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Kelsey Asbille: Buckle up for intense 'Yellowstone' Season 4

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Kelsey Asbille: Buckle up for intense 'Yellowstone' Season 4
Kelsey Asbille's "Yellowstone" returns for Season 4 Sunday night. Photo courtesy of Paramount Network

NEW YORK, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Kelsey Asbille says life doesn't get any easier for the Dutton family in Season 4 of the contemporary western, Yellowstone.

"It's so intense. We are right where we left off," Asbille told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.

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Asbille plays Monica, Kayce Dutton's college professor wife and the mother of his only child, Tate.

"Monica doesn't know what she is up against and, so, Tate's safety is her No. 1 [priority]. It definitely informs the rest of the season, for sure," the actress said.

The show, from writer-producer Taylor Sheridan, follows wealthy John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and his family as they use any means necessary to fight real-estate developers, government officials and criminals and hold on to their enormous cattle ranch.

The ranch borders Yellowstone National Park and a Native American reservation.

Season 3 ended with John and two of his adult children -- financier Beth (Kelly Reilly) and Livestock Commissioner Kayce (Luke Grimes) -- being attacked by unknown assailants.

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Season 4, which premieres on Paramount Network Sunday, finds Monica and her young son, Tate (Brecken Merrill,) fending off an armed intruder at their home on the same day.

One of Asbille's favorite scenes to play this season has her confront Kayce about his dangerous job and lifestyle.

"It's been a long time coming," the actress said. "They were both in the [emotional boxing] ring, and Luke and I were up to the challenge. It was a scene we hadn't done before. It was a conversation we hadn't had before."

While they are definitely going through a rough patch due to the circumstances they find themselves in, there is real love between Monica and Kayce.

"Everyone on the show is fighting for their family, and they have very different ways of approaching it," Asbille laughed.

"Taylor, at heart, is a romantic. He loves these characters and roots for these characters. Who knows what will happen, but I think they are in it for the long haul."

Monica, who always has had a fragile relationship with her in-laws, doesn't interact much with the other Duttons this season.

"She leaves and she turns to her community and her [indigenous] culture as a way of healing for Tate. That actually brings Kayce in, as well," Asbille said. "We get to reintroduce that world, which is nice."

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While the show is an entertaining epic watched by millions, it also spotlights and debates important issues, such as the morality of land ownership, how the Earth should be respected rather than exploited and how wealth, power and corruption can be related.

"It really breaks out of the traditional western mold," Asbille said.

"It takes Indigenous people out of the past and brings up contemporary issues. I am really proud of the way that's interwoven into the storyline in a way that can raise awareness and engage our Native audience and non-Native audience."

Wes Bentley plays Jamie Dutton, John's adopted son and Montana's state attorney general.

In Season 3, Jamie has a bitter falling-out with John and Beth over a land deal to sell part of the ranch. Estranged from the family with whom he grew up, he also gets to know his ex-con biological father, Garrett (Will Patton).

"He's at an inflection point," Bentley told UPI about Jamie in a separate video conference.

"He is hurt. He thought he was a Dutton, at least by blood, but he's not even that, so the rejection is complete," Bentley added. "He feels like the ground is gone from beneath him, and he's powerful and angry, so has got the potential for damage and revenge."

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Jamie also turns to his real dad for guidance, which isn't a great idea, but feels like an authentic move given what Jamie's motivations always have been.

"He wants acceptance and connection to a family. He's a family man at heart," Bentley said. "It's weird with Jamie. He's a law-and-order guy, and he is a family guy, and he is in a place where none of that is real."

The actor thinks viewers relate to Jamie because he is a flawed man who occasionally makes terrible decisions while working hard to sort out his life.

"There is something real about him that they connect to," he said.

Although Jamie might have combative relationships with Beth and John, Bentley said he, Reilly and Costner get along well when the cameras aren't rolling.

"Everyone is so professional," Bentley said. "We can go home and smile at each other and make jokes."

In addition to the well-drawn characters and compelling story, viewers who were cooped up during the coronavirus pandemic also may be drawn to a show with beautiful scenery and sense of freedom the great outdoors represents.

"The show is an outlet for that," Bentley said.

"The West has a fascinating history," he added. "It's complicated, and it's got all kinds of stories in it, and we explore all of that."

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