A scene in the Season 3 finale of Yellowstone might have you wondering about what happened to Rip Wheeler’s mother. Although his mom’s death has been explained on the show before, it’s been a while. Here’s a refresher on how Rip’s mother died.
His Stepdad Killed His Mom
Rip Wheeler’s mother was killed by his dad, in a scene that is strangely reminiscent of Jamie’s own experience in many ways.
In Season 1 Episode 8, we learn that Rip’s stepdad killed his mom. This is explained in a Yellowstone behind-the-scenes video about Rip that Paramount released on February 1, 2019.
As a young boy, Rip walked in on his stepdad murdering his mother. In order to survive, he had to kill his stepdad by hitting him in the head with a frying pan. He ran off, trying to survive, and John Dutton was called in. He talks Rip off the ledge and that’s how their relationship began.
According to the Yellowstone wiki, Rip’s stepdad also killed Rip’s brother in the same rampage, along with his mom (whom by then he was divorced from.) (Note that the wiki says this was Rip’s dad, but the behind-the-scenes video by Paramount says it was his stepdad.)
So that’s how Rip’s mother died. She was killed in a violent rampage by her ex-husband.
It wasn’t that long ago that Rip told Beth about the story of his father’s bones, and how he spent his money on getting a proper headstone for his mother. This was explained in Season 2 Episode 7.
In that episode, Beth wanted to know what Rip does with his money, since he clearly gets paid. Rip said he spent $22,000 on a headstone for his mom and then spent $30k on his little brother’s. (He literally said “thirty” but he meant $30k.)
“But the best money I ever spent was $5,000 to a gravedigger in Forsyth… He dug up my father and gave me his bones. And I drove from there … to North Dakota… and threw them out the window,” Rip shared.
Fans Have Pointed Out the Similarities Between Rip’s Story & Jamie’s
Fans have been quick to point out the similarities between Rip’s story and Jamie’s. Rip’s stepdad killed his mother, and Rip killed his stepdad in retribution.
In contrast, Jamie’s biological father killed his mother when Jamie was just a baby, and his father went to jail for a long time.
Interestingly, John Dutton took in both boys. It seems that he has a soft spot for people who are in impossibly hard situations. John knew Jamie’s mother and father before Jamie’s mom was killed, and this is probably why John chose to adopt Jamie. Plus, Jamie was just a baby and John could keep the truth about his parents from him.
John did not adopt Rip, however. This might be because Rip was just so much older when it happened, so John couldn’t fully integrate him into the family. Of course, that’s all changed now. While Rip might not be “officially” John’s son, he’s part of the inheritance now and is the closest of all the men in the Dutton family to carrying on John’s personality and legacy.
Some fans had wondered for a while if Jamie and Rip might end up being half-brothers given how similar their family histories were. Here’s just one of many discussions online about that theory.
But the introduction of Jamie’s father has pretty much ended that theory. Rip’s stepdad died and Jamie’s father lived. So unless Rip’s biological father was also a man who killed his wife (and what a crazy coincidence that would be), then Rip and Jamie are not related.