‘Yellowstone’ Season 5 Premiere: Why Those Dead Wolves Matter Moving Forward
The consequences of Yellowstone Season 5, Episode 2's dead wolves could have a negative impact on the Duttons. Let's take a closer look.
What a premiere! Yellowstone released two new episodes tonight and their fallout is important. However, the first episode gave us a tragic family loss with the death of John Dutton IV, while the second episode set the table for what could be the true downfall of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.
While riding in Episode 2, "The Sting of Wisdom," Rip, Lloyd, Walker, Colby, and Ryan find a mother cow slaughtered by a wolves. But Ryan doesn't think the wolves did it… something different is at work here. The corpse has been mutilated and there are wolf tracks everywhere. But something isn't quite right with Ryan's Livestock Officer training.
Regardless, Walker and Ethan retrieve the stray calf from the scene, and Rip sends the rest of the cowboys to get the wolves off the ranch. But the wolves come again later. And the result has dire consequences for Yellowstone's moving forward.
Later that night, Ryan and Colby were hunting wolves while they came in to prey on Yellowstone cattle. They took them down with thermal goggles, but they were surprised to find that the pack had GPS collars on them.
This is very unfortunate. These GPS collars indicate that these Yellowstone National Park wolves are located on the Dutton Ranch. And they're already dead.
Once the public finds out that Dutton's cowboys "killed" the wolves in the National Park, Governor John Dutton is finished. “These wolves have Facebook pages!” Ryan shouts to Colby, emphasizing the public outcry that followed.
This is the current situation with wolf conservation in Yellowstone National Park. Federal and state law protect the wolves, and the public has a great appreciation for their conservation success story. If someone were to kill these wolves, there would be a public outcry and severe punishment for whoever did so.
The gray wolf has been the subject of intense legal battles in the United States over the past few years. President Trump ended the species' endangered status in 2018, but under the administration of former Vice President Biden since then, conservation organizations, government bodies, politicians, and national parks have all fought to have it restored. The animals are as well-known as any wildlife could be, and Taylor Sheridan has included a plot line about them in the fifth season of Yellowstone.
GPS collars like the ones seen on the Episode 2 wolves track the movements of protected animals. If they go dormant, an SOS signal is sent out. From there, everyone from game wardens to Yellowstone National Park officials and conservationists (and further law enforcement) end up on the scene.
In short, things are very, very bad for Yellowstone.
In Episode 2 of Season 5, Ryan, Colby, and Rip try to avert a wolf crisis.
Facing an impossible situation, Ryan and Colby reach out to Rip for guidance. As Rip rides out to the scene, he is amazed to find that the two shot wolves with GPS collars. Ryan explains that they were using thermal imaging and could never have seen the collars. The two even had wolf tags to legally hunt canines pursuing their cattle, but here they are regardless.
As Yellowstone Foreman instructs his two ranchers, they are to follow his instructions with the wolf collars. Finally, Rip guides the cowboys into Yellowstone National Park, with the goal of ensuring that the wolves’ demise cannot be traced back to the Duttons.
We see the iconic falls of Yellowstone National Park for the first time. While it's unfortunate that the park is in such a bad condition, the plot line will bring a lot of attention to wolf conservation. This is in line with Sheridan's work on previous seasons of the show that showcase real-world issues.
In the episode, Rip, Ryan, and Colby decided to fix this problem by fixing the wolf collars to logs and then tossing them down the Yellowstone River to be taken away by the current. If they keep moving, there’s no pressing issue, right?
“Don’t tell a f*cking soul,” Rip tells the two responsible. “Why would I tell anyone? This could land me in jail for a decade,” Ryan retorts. But this will surely come back to haunt them. And before the end of the episode, we see that it will.
‘Yellowstone’s Downfall May Be the National Park
In the final moments of Season 5, Episode 2, the wolves' GPS collars become stuck in a gathering of other logs. This has unforeseen consequences once discovered.
This is a significant development for Yellowstone, as it gains an enemy that could potentially be very harmful to it. John Dutton has dealt with this in previous seasons, but it will be nothing compared to what may come.
John Dutton is now Governor of Montana. And when the world finds out his cowboys killed a pack of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, there's nothing that can save him.