‘Joe Pickett’ Season 1 Recap & Ending, Explained: What Happens To Joe & Marybeth?

Joe Pickett, a gripping Paramount series, takes viewers on an exhilarating trip through the beautiful county of Twelve Sleep where Joe Pickett, a freshly recruited tenacious game warden, unearths a web of treachery and danger lying behind the tranquil surface of his community. Adapted from the acclaimed series of novels by C.J. Box, this captivating crime drama delves into the life of Joe Pickett, a man driven by a desire to protect nature and wildlife, as he finds himself entangled in a complex murder investigation that exposes a dark conspiracy.


Spoilers Ahead

Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Joe Pickett’?

Joe Pickett, the local game warden in Saddlestring, in the county of Twelve Sleep, was a dedicated family man, married to Marybeth with two children, Sheridan and Lucy. Despite a turbulent childhood shaped by an abusive and cruel father, Joe pursued his dream of becoming a game warden in Saddlestring, where he could protect wildlife and nature. However, his encounter with poacher Ote Keeley led to a confrontation and the revocation of Ote’s hunting license. Despite this, Joe focused on his growing family, as Marybeth was expecting another child. However, Joe’s peaceful life took a dark turn when he discovered Ote Keeley’s dead body in his backyard, accompanied by a broken cooler containing animal scat. Joe realized that Ote had been killed with custom-made arrows designed to deliver poison. Deputy McLanahan and Sheriff Barnum arrived to investigate the murder, and Joe suggested sending the arrows and the animal scat for toxicology analysis.


Who Killed Clyde? Who Was Nate Romanowski?

Nate Romanowski, a local falconer known for his profound love for the birds, came under suspicion for the murder of Ote Keeley, as Ote’s widow believed Nate had killed her husband due to a previous altercation over a bird. The local sheriff’s department arrested Nate, but Joe Pickett, while initially skeptical, began to harbor doubts about Nate’s guilt. During a confrontation in jail, Nate admitted to Joe that he hadn’t killed Ote, but would have wanted to due to Ote’s actions against one of Nate’s falcons. As Joe investigated further, he learned from Nate that Ote had met with two other men named Calvin and Kyle on Crazy Woman Creek shortly before his murder. Determined to uncover the truth, Joe embarked on a journey to find Calvin and Kyle, seeking their connection to Ote’s death. Accompanied by Wacey Hedeman, a former game warden and Joe’s trusted friend, as well as Deputy McLanahan, Joe ventured to Crazy Woman Creek. There, they discovered a tent splattered with blood and the lifeless bodies of Calvin and Kyle, heightening Joe’s suspicions. Suddenly, Clyde Lidgard, a local man, emerged from the bushes, aiming his rifle at Wacey and Joe. In the ensuing confrontation, Wacey shot and killed Clyde in self-defense.

Meanwhile, Vern Dunnegan, a former game warden and influential figure in Saddlestring, was involved in a confidential business deal with Opal Scarlett, the matriarch of the influential Scarlett family. The plan involved constructing the Pilotcrest pipeline through Wyoming, with the elimination of endangered weasels as a necessary step. However, Joe remained unaware that Vern had already recruited Wacey to carry out the elimination of the weasels, as part of their secret scheme with Vern securing the game warden’s position for Wacey.


Who Killed Ote? 

Joe’s suspicion towards Vern’s business dealings with the Scarletts grew stronger, leading him to believe that Opal Scarlett might be responsible for Ote’s murder. However, during Nate Romanowski’s trial, Joe was misled. Surprisingly, Marybeth, Joe’s wife, was appointed as Nate’s defense attorney and decided to take the job after some hesitation. She diligently gathered evidence that supported Nate’s innocence and was prepared to present it in court. Meanwhile, Joe discovered a taxidermied falcon in Ote’s house, raising doubts about Nate’s innocence. He started to believe that Nate and Ote had a personal conflict that led Nate to target Ote. Joe immediately called his wife to share his suspicions, but before he could do anything, Nate managed to escape the courtroom, misleading and threatening Marybeth. Fortunately, both Marybeth and her unborn baby survived the ordeal.

