Yellowstone fans began Season 4 by worrying that they'd be saying farewell to some of their favorite characters, and as it turns out, they were right ... albeit a few episodes down the road, and in a different way than they thought.

Season 3 of the smash Paramount Network show left John Dutton (Kevin Costner), Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes) and Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) hanging in the balance as the Dutton family came under concerted attack from unknown forces. And while the early episodes of Season 4 revealed that all of them survived, fans are still bidding goodbye to multiple characters in Episode 6 of Season 4, after some really unexpected and brutal developments change things at the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch irrevocably.

Before we get to that, first things first: Did Jamie's (Wes Bentley) biological father, Garrett Randall (Will Patton) really engineer the attacks on the Duttons?

"You're g--damn right I did," he tells Jamie defiantly in Episode 6, as Jamie confronts him by pointing a gun at him after realizing that he probably staged the attacks. And while much of the emotional buildup of Season 4 has centered around the possibility of that confrontation — which was teased in trailers in advance of the season — Jamie is still Jamie, with all of the uncertainty and insecurity that he's always carried around, and he just doesn't have what it takes in that moment to give fans the satisfying closure they wanted. In fact, Jamie embraces his biological father, weeping as Randall vows that he'll "keep trying 'til I get it right."

Elsewhere in the episode, Summer Higgins (Piper Perabo) runs afoul of Beth almost immediately, setting off sparks that seem likely to have implications for the future even as she comes to a greater understanding of the Dutton family and their role as caretakers for the very land and animals that she wants to fight for.

Beth and Jamie have been on a collision course for many years, but never quite so obviously as in Season 4, which began with her threat to kill him. In the meantime, she's plotting to make his life as miserable as humanly possible by using her new role at Market Equities to destroy all of the projects he has lined up to create jobs and revenue in the state, as she tells him in yet another tense confrontation.

Episode 6 offers up an interesting juxtaposition of Beth's harsher and softer sides; in addition to the confrontations with Summer and Jamie, she also shows her most vulnerable side to Rip (Cole Hauser) when she asks him to take her in a horseback ride so they can find the special, unspoiled spot for them to get married in.

Episode 6 also finds one character returning unexpectedly into the mix, throwing a potential complication into the happy life that Kayce, Monica (Kelsey Asbille) and Tate (Brecken Merrill) are beginning to build away from the Dutton ranch. Meanwhile, Jimmy (Jefferson White) seems more ready than ever to step up and take more responsibility in his new role at the 6666 ranch in Texas.

But the real crux of the episode is the final playing out of the bad vibes between Lloyd (Forrie Smith) and Walker (Ryan Bingham). Lloyd is developing a fun new friendship and mentor role with Carter (Finn Little), who he sees as a fellow "outcast," as he tells him. But he's still stewing over all the slights that he blames on Walker, and when that boils over into yet another bunkhouse brawl, it turns far more serious than before, with Lloyd coming awfully close to killing the ranch hand.

That forces Rip and John to make a series of difficult decisions that have terrible consequences for not just Walker and Lloyd — who are made to square off in a last-man-standing scenario to work out their aggression — but also for Rip, who makes "an example" out of Lloyd afterward at John's direction, leading to a scene in which we get a rare look at him showing regret and remorse.

With all of the tension that the presence of the barrel racers has brought to the bunkhouse, John decides it's time for the women to leave. Mia (Eden Brolin) has already departed in disgust, and as Episode 6 ends, Laramie (Hassie Harrison) is also out, but the character who really catches the short end of the stick is Teeter (Jennifer Landon), who is unceremoniously sacked from her job at the ranch despite the fact that she wasn't directly involved in anything that went down. Teeter's become a fan favorite since she debuted during Season 3, and we suspect that her abrupt departure will be the subject of quite a bit of debate in the coming weeks.

Episode 6 ends on an interesting note for Carter, whose friendship with Lloyd seems to have given him some food for thought as to his future at the ranch. As the episode ends with John walking away, Carter — who appears in awe of the way everyone defers to John — realizes he's finally decided what he wants to do with his life.

"I want to be him," he states before the credits roll.

So, will we ever see Teeter again? She can't really be gone just like that, can she? And what about Jamie, has he turned on the Duttons now? Are Beth and Summer on yet another collision course? Can Lloyd and Walker ever find a way to coexist in any kind of peace? Will Mia and Jimmy somehow find their way back together?

Those are just a few of the questions fans will have going into next Sunday (Dec. 12). Tune in to Yellowstone every Sunday night at 8PM ET on the Paramount Network 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 new 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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