Warning: This article contains Season 5 spoilers.
Beth Dutton is Yellowstone’s central female character, the only daughter of patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner), and a woman who refuses to live by the rules set by society. She had a reputation for being ruthless, mercurial, and as her own father offhandedly describes her – “evil.” And with such a strong personality for a woman comes the stereotype of not being suited to motherhood.
But for Beth, the choice of being a mother to her own flesh and blood was already out of the question. That power has long been taken away from her. So does Beth Dutton have kids? No, because she can’t.
Why can’t Beth bear children?
In a flashback sequence in Season 3 Episode 5, “Cowboys and Dreamers,” we saw a pregnant fifteen-year-old Beth. She and Rip had been hooking up on and off at the time, so it was safe to assume it was Rip’s baby. Fearing how her father, John Dutton, would react to the news (especially what he would do to the baby’s father), she asked his older brother Jamie for help with an abortion.
Beth had two choices: go to Planned Parenthood and risk her family’s name or the free clinic at the Broken Rock reservation, which wasn’t necessarily a friend of the Duttons considering their feud between the land. She chose the latter to ensure her secret was safe, and Jamie went with her.
At the clinic, Jamie discovered that the procedure would involve sterilization. He knew the risks but decided not to say a word to Beth. And this was the reality for many Native American women. In the 1970s, an estimated 25 to 42 percent of women of childbearing age were sterilized without their consent.
Beth pushed through the abortion process, oblivious that she had been robbed of her choice by her own brother. It was only later that she found out about it, and it caused a big rift between them that could never be bridged.
In season four, Beth met an orphan boy named Carter. She took him in with her and Rip in their own cabin on the ranch. While Rip was initially skeptical, he grew fond of the boy. Their scenes together look like they are a little family in the country. Carter has even called Beth “Momma.” Though that didn’t really end well for either of them. Beth still had so much baggage.
Rip reminded Beth that Carter was not their son, to which Beth replied that one day, Rip would resent her for not being able to give him a kid. Rip assured her that that day would never come. Until now, Rip still doesn’t know the truth about Beth’s infertility and the baby they would have shared together.
But it looks like this secret may be spilled this season 5. In episode 4, “Horses in Heaven,” Beth discovers that Jamie has a son, igniting the rage that has been seeping for many years. And this could lead to an explosive confession that will change the course of Beth’s life – especially the life she has built with Rip.
Well, we just have to stay tuned to see how everything unfolds.