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No Better Than Dogs is the twelfth episode of the first season of Big Sky and the 12th episode of the series overall. It was written by Elwood Reid and Brian McCauley Johnson and directed by Oliver Bokelberg. It premiered on April 20, 2021 on ABC.


Cassie and Jenny each face a dangerous attempt to run them out of town while Jerrie has a close encounter with a dangerous threat of her own. Back at the ranch, Blake returns home, where he receives anything but a warm welcome. This ain't your typical family reunion.


Jenny runs from Rand and falls into a pit of trash. Rand stands at the edge of the pit with an axe and taunts her even after she pulls her gun on him. She fires near him to get him to drop the axe and let her leave. At she tries to get out to he pit, she slips and Rand jumps on top of her. Suddenly, John Wayne appears with his own gun and tells Rand to leave Jenny alone. Rand leaves and Jenny pulls her gun on John Wayne, who immediately surrenders and tells her Rand was just trying to defend the property from a trespasser. Jenny says she's just trying to help Blake by checking his story. John Wayne offers to show her the cabin himself.

As Gregor stops the car, Cassie calls Dewell & Hoyt Private Investigations with her phone, talking about her location. She asks him to take her back to the station but he refuses and tells her to shut up. Another car pulls up and flashes its lights at him. He goes to get her out of the car, but she pushes the door into him and runs. He chases her and catches her when she falls and hits her head.

Jenny and John Wayne arrive at the cabin and he tells her to go take a look. Jenny asks if John Wayne saw Blake or Rosie that night. He says he didn't.

Mark has Jerrie play the message from Cassie again. Cassie hasn't answered her phone since and Jenny isn't answering either. Mark tells Jerrie he's going to Lochsa.

Jenny looks around with a flashlight. She's startled when John Wayne comes up behind her. He shows her the room where he found Rosie, but warns her of rats.

Inside the room, Jenny finds a stripped bed covered in blood. Under the bed is a bottle of whiskey, like the one Blake bought. Outside, Jenny can hear and see John Wayne leaving and curses.

Two figures hover above Cassie as she wakes up. She gets dragged away and one of the figures notices her phone, which is still recording.

Jerrie is at a bar with Jimmy. She's nervous to sing, but he encourages her to get back on the horse. He gives her a shot and sends her up to sing. Jerrie goes up to the stage and sings Gasoline and Matches. She starts to struggle when she sees Ronald peeking out from behind a corner. She watches as he leaves and runs off the stage after him. Jimmy asks her what happened and she tells him about Ronald and asks to leave.

Jenny tries to call Cassie and gets her voicemail. She finds Cassie's truck on the side of the road. It's been set on fire.

Cheyenne leads a horse back to the barn. Blake comes in and asks if she's still mad at him for leaving. She says she is and he can't make it up to her, so he shouldn't try. Despite that, she doesn't believe he assaulted Rosie. She can't blame him for leaving as she would have gone, too, if she had a place to go. Blake says you don't need a place to go. You just go. If she doesn't go soon, chances are she never will. He asks what she's waiting for. She says maybe she's scared about missing something at the ranch. Blake says he was free once he stopped worrying about that. Cheyenne says the first thing she sees every morning when she wakes up is the white lion poster he got her. She likes to think about what it would be like to be that lion. Then she thinks about the poachers who would try to kill that lion because it's different. She tells Blake a lot has changed at the ranch. They're always talking a mineral rights and John Wayne has Rand digging holes in the back pasture. Cheyenne tells him they were there that night with Rosie. They came in late that night and made a big show the next morning about finding her. John Wayne comes in and interrupts their conversation. He tells them their dad wants them for a breakfast meeting.

Mark shows his bad at the sheriff's office and asks for the sheriff. Angela offers him a butterscotch, but he wants the sheriff first.

Cassie wakes and hears voices.

Outside where she's being kept, Wagy is asking Gregor what he was thinking bringing Cassie there.

Mark tells Wagy one of his deputies picked up a friend of his. Wagy knows her as the one who shot Legarski and says she was arrested on suspicion of DUI, and resisting arrest. Could also be assaulting and officer, but he offers to let that one slide this time. Mark says Wagy's going to let her go. Mark says he's going to answer the phone. Just then, the phone rings, and Angela says it's the governor's office. She hands the phone to Wagy, who talks for a moment and says he understands. He leaves and Mark grabs another butterscotch candy.

