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Nice Animals is the fourteenth episode of the first season of Big Sky and the 14th episode of the series overall. It was written by Elwood Reid and Jonathan Shapiro and directed by Michael Goi. It premiered on May 4, 2021 on ABC.


Cassie, Jenny, Jerrie and Lindor work to get things back on track when the motel is reduced to rubble and both the Kleinsasser and Ronald cases not doing much better. At the ranch, Cheyenne seizes an opportunity to shift the family power dynamic in her favor and all it will take is the truth.


Jenny wakes up among the rubble with Earl standing next to her. She goes to check on Angela, who is unconscious. She finds that Angela is dead.

Cassie and Mark go back upstairs and see that the front door has been left open. They realize Ronald was there watching them and took Mary's body even though he knew they were there. Cassie's not convinced she's dead. Mark says he'll call for backup.

Mark says Ronald will slip up and they'll get him. Cassie doesn't like that because that'll mean someone else has died. Cassie's phone rings and she tells Mark it's Jenny.

Sheriff Wagy watches as Angela's body is removed from the hotel. Nearby, Jenny refuses an exam. Wagy tells her she should have left Lochsa. Jenny knows the Kleinsassers are behind the crash and knows he knows that as well. He's been doing their dirty work for years. Wagy says she has no authority as a private investigator. Jenny tells him Angela is dead because of him and she won't let him get away with it.

Jerrie brings Mark some coffee as Mary's house is photographed. When he asks if she really wants to see all that, she says the other option is checking the locks and not sleeping all night. She won't feel safe until Ronald has been caught. Jerrie watches as the body is removed and asks if Ronald did it. Mark says they can't rule it out. Jerrie then tells Mark about Scarlet and says she doesn't live very far away.

Wagy comes to Horst and tells him about the crash. He tells Horst he knows Rand did it and killed Angela in the process. Angela was one of Wagy's people. He asks if Horst ordered it. Horst says he didn't and tells Wagy he'll run his own business. Wagy tells Horst he has witnesses and that Jenny isn't going away. Horst says he has witnesses that put Rand on the ranch. Wagy says that won't fly because Angela was there talking to Jenny. He found the report at the scene, a report that talks about all the chemicals Horst has dumped on the ranch. Wagy doesn't know where she got it. Horst tells Wagy to fix it, but Wagy says it's Horst's mess. he can't protect Horst anymore.

Wagy returns to his car to find Cheyenne in the backseat. She knows Wagy is there on business and asks if it's John Wayne or Rand. He tells her to mind her own business, but she ominously tells him she'll see him in the future.

Ronald surprises Scarlet and Phoebe with the truck and says they're going camping. Phoebe is excited for the trip, but Scarlet wants to wait until morning because she still can't find her phone. Ronald gives her her phone, saying he found it in the car seat. He tries to get her excited to go.

Horst confronts John Wayne and Rand, asking which of them ran the truck into the motel. Rand admits that it was him, but John Wayne says he should be talking to Cheyenne, as she was the one talking to Jenny. Horst says they're going to bury Blake, then they're going to figure out what to do with the barrels on the back pasture. He orders them to dig a grave for Blake by hand and contemplate the hole they're in and consider what will happen if they screw up again. If they do, it'll be the last they see of the ranch.

Cassie helps Jenny clean up her face. Jenny says the Kleinsassers did it. Denise wants to know how they knew she was meeting Anela in the first place. Jenny knows it wasn't Wagy this time and blames herself. Cassie knows Wagy won't investigate the death thoroughly, especially if he knows the Kleinsassers are behind it. Cassie says they need to figure out what the Kleinsassers have on Wagy. Denise wants Jenny to promise to go home first and get some rest. She then gives Jenny the address of Nora Danvers, Cole's mother.

Ronald drives his truck out to the woods. He checks his phone and sees there's no signal. He looks in the back, where Scarlet and Phoebe are sleeping. He then looks at Mary's body, but before he can do anything, Scarlet wakes up. It's not regular campground. Ronald sends Scarlet and Phoebe out to explore, saying he'll join them soon.

Mark updates Cassie at Mary's house. They found blood, enough that they assume it was fatal. Jerrie says Mary grew up in Utah. Her father was splinter LDS. She broke contact with all family except her youngest sister, Scarlet. They both ended up in Montana. Cassie thinks Ronald figured out she was about to ID him and killed her. Cassie asks about the man in freezer next. Mark had him looked on site. He's Steve Lahren and disappeared eight years ago. He was killed by an ice pick to the back of his head. Not Ronald's style. He has no connection to Ronald.

