Throughout four seasons of Yellowstone, Rip and Lloyd‘s friendship has definitely had its up and downs. Time to break down how they came to be such good friends, and highlight key moments that reveal Rip and Lloyd’s backstory.
14-year-old Rip first comes to the Dutton Ranch after killing his father. He ran away to sleep in a hayloft for the night. John Dutton finds him there and offers him a job instead of turning Rip over to the police.
Rip is then branded and working as the low man on the totem pole. We first see young Rip put to work in Season 2 Episode 5, where we also meet a young Lloyd for the first and last time.
One of the older ranch hands starts teasing Rip about having a crush on young Beth Dutton. He keeps calling Rip “little orphan boy,” which upsets both Lloyd and Rip. Rip eventually tackles the old ranch hand to the ground and starts beating him with a broken-off chair leg. The other ranch hands pull Rip off and hold him. But before Rip can get beat up, Lloyd steps in and puts a gun to the ranch hand’s head.
Rip and Lloyd’s friendship only grows from there. We learn what the brand means to them, especially as the duo tries to teach Jimmy and Walker what it means to be branded. Rip describes it to Jimmy early on in the first season.
“These guys, they just work here Jimmy,” Rip says. “But not us. This is your family. We’re your family.”
We see Rip and Lloyd treat each other like family over the first three seasons. Then, in Season 3 Episode 8, Rip asks Lloyd to be his best man, even after the old ranch hand says Rip should ask Kayce. Lloyd soon accepts, and the two share a heartfelt, quiet moment together.
But things go downhill for the duo at the end of Season 3 when they pick up Walker at a bar, which creates all kinds of division between him and Rip going into Season 4.
Things already don’t bode well for Rip and Lloyd in the beginning of the season when Lloyd struggles to tell Rip that his house burned down in the attacks on the ranch. From there, things just escalate further.
Walker baits Lloyd throughout the first half of the season, causing Lloyd to get more and more heated. Lloyd even takes his frustrations to Rip, telling him in Season 4 Episode 3, but Rip quickly sets him straight.
Although Lloyd mentored Rip, John Dutton put Rip in charge of the ranch hands. So what Rip says goes, even when it bothers Lloyd. In Episode 4, Lloyd starts a fight with Walker in the bunkhouse. This puts Rip in a difficult spot because he has to punish the instigator.
Rip beats up of Lloyd, even though it pains him to do it. Even John has trouble believing how bad the spat is between the two of them, reminding Rip, “Don’t forget what he is to you.”
But John quickly takes back his words when Lloyd stabs Walker with a knife in Episode 6. John reprimands Lloyd for spending 30 years enforcing rules on the ranch and then breaking them. But he decides to let Lloyd live, given their history.
Lloyd pays for it, though, having to fight Walker until all the animosity bleeds out of them. John tells Rip he has to finish the fight off, but he won’t ask Rip to do it because Rip and Lloyd are friends. But Rip steps in anyway, because there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for John.
Rip even tells Lloyd he loves him before going to town. You can tell it hurts both of them, but once it’s done and over with, the two finally start to build their friendship back up again.
Lloyd finally gets to be Rip’s best man at the season finale wedding. Here’s to watching them, hopefully, grow closer in Season 5!
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