Horst demands coffee and Margaret goes to get it. He says there's always a place for Blake in the family no matter what he's done. Cheyenne says he only came back because Horst is dying. The kids fight and Horst breaks it up and forces Cheyenne to apologize to John Wayne for hitting him, saying she needs to show him respect as a man. Margaret brings Horst his coffee. He says the coffee is good, but Margaret overcooked the bacon. Under the table, Margaret pricks herself with a needle and makes herself bleed as Horst explains that John Wayne will be taking over the ranch. Blake violated the moral turpitude clause of the ranch covenant. Blake says he doesn't want the ranch anyway. Horst has his lawyer drawing up the paperwork to make sure John Wayne has control. In the meantime, they need to make sure no one else gets in their business. Blake gets up and leaves the table.

Horst and Blake ride horses. They ride by the place where they shot Cecil. Blake was too scared to take the shot. When Horst looks at Cecil, he swears Cecil knows what he's thinking. Horst talks about his death, but promises he'll see Blake through the case with Rosie first. Blake swears he didn't do it and Horst accuses him of lying. Horst says he broke his mother's heart when he left and they never figured out why. Blake says he left because of Cole Danvers. Horst told him to forget about that. He couldn't put it in a box and then in a hole and forget about it like Horst told him to. Horst says he did it to protect Rand, just like he's protecting Blake and would protect and of the rest of them. Blake says he thinks about what Horst made him do every day. Rand isn't right and never has been. Blake rides away from Horst.

Mark tells Cassie she did some smart thinking with the phone. He asks if she saw the other car. He's sure it was the sheriff, working with the Kleinsassers. Mark asks if she wants to call her phone, but she wants to wait until she's cleared her head. He offers some Hall & Oates, which he says works every time. Then he tells her about Ronald visiting Helen's grave and sleeping on it. He also tells her about the note he left to mess with Ronald. The plan is to grab him when he comes back. Behavior like that means he has compulsions he can't control. Mark drops Cassie back off at the hotel. He offers whatever other help he can and she asks him to help find Rosie. He says he'll call it in if she sends the information.

Jenny brings Cassie some ice. After a few moments of silence, Jenny apologizes and says she's here if Cassie wants to talk about it. Cassie says there's nothing to talk about. She asks Jenny about the bottle she found at the cabin. Denise confirmed it was the bottle Blake bought at the bar. Cassie notices that there isn't much consumed from the bottle. They wonder what if it was drugged. The toxicology report was missing from the file, so Jenny's going to get it tested. Cassie tells Jenny Mark's going to help them find Rosie.

Scarlet is doing laundry and finds the note from Mark in Ronald's pocket.

Ronald and Phoebe are playing with dolls. Ronald says one of the dolls hit her head because she has a big secret and her sister got jealous. Phoebe tells him to kiss it better, but he says boys don't kiss dolls. Scarlet joins them and kisses the doll herself. She tells it, "I'll always be with you," the line from the note.

Jenny asks Blake what's going on with Rand and the sheriff. She tells him bout sneaking onto the ranch. He regrets asking her to come. He doesn't want her dragged into something he can't get her out of. She doesn't know what his family is capable of and it's his mess to clean up. John Wayne pulls up beside them and tells Blake Jenny was trespassing. And Rand didn't do anything. Then he tells Blake Horst wants to see him immediately. Blake wants Jenny to promise him she'll leave.

Scarlet asks if Ronald picked a movie for the evening and he says "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." He used to watch it with him mom. Scarlet says Wonka murdered the children, but Ronald says Wonka's a good guy. Scarlet thinks he's a creep and says Ronald can watch the movie on his own. When he accept that, she gets upset and he asks if he did something wrong. She asks him to think why she might be mad. He doesn't know, so she shows him the note she found. He says he can explain, but she pulls out the taser and says every lie means a shock. He says he went to a karaoke night after work. He was once in a musical. She clocks that as a lie and he admits he just wanted to be in it, but he was too shy and his mother wouldn't let him. She shows him the note again. He starts to lie to her and she shocks him. Then he says he found the note and thought it was sad, like a lost note that meant something to someone. He thinks you find things for a reason, like he found her. He thought maybe he was meant to find the note. Everything has a reason. Scarlet says her sister says that and Ronald says that's wise. Scarlet says she has a fragile heart, but she thinks she's falling in love with him.

