Skip to Content

What Happened to Lee Dutton? Everything We Know

What Happened to Lee Dutton? Everything We Know

This post may contain affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More

In the heart-wrenching world of the gritty western series, Yellowstone, no character’s fate is ever truly secure. One of the most poignant examples of this is the story of Lee Dutton, the firstborn of the powerful Dutton family.

Lee’s early death left many viewers with lingering questions and a thirst to know more about the original heir to the Dutton Ranch.

This comprehensive article delves into the intricate history of Lee Dutton, the events surrounding his death, and answers the most frequently asked questions about his role in the epic Yellowstone narrative.

What Happened to Lee Dutton?

In the Yellowstone premiere episode, Lee is caught in the middle of a feud between his family and the neighboring Broken Rock Indian Reservation. The tension escalates when cattle from the Dutton ranch are found on reservation land.

Lee, along with his brother Kayce, who is married to Monica from the reservation, attempts to retrieve the cattle, leading to a volatile confrontation. This dispute ends tragically when Lee is shot and killed by Robert Long, the brother-in-law of Monica.

While Kayce tried to stop Long from shooting Lee again, he was too late to save his brother. In return, Kayce shot Long and killed him.

Upon his death, Lee was buried at the family gravesite on the ranch. He was buried alongside other members of the Dutton family, including his mother, Evelyn.

This shocking turn of events happens in the very first episode, setting a precedent for the violent conflicts and dramatic twists that Yellowstone would continue to deliver.

Lee Dutton on Yellowstone

Lee’s death marks a pivotal moment in the series, serving as a catalyst for much of the storyline that follows, including Kayce’s complex relationship with his family and the reservation.

After Lee’s death, the Dutton family is faced with grief and a deepening of the tension with the Broken Rock Indian Reservation. His passing is a haunting presence throughout the series and leaves a lasting impact on the characters, particularly his father, John Dutton, and his brother, Kayce.

Why Did They Cremate Lee in Yellowstone?

Just a few days after burying Lee, his family dug him up and had him cremated. This was out of fear medical examiners would perform an autopsy on the body.

Upon doing an autopsy, a connection could have been made that would link Kayce as the killer of Robert Long.

Lee’s body was cremated to protect Kayce from the consequences of his involvement in the crime.

Who is Lee Dutton’s Mother?

Lee Dutton is the son of Evelyn and John Dutton. He is the oldest of the Dutton children and was heavily involved with Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.

Evelyn Dutton died when her children were still young. She was out riding with Kayce and Beth when her horse spooked and fell on her. Kayce stayed to help his mother while Beth went off to get help.

By the time Beth arrived back with her father, Evelyn took her last breath and passed away. Her death took quite a toll on the family as they struggled to move on.

Why is Lee Dutton Missing from Family Photos?

Many fans of Yellowstone have noticed that Lee does not appear in family photos. While the reason for this has not been addressed by the show’s creators, some fans have speculations as to why this is.

In many of the photos in the Dutton’s home, only Jamie, Kayce, and Beth appear, not Lee. In addition, in many flashback scenes from when Lee was still alive, he is not present.

Lee Dutton on the Yellowstone TV Series

Some people believe that the lack of Lee is due to sloppy writing about his character.

Others believe that Lee may have been the one behind the camera when the pictures were taken. However, others theorize that Lee was away at school, while some think his absence from flashback scenes and photos has a deeper meaning.

When Dave Annable posted a video on October 29, 2020, on Instagram with the caption “Back to work baby!!! Hint: It’s cold here. Another hint: The beard is staying 🤠😉” fans got excited thinking he’d be returning to Yellowstone for season four.

Annable made a return to Yellowstone during a nightmarish vision Kacye experienced in season four episode “Grass on the Streets and Weeds on the Rooftops.”

While we did see Lee briefly in season four, there is still much unknown about the oldest Dutton child. Many fans have hopes we will see more of Lee in Yellowstone season five.

What Did Kayce’s Vision of Lee Mean?

While engaging in a Lakota ceremony known as a Hanbleceya, or “crying for a vision,” Kayce has three visions. The first vision included Lee.

Kayce Dutton on the Yellowstone TV Series

In the vision, Lee tells Kayce “You’re not doing what he asked. He (Mo) said pray for a vision, but I don’t see you praying.” Lee tells Kayce that he can help him if he lets him in, but Kayce tells him that he can’t.

Lee becomes aggressive, shouting, “Let me in, you f****g child, look at me! This is your vision, this is your destiny!” while blood pours out of his mouth. Kayce began screaming until the vision was over, and he started a new one.

While the true meaning of the visions and why Kayce saw Lee is unclear, there are several speculations.

While his visions appear to deal with the guilt and hardships of his past, it is unknown what they mean for his future. Many believe that he will have to choose between his life with Monica and Tate or the Duttons.


Sunday 11th of December 2022

Why do they have to swear so much? It is a good story but I am a Christian and I really should not be watching because of all the bad language. Not too bad with the sexy parts but the language is way too much.


Wednesday 25th of January 2023

@Brenda, there’s an awesome service called, VidAngel. It allows me to enjoy an amazing show like Yellowstone while blocking parts I’m less comfortable with seeing.

Oddly, Disney is one of the few networks that don’t allow you to use VidAngel.


Tuesday 29th of November 2022

Just first to correct the above slip...Kayce did not stay to help 'her' mother. Kayce, is the son, of course. Maybe I missed the episode clarifying. But does Kayce, Beth...even Rip not know Jamie's an adopted Dutton? I saw the episode where he rudely found out he's not. But who else knows?


Sunday 1st of January 2023

@Horsey Hooves, Jamie’s adoption records are on file at the courthouse, which finds out when he has to present a copy of his birth certificate upon his appointment as AG.

Horsey Hooves

Tuesday 6th of December 2022

Thank you for spotting the error :)