Wow. That's about all we can say after watching Episode 8 of Season 4 of Yellowstone, which saw viewers saying goodbye to a longtime character in the most unexpected way possible.

Actually, fans might have said goodbye to two characters. Episode 8 begins with another flashback to the upcoming Yellowstone prequel, 1883, that shows Tim McGraw's character of James Dutton getting shot and leaves his fate dangling. But while it's not clear whether he lives or dies, viewers see one character who's been part of Yellowstone from the start die onscreen at the very end of Episode 8 ... Sheriff Donnie Haskell, played by Hugh Dillon, who dies after a shootout at a local diner when John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and Rip (Cole Hauser) interrupt a robbery.

Elsewhere in the episode, we see Jamie (Wes Bentley) very angry that John is lining up to run against him for governor, as his biological father, Garrett Randall — who has admitted to orchestrating the attacks on the Dutton family that closed Season 3 — encourages him to use everything that he knows about the family as weapons in his campaign.

After a really rocky start, Summer Higgins (Piper Perabo) and Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) are more on the same page in Episode 8, with Summer leading a protest against the planned airport project that Beth has to support in her role at Market Equities, even as she secretly works against it. We see Summer literally take a baton to the head as state and federal agents arrest the protestors in a scenario that finds Beth playing both ends against the middle in a way that's bound to get tricky for her as the season unfolds.

Beth is also central to a scene at the dinner table as she, Rip and Carter have all moved into the main house at the ranch now. Their first dinner with John seems to go seriously sideways, but Rip ends up saving the day in a scene that expands on the fundamental sweetness of Rip and Beth's relationship, while seeming to point the way to some much-needed lightness ahead for everyone involved. The Duttons are never going to be the Brady Bunch, but seeing such a sweet scene at the dinner table is an unexpected treat that viewers don't expect from the show.

Jimmy (Jefferson White) is continuing to settle in at the 6666 ranch, where he is now pursuing a new romantic relationship, but one of the biggest storylines in Episode 8 is Kayce (Luke Grimes) and Monica (Kelsey Asbille), who are dealing with Tate (Brecken Merrill) going through some growing pains that result in an uncomfortable scene with his mom. As it turns out, he's going to be a brother — Monica tells Kayce that she is pregnant again in a scene that adds to their newfound domestic happiness away from the ranch, but there's also a sense of foreboding as Kayce sees a wolf near their house that could be an analogy for something bad about to happen.

There are not that many episodes left in Season 4 of Yellowstone, but there are still a number of questions fans will want the answers to. What will end up happening between Jamie, John and Randall? Is Carter going to be a permanent part of the picture? What's the significance of the wolf? Are Summer and Beth going to end up as the unlikeliest of friends? Those are just a few of the things avid viewers will be watching for when Yellowstone returns every Sunday on the Paramount Network.

Tune in to Yellowstone at 8PM ET to keep track of the latest, and stay tuned to Taste of Country as we provide week-to-week coverage of Yellowstone and the first season of the upcoming prequel 1883, including episode analysis, news on the shows, cast interviews and more.

As part of our comprehensive coverage, check out the Dutton Rules podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

1883 is set to premiere on Dec. 19 and will air exclusively on Paramount+. Subscribe to the streaming service to make sure you don't miss out.

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