The toxicology report for the animal scat found in the cooler had arrived, but it failed to yield any matches in the international database. Joe concluded that the scat came from an endangered animal species. Further investigation revealed that the scat belonged to Miller’s weasels, a dwindling population still present in the Wyoming woods. Joe connected the dots and realized that Ote had been capturing these weasels in his cooler, explaining the presence of the scat. It became apparent that Ote might have been recruited by Interwest Resources to kill the weasels. With his newfound belief in Nate’s innocence, Joe set out on a journey to track him down and seek his assistance. He eventually located Nate and together they ventured into the mountains where Clyde Lidgard had taken many pictures. One of the pictures revealed Ote’s presence, suggesting that the mountain forest held important clues. 


While riding on horseback through the jungle, Joe’s horse stumbled upon a tree that had been pierced by an arrow. Joe deduced that only a skilled rodeo horse rider could have shot the arrow, and the name that came to his mind was Wacey. It turned out that Wacey, assigned by Vern, had been responsible for eliminating the weasels. However, when Wacy hired Ote as a poacher to carry out the killings, Ote began blackmailing Wacey, threatening to expose their plan unless Wacey retrieved his hunting license from Joe. Unable to tolerate the blackmail, Wacey ended up killing Ote Keeley.

What Happened At The End Of ‘Joe Pickett’ Season 1?

In his haste, Joe called and tried to inform Marybeth that he had found the killer, Wacey. However, as Marybeth stepped outside the house, she was shot by Wacey. Not only Wacey, but the Scarletts were also after Joe’s life. Vern had given them the order to kill Joe first and then eliminate Wacey. Unbeknownst to the Scarletts, Joe had misled them. To cover up the shooting, Wacey staged a robbery at Joe’s house, while Sheridan, Joe’s daughter, ran and hid. Wacey started searching for Sheridan outside, while Marybeth, despite her serious injuries, managed to drive to a safe place.


The sheriff informed Joe about Marybeth’s critical condition, prompting him to rush to the hospital to check on his wife. In the meantime, Joe learned that Sheridan had been captured by Wacey. Confronting Vern and holding him hostage, Joe reached out to Wacey. However, Vern held Sheridan at gunpoint, threatening to kill her. Joe managed to shoot Vern and Wacey, killing Wacey and injuring Vern in the process. The sheriff arrived and arrested Vern, while Joe Pickett reclaimed his position as a game warden.

Simultaneously while dealing with Ote Keeley’s murder mystery, we have seen Joe being tormented by haunting hallucinations from his youth, reminding him of the severe torture inflicted by his domineering and abusive father. These recurring visions transported him back to a time when he and his brother sought refuge in a concealed hole, while their father relentlessly searched for them. The memories were vivid, and even amidst the turmoil of Marybeth being shot and rushed to the hospital, Joe couldn’t escape the visceral recollection of what his father had done to their mother.


The horrifying image of his mother enduring agonizing torment at the hands of his father had left an impact in Joe’s psyche, causing deep-rooted trauma. However, Joe had fought against the influence of his upbringing, determined not to become anything like his father. Instead, he became a compassionate and generous individual, a source of pride for his wife, Marybeth, who cherished his presence in her life. Despite the couple facing the devastating loss of a miscarriage, Marybeth found solace in the support and love Joe provided. He stood by her side through the darkest moments, offering comfort and strength. With their two daughters in tow, Joe made the decision to bring Marybeth and their family back home, believing that the cloud of fear that had plagued them had finally lifted. The Pickett family embarked on a new journey, starting afresh under the rays of a new day’s sunlight.

Final Words

Joe Pickett is a thrilling and thought-provoking production that offers a captivating blend of mystery, action, and emotional depth. With its engaging storytelling, stunning visuals, and powerful performances, it is a must-watch for fans of crime dramas and those seeking a compelling exploration of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Now that we have reviewed everything from season 1, it is time to look forward to Joe Pickett’s next new adventures in season 2.


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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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