If you take the Cartel out of the equation, who is the most dangerous people the Byrdes have to deal with on a routine basis? The Snells? The Langmores? The FBI? Wilkes?
That’s a good question.
At first glance, you’d think it was the Snells. They’re stubborn, quicker to violence than the others, and Darlene’s racism is the kind that will continually get them in trouble. Wilkes thinks he can buy some of their land for the casino for his own purposes, but the Snells don’t really want to sell, Wilkes won’t quit, and Darlene and Jacob do the one thing that seems to make him back off…they set his boat on fire one night, and that turns them on.
It seems to me the Snells are dangerous, but at least you know where you stand with them. Jacob taking Marty, Buddy, and Jonah hunting? Seems a little like a getting-to-know-you meeting while Darlene and Wendy hang out back at the house.
So, maybe not the Snells. You always know where you stand with the Snells.
How about the Langmores? Cade won’t work for Marty and seems to be angling for blackmail. Ruth has plans for Wyatt at the least, but Wyatt may not be helping as much as he could, and Cade thinks any Langmore getting a real job or going to college won’t fly. Besides, Marty wants to know how Cade knows Ruth killed Cade’s two brothers.
Ruth wants to do like Marty does and tries to find a new business to launder money through, but her methods of acquisition are a lot…cruder. Cade is a problem, and Ruth’s own ambitions mean she may not be able to quite equipped thanks to her life thus far to get it, but she could learn if she calms down and listens to Marty enough about why all of his businesses are shut down.
Yes, someone shut all of his businesses down. He and Wendy suspect Wilkes, a man who will use a state senator’s history of mental illness to prod the man to get out of the way of the casino bill, but then take no responsibility when that state senator kills himself. Wendy has to mollify the widow, something she does successfully because she uses a combination of honesty and secrecy to get a charity set up in the dead man’s name. But Wilkes didn’t have the Byrdes’ businesses closed, even though he could.
That would be the FBI from the looks of things, with Petty sending a bugged Rachel in for dirt on Marty.
So, in terms of who (outside the Cartel) is the most dangerous, the Snells may be the most violent, but they always let you know where they stand. The Langmores are not always the most brilliant of opponents (depending on which one we’re looking at), but they are effective in their own ways. Wilkes is unscrupulous, but he’s also not one to get his hand’s dirty. The FBI? They have resources the Byrdes don’t even know about, and even if they are constrained by the law, they can still skirt it a bit. It’s doubtful Petty wants Marty dead (more like he wants Marty to flip on the Cartel), but FBI interference is more likely to get Marty killed because of other forces in his life.
But they got some nice venison out of that hunting trip when Jonah got his first kill. That might count for something.