Emmett left Yellowstone because the creators of the show wanted the story to move forward and to show how the cowboy life is dying out in Montana.
Season five of Yellowstone certainly attracted as many viewers as the previous seasons did, but it has received somewhat mixed reviews so far.
However, one instance that has united fans of the series is the death of Emmett Walsh in season five. This character passed away in episode six in order to drive the overarching plot of the show forward.
Is season five of Yellowstone any good?
When Yellowstone first aired on Paramount Network in 2016, no one knew how popular the show would become.
By the time that the show’s most recent fifth season premiered on 13 November 2022, about 12.1 million people tuned in to watch, which made it the biggest premiere for any scripted show this year.
However, even though so many people have watched the new season, its episodes have received mixed reviews so far, but Kelly Reilly has assured fans that they will enjoy the remaining episodes in the season and warned that things will get bloody to increase the excitement.
Why did Emmett leave Yellowstone?
In the sixth episode of the first part of Yellowstone’s fifth season, titled “Cigarettes, Whiskey, a Meadow and You”, fans got to see the Dutton family return to their roots for a little while, when John Dutton and the rest of their team set out to round up their cattle and bring the herd home.
Given that John and his family have done just about everything that they could in the past four seasons of the show in order to keep their family ranch, including branching out into politics and more, fans appreciated this episode’s change of pace and return to the true country life.
However, not every scene in this episode was as joyous. Sadly, one of John’s closest friends and a fan-favourite character, Emmett Walsh, who went out with John Dutton to round up the cattle in this episode, passed away in his sleep.
Consequently, he did not return to the ranch the next morning for the branding ceremony.
Although Yellowstone is filled with underhanded schemes on-screen, it seems as though Emmett’s death was not nearly as sinister, and that the decision for him to leave the show was made off-screen, just so that the plot of the show could keep moving forward.
This is why he simply passed away of old age on the trail, in John’s words: “like every cowboy dreams it”.
Who plays Emmett on the show?
Emmett, portrayed by Buck Taylor, has been featured on Yellowstone since the first season of the show and the creators of the series kept bringing him back for a few episodes in every season, so that fans could see more of the character and his friendship with John.
The fact that such a minor character has made such an impact on the fans of this show can be primarily attributed to Taylor’s magnificent portrayal of the character.
Emmett is not Taylor’s first role as a cowboy, and he was even in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1981 for his role in the classic western series, Gunsmoke.
What happens after Emmett dies?
When John realises that his dear friend is not waking up after their night on the trail, he is naturally very moved by the moment.
However, he realises after a while that his friend would not have wanted his old age to get in the way of his life as a cowboy and he likely died exactly the way he would have wanted to. After this, John returns to the ranch.
When he arrives at the ranch, he tries to tell Emmett’s wife about his death and the cameras from the cattle-branding ceremony end up filming her reaction to the news.
The significance of Emmett dying in Yellowstone
On the night before Emmett passes away, he and John have a final meaningful conversation about how important it was to have a cowboy. Like John, as the governor of Montana.
Although this conversation builds on many of the same themes as the plot of Yellowstone in the last few seasons, in which John literally does everything he can to keep his family’s ranch, and by extension, their way of life intact, this signifies that the plot of the show may be shifting.
There is no denying that Emmett, who is an old cowboy, passing away so soon after this conversation indicates that this old way of life is slowly dying out in Montana and all around the Yellowstone ranch, despite everything that John is trying to do to preserve it.