Cheyenne goes to talk to Margaret, but Margaret says she has a headache and has a lot of work to do. When she doesn't stop her work, Cheyenne rattles the pill bottle. Margaret stops, so she gives her one. Margaret asks for a second one and Cheyenne gives it to her. Cheyenne asks why Margaret lets Horst speak to her like that. Margaret says he doesn't mean anything by it, but Cheyenne knows that's a lie. The ranch going to John Wayne will also be a disaster. Margaret tries to placate her, but Cheyenne tells her not to let this happen. Cheyenne says Margaret doesn't get anything because she asks while John Wayne and Rand just take it like it's their right to have it. She asks what Margaret thinks will happen when Horst dies. Margaret cries and tells Cheyenne she needs to leave because there's nothing for her there. Cheyenne says she won't just sit by like Margaret. She knows what's been going on at the ranch. Margaret tells her to stop, but Cheyenne refuses, saying she's done and Margaret is done with the pills. She goes to pour them down the drain, but Margaret fights her and slaps her, then bites her. Cheyenne is encouraged to see Margaret fighting and encourages her.

Blake goes to see Horst, who says they'll get him through it. Blake says he doesn't need their help. Horst is upset because Blake invited Jenny and Cassie there and warns him if they poke into their business, they'll poke back. Blake threatens to tell what's been happening on the ranch if Horst goes after Jenny and Cassie. Horst just laughs the threat off and starts hitting Blake, saying Blake doesn't have the balls to hit Horst. As Blake leaves, he sends John Wayne to follow Blake and make sure he cools off. He then asks Rand if he's flying straight. Rand lies and says he is.

John Wayne follows Blake to the Gator. Blake says he's going to do something he should have done a long time ago and drives off.

Cassie has Jenny stop, saying this is where Rosie's place is. Mark got a ping from her cell signal near there and there's only one cabin back there. They continue on foot and spot the cabin. As they walk, a woman pulls a gun on them and tells them to stop. They know it's Rosie and she asks them what they're doing there.

Jenny and Cassie explain that a lot of people haven't liked that they're asking questions. Rosie knows that Wagy is among them, along with Gregor and the Kleinsassers. Rosie knows they're looking for her, but doesn't know why. She doesn't want to find out and says the family is bad news. Jenny asks about the night she was attacked. Rosie says it didn't make sense. One minute, they were joking, then the next, there was blackness. She had a friend in college who got roofied and told her what it was like. Her experience was the same except she woke up beat to hell. She and Blake were the only ones at the cabin, the same Blake she remembered. They drank whiskey from the bottle together. Rosie says she was looking for a saddle her father left in the cabin, but it wasn't there.

Blake digs a hole on the ranch. He gets angry with himself and cracks open a can to drink.

Rosie says she's known Blake all her life. This didn't seem like a thing he would do. Then she started having flashes and realized Rand was there. She's sure of it.

Blake finds a belt buckle and cleans it off. The back says, "Cole Danvers." There's a human skeleton in the hole next to him. John Wayne finds him and asks what he's doing. They both stand by the side and look down on Cole. Blake says his name was Cole. He was just a kid who showed up looking for work. John Wayne says he stole a truck and left, but Blake says that's not what happened. Horst woke Blake up that night, took him down to the cabin that night. Cole was there and his throat had been cut with a shovel. He asked Horst what happened and Horst said it was an accident. Blake is sure that's not true. Rand killed him. Blake found a bloody shirt in Rand's room and Rand admitted to doing it because Cole was making fun of him. Rand got mad and swung his shovel at Cole. John Wayne thinks Horst was just trying to protect their family, but Blake knows Cole had family, too. Neither of them is aware that Cheyenne is watching them and listening to them. John Wayne wants to bury him again, but Blake tells him to stop. He says it's over. Burying this won't wash away what they've done. John Wayne turns around and hits Blake with the shovel, knocking him back into the hole. Cheyenne sees this happen and gasps.



Special Guest Star

Guest Starring



Song Performer Scene
"Between Jennings and Jones" Jamey Johnson
  • Jerrie and Jimmy talk at the bar.
"Gasoline and Matches" Cast (Jesse James Keitel)
  • Jerrie sings at the bar.
  • She starts to struggle as she sees Ronald in the crowd.


  • This episode scored 2.98 million viewers.


Episode Stills

Behind the Scenes

See Also

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