As Jenny approaches, Nora Danvers says she has nothing for her if she's from the bank. Jenny says she's a private investigator from Helena. She's there to find out what happened to Nora's son. Nora asks who hired her. When she says Blake, Nora says not to come around saying that name. The whole family is the curse of the town. Jenny agrees and wants to find out why. She thinks Cole knew something. Nora says it won't bring Cole back. Jenny says she could get revenge. Nora tells Jenny the Kleinsassers are white trash. She told Cole to stay away. He told his mother that he'd seen something at the ranch that he knew was wrong. He didn't say anything more than that. Then he disappeared. They made her out to be the nut for asking about it. They sent Gil to tell her that Cole stole a truck and disappeared with it, but she knew it was a lie. Cole never called her after that. He just vanished.

Margaret asks Cheyenne for a pill, but Cheyenne reminds her she's done with those. Margaret asks what happened with Blake. Cheyenne says she doesn't know, but Margaret knows everyone else knows. Cheyenne tells Margaret it was John Wayne. She tells Margaret that they had a fight about Cole. Cheyenne wanted to tell Margaret first. She also wants to tell Horst, but Margaret asks to be the one to tell him. Margaret tells Cheyenne that after Cheyenne was born, Margaret came home that first night to find Horst sitting at the table waiting for dinner. She'd had a terrible time giving birth and could barely walk, but there he sat, demanding dinner. She set Cheyenne down and went to make him meatloaf, his favorite. But she put rat poison in his slice. He ate the whole thing, but nothing happened. He woke up the next morning just fine. Margaret thinks he's too mean to die.

John Wayne and Rand dig Blake's grave. John Wayne thinks it'll all be okay, but Rand doesn't want to go to jail. Rand admits that he's scared, but John Wayne says Horst will take care of it. If he doesn't, John Wayne will take care of it himself. John Wayne wants them to run the ranch together when he takes over. They'll sell off a portion and make bank. Rand wants to build a maze when they take over, with traps and wild animals. It'll scare people. John Wayne says it's a bad idea, but Rand has it all planned out. People like to be scared. He wants a final chamber where he's underneath and reaches his hand up to pull them down and make them think they're going to die. John Wayne says they need to finish the grave and they'll talk about it later.

Horst struggles to get his boots on, so Margaret helps. She asks him to let her say a few words at the grave. He says she doesn't need his permission for that. He tells her to speak from her heart. She doesn't think he really wants to know what's in her heart. He tells her to go lie down and collect herself. Margaret says they don't talk anymore. She used to listen to him talk, but she can't do it anymore. He tries to slap her, but she stops him. She wants him to tell her one thing that's not a lie, before she puts her son in the ground. Horst tells her every time he looks at their kids, all he can see is everything wrong with her. It's like when you have a cowing calf. But the calf comes out wrong. And then the next does as well. Then you have to put the cow down. Horst says Margaret's not worth the slaughter anymore. She's just dog meat. Margaret says that's the most honest thing he's ever said to her. And she hears it loud and clear. But he'll still honor his vows and keep the family together. He'll make sure the land gets passed on as it always has. He's a man of his word. It's his family and land. No one will tell him what to do with it. Margaret says once he's gone, what's left won't be worth a jar of cold spit. Margaret tells Horst she's going to kill him. That's her truth. Horst expects nothing less. They head out together for the funeral.

Jenny and Cassie talk to Gil about Nora. He's been waiting a long time for this day. Rosie asks what he's talking about. She wants to know the truth about what Gil did. Gil says he tried to help Cole. Told him to keep his head down and take the paycheck. But then Cole started asking questions. He got into it with Horst. Rand saw them and killed Cole. He thought he was protecting his father. Gil struggles to tell them, because he helped Horst do whatever he did. Horst trusted Gil wouldn't talk. It's how Gil got off the ranch alive. They paid him off to leave. Jenny asks what Horst was doing on the land.

Gil tells Jenny and Cassie about the water source in Montana. The water started getting contaminated. They had to make it right and dump the waste somewhere. Horst gave it to them. Wagy brokered the deal and they split the profits. Gil didn't see the harm at first. Jenny says there has to be some paper trail. Gil says the dumping happened on the back pasture and Horst keeps the documents under lock and key in his office. They're both constantly monitored. Jenny says it's Blake's funeral today, so they're expecting cars to be coming and going. Gil is hesitant, but Jenny says he owes it to Rosie to do the right thing.

