Thanks to relatability, empathy, and frequent procurement of much-needed comic relief, it didn’t take fans of “Yellowstone” long (via Reddit) to grow attached to the series’ reluctant ranch hand and would-be rodeo star Jimmy (Jefferson White). After the Season 3 finale left fans wondering whether or not Jimmy would survive his attempt to get back in the proverbial and literal the saddle, many were relieved by both his reemergence in Season 4 and the popular (though yet to be confirmed) rumor that he’d appear in the upcoming spin-off, “6666.”
The notion that Jimmy will play a major role in the spin-off is fueled, in part, by his Season 4 storyline. After Jimmy defies John Dutton (Kevin Costner) in an effort to prove himself to his future ex-girlfriend Mia (Eden Brolin), the Dutton patriarch sends the well-meaning but green employee to a ranch in Texas called The Four Sixes (aka 6666). John is convinced that the notorious ranch will succeed in turning Jimmy into a real cowboy, and based on the latter’s brief return to the Dutton ranch following his time exile, it appears as though his theory was correct. When Jimmy reappears in the Yellowstone’s bunkhouse, he has shed his remaining insecurities and immaturities and developed into a self-determined, self-assured adult capable of making difficult decisions — including the decision to leave the ranch and return to Texas.
It’s a story of immense growth — a rarity for the series — but for a few fans on the series’ subreddit, it all happened a bit too fast.
Fans were divided over Jimmy’s time in Texas
In a recent post, user grislydisco asked others to weigh in on just how, exactly, the ranch turned Jimmy into a cowboy. “I was expecting to see more gritty details of how Jimmy would finally get toughened up, build stronger character, and become a true cowboy,” they wrote.
Many were quick to respond to the poster’s inquiry by pointing out that it isn’t what happened at the Sixes that changed Jimmy, but what didn’t happen, compared to the conditions he had previously been enduring up until that point. “He spent all of his time riding and roping instead of getting in blood [feuds],” wrote user Exotic_Volume696, a point ds_Gardening built on, noting that “[In Texas] he had good mentors who actually taught him instead of only hazing him.” User Reggie_Barclay agreed that the benefits of the ranch were less about the location itself and more about its distinction from the Yellowstone. “Considering the work was essentially the same at both ranches, I think it shows how we live up to expectations,” they theorized, adding that “the 6666 guys are grownups who just expect people to work, so Jimmy is free to be what he wants to be. Also it shows how toxic life is at Yellowstone.”
The explanation that the ranch’s impact on Jimmy can be inferred by how different it is from the Yellowstone was enough for many to get behind, but a few fans weren’t quite as satisfied …
Some fans needed more from the Sixes’ storyline
In a satirical response to the original poster’s inquiry, user scatteringlargesse lacerated the series’ largely simplistic approach to portraying a dynamic character. They wrote that “[Jimmy] got taken down there by a very hard out true cowboy who rode flippy spinny horses […] then when he came back to Yellowstone, something minor happened and Jimmy just gazed off into the distance for a full minute, showing how he was a true cowboy now. Obviously this all went way over your head OP, but don’t feel too bad, because being a true cowboy is very hard […] if you have to ask you don’t get it.”
Fans of the series will note that the “very hard out true cowboy” referenced by the user is none other than “Yellowstone” creator, writer, and director Taylor Sheridan, who — in his role as Travis — does indeed ride “flippy spinny horses.” Though it’s not uncommon for a series that juggles multiple storylines at once to have to gloss over the nuts and bolts of a given character’s development, as one fan pointed out, the real problem was the series’ presentation (or lack-thereof) of the timeline, where he underwent some massive character growth in a timespan so rapid it shattered all suspension of disbelief. To user AnnaNonna, for instance, Jimmy’s time at the Sixes appeared to comprise only a few weeks at most.
This rapid timeline is, undoubtedly, a major part of the problem, but user JerryLouHoo had other, more cynical ideas about the root of the issue: “I really think it’s just Taylor Sheridan getting paid a bunch of money to make 5 bad shows instead of 1 decent one,” they wrote.