Yellowstone season 2 premiere recap: A Thundering

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Rip Wheeler (R-Cole Hauser) questions Walker’s (L-Ryan Bingham) loyalty to the Dutton Ranch and his fellow cowboys. Season 2 of Yellowstone premieres on Paramount Network starting Wednesday, June 19 at 10 p.m., ET/PT.

Meanwhile, Monica, who still needs a cane to walk, is at the university. Last season she was approached about teaching in the Native American studies program  but she didn’t want to leave her teaching position on the reservation.

Now she’s reconsidered. However, she wants to do both — her plan is to teach mornings at the high school and afternoons and evenings at the university. The man she’s talking to offers her a position teaching American history until the following term when money will free up for the Native American studies teaching position. He tells her she can teach her version of American history. She also makes it clear that she is now using her maiden name — Long.

Cassidy, the woman who Beth hand-picked to run for Attorney General opposite Jamie, arrives at the ranch. Cassidy is surprised and flattered by the offer. She wants to know why they aren’t supporting Jamie. They explain they don’t think he’s what’s best for Montana.

She tells them about the charity she started that uses equine therapy to help war veterans with PTSD. John’s impressed. Cassidy expresses concern about getting votes, but John assures her he’ll worry about that.

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The ranch hands eat dinner together. Cowboy is  there. The others challenge him, but he holds his own. Newly-branded cowboy Walker isn’t eating with the others. He’s off in the distance singing and playing his guitar. Rip tells one of the cowboys to go get him but Cowboy says he’ll do it.

He approaches Walker. It’s clear they know each other. They worked together in Nebraska. Walker tells him he should leave Yellowstone. Cowboy counters that the work’s the same as anywhere else. Walker assures him that Yellowstone is different. Cowboy says he’s only planning to stay for a bit. Walker says when Cowboy leaves he’s going with him. Cowboy tells him that Walker doesn’t need permission to leave, but Walker tells Cowboy that at Yellowstone you do. Cowboy looks confused.

Kayce goes to visit Monica and his son, Tate, but Tate is already asleep. Kayce thinks Monica is trying to keep Tate from him. Monica claims she’s not but she is trying to shield him from seeing the things Kayce’s done catch up with him. Monica agrees to let Kayce wake Tate up, but Kayce decides to just watch him sleep. Monica cries in another room.

In town, Beth meets someone at a bar. Beth outlines a plan to invest in land that will make the man a ton of money. It will also enable her to build a moat of land around her father’s ranch. That makes it a win for everyone.

That night at the ranch, the cowboys are playing cards. Avery wants to know if that’s all they want to do on a Saturday night. Cowboy makes fun of them for being tame too. He says in his day they would be out playing cowboy poker. The others protest they won’t do it, but Cowboy mocks them with chicken noises.

Next thing you know, they’re out in an enclosure sitting at a table. A ranch hand releases a bull and he goes right for the table. They all run. Avery is the last one at the table and wins.

Rip catches them afterwards. He’s angry and makes them leave. Rip then asks the older ranch hand who won. He’s impressed when he learns it was Avery.