Cheyenne sees Rand making a sandwich and says they're going to eat after they bury Blake. Rand says John Wayne is hungry. Cheyenne says he doesn't have to do what John Wayne wants, not just when it comes to sandwiches. Cheyenne asks Rand what's going on in the back pasture. She knows all kinds of things she's not supposed to know, like what happened with Cole and what happened at the motel. Rand picks up a knife and Cheyenne asks if he's going to stab her or if he has to check with John Wayne first. John Wayne finds them and tells Cheyenne to leave Rand alone. Cheyenne says Rand can defend himself. He's pretty good at killing people. Cheyenne wants to tell Wagy everything she knows, but knows that won't do them any good.

Cassie wonders why the Kleinsassers would poison their own land. Jenny says it's better to poison it than lose it. Mark calls and tells them Steve fathered a child with Mary's sister, Scarlet. They weren't married. He doesn't know how it connects to Ronald. If Mary's a fly in Ronald's web or vice versa. Cassie thinks they're both spiders. Scarlet's been unreachable, but he's about to go to her place. Jerrie asks if she can go with him.

Ronald is hiding the body when Scarlet calls out to him. He hides behind a tree and pulls out his taser. Phoebe notices blood on a leaf nearby and they go back where they came from.

Horst speaks at Blake's funeral. When he's done, he asks Margaret if she wants to say a few words. She turns to John Wayne, who says he'll miss Blake. She hugs him and quietly says she knows what he did.

Scarlet and Phoebe call for Ronald. He appears and says he thought he heard something in the woods. He went to check it out and got lost. Phoebe tells him about the leaf they found. He says it might have been a wounded animal. The woods are full of all kinds of animals, nice ones and those that hunt them. Sometimes they kill each other. It's what the animals do to stay alive. It's how nature achieves balance. Scarlet cuts Ronald off and sends Phoebe away. She says Phoebe doesn't need to be scared, but Ronald says she would know what kind of place the world is. Scarlet also reminds him he promised the trip would be fun.

Jerrie and Mark get to Scarlet's house. He tries to get her to wait in the car, but she wants to go. He says the stuff she'll see can break her heart, but she's already seen the worst in people. He wants her to know there are other paths. But if you don't, the job chooses you. He tells her about his own history, including losing his sister. Jerrie says she has to close this chapter before she can open a new one and wants to be part of taking Ronald down. He asks how she feels about guns and she says her dad used to take her to the range. He offers her a gun and says it's up to her. She takes it.

Gil says they need to go if they're going to go. He, Jenny, and Cassie prepare to break onto the Kleinsasser property.

Cassie wonders how they've kept it hidden. Gil says Horst kept buying more land so he could dump more. He opens up a barrel, which has a skull floating at the top. He says it's undocumented workers who died moving the waste as well as others who crossed there. Gill takes a soil sample for her.

Cheyenne, Rand, and John Wayne talk at the house. She taunts her brothers.

Wagy tells Horst it was a beautiful service. He'll have to bring at least Rand in for questioning. Horst says anyone who wants to can come onto the ranch anytime. He'll give them a warm welcome. Wagy says Horst needs to extend an olive branch, but Horst rejects that. Margaret comes through and pulls a rug off the wall. In its place, she gives John Wayne something to hang. She wants everyone to see what lives in their house. Cheyenne takes the nail from Rand's mouth and nails it to the wall. Then John Wayne hangs up the picture Margaret gave him. It's a picture she made for Blake, of a black spirit around their house. Horst orders everyone else out.

Horst tells the family they must unite or lose everything. No one is going anywhere until they solve their problem.

Mark knocks on Scarlet's door. There's no answer though her car is there, so they ask a neighbor, who says she left in the middle of the night in a truck with her boyfriend and daughter. Jerrie pretends they're family friends. Mark shows a picture of Ronald and the neighbor identifies it as Scarlet's boyfriend.

Wagy sees the car on the back pasture and calls horst to tell him he has a problem.

Ronald lies awake beside a sleeping Scarlet and Phoebe. He gets up and leaves the tent.

Gil stops. He thinks he saw something. Suddenly, headlights approach and he warns them to run.

Ronald buries Mary's body. While he works, he notices Phoebe watching him. She asks him what he's doing.



Special Guest Star

Guest Starring



Song Performer Scene


  • This episode scored 2.62 million viewers.


Episode Stills

Behind the Scenes


See Also

A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.