saying goes. What does Dallas writer, Loraine Despres, make of Dutton’s fate? Despres told EW:

I don't know why they made that decision to have Kevin Costner seem to be alive, unless they wanted to make it different than Dallas.

John Dutton does seem to be alive, and it is not because he can call for help. His cell phone appeared to have taken the deadliest bullet for him as he removed it from the chest pocket of his coat. Hence Yellowstone set John up to go the way of Dallas’ J.R. Ewing, where Larry Hagman’s fan-favorite antagonist also managed to survive.

Still, the mystery that should haunt Yellowstone’s upcoming fourth season is similar to the one at the fore of Dallas’. Who is behind the hit on John Dutton? There is no shortage of suspects. On that note, I have to admit that I had no idea that Yellowstone and Dallas both concluded their respective third seasons with a potentially killer cliffhanger.

As Dallas’ writer points out, Yellowstone did a little more to imply that John Dutton was alive than Dallas did with J.R. Ewing, which is not the only difference. The hit Paramount Network series added two more assassination-tinged cliffhangers to the mix, as John’s children, Beth and Kayce, were also subject to attempts on their lives. Dallas only had J.R. in the line of fire.

Yellowstone had to provide some distinction, and it did. But, the parallels between the two series -- both built around complicated family dynamics and a big family business -- is impossible to ignore. As someone who misses the Dallas reboot, I can attest to the fact that Yellowstone is the series my heart needed.

In Dallas, the culprit in J.R.’s infamous shooting turned out to be relatively close to home (and his bed). Will the person or person(s) behind Yellowstone’s triple cliffhanger (not counting Jimmy) turn out to be closer than expected to the Duttons? Time will tell, as fan theories continue to abound, ranging from the California biker gang and beyond.

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It is interesting to hear the writer behind one of Dallas’ most shocking moments weigh in on Yellowstone’s cliffhanger. Yellowstone is in some incredible company as far as how comparisons go. Now, we will all have to tune into Season 4 to see who survived. I am guessing Kevin Costner’s John Dutton is safe, thanks to Costner’s comments about Season 4 filming.

Will John’s children, Beth and Kayce, catch a similar break? Tune in to find out who blew up, shot, and attempted to shoot the Duttons when Yellowstone returns for Season 4 after this fall’s premieres. Hopefully, in 2021! For now, you can check out the show’s past cliffhangers by watching the first two seasons of Yellowstone on NBCUniversal’s new streamer, Peacock.

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