10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Favorite Yellowstone Actors


Did you know Cole Hauser got to choose his role as Rip Wheeler? Or that the Yellowstone cast includes a former bodybuilder, an opera singer, and a world-renowned Shakespearian actor?

Bet you didn’t know these facts about some of the Yellowstone crew!

1. Like His Character Jimmy, Jefferson White was Extremely New to Horses

A New York City native, Jefferson White hadn’t so much as touched a horse before joining Yellowstone. But Taylor Sheridan’s infamous Cowboy Camp would soon change that. “We were really given every opportunity to learn as much as we could and still fail constantly,” White recalls of the experience. “Now, four years later and we are still learning. It’s a life-long pursuit.”

2. Cole Hauser Got to Choose His Role

In an interview with Men’s Journal, Cole Hauser revealed that he was given his choice of characters as one of the very first actors to read the pilot script for Yellowstone. It was all thanks to his friendship with the show’s other co-creator, John Linson.

“Looking at the script, the roles that were open at the time were of John Dutton’s sons and the smaller character of Rip. He only had two scenes in the pilot, but something about that guy really pulled at my heart strings,” Hauser revealed. “I could already sense there could be some amazing growth with him.”

3. Jen Landon is the Daughter of One of the Most Famous Western Genre Actors of All Time

From Bonanza to Little House on the Prairie, Michael Landon was a household presence for generations of Americans – and still is to this day. “When I was little, it took me a while to realize he was really famous. I had no idea. In a weird way, there’s something mysterious about the person. I know all parents are mysterious to their children, but I feel like people who are in the public eye have this kind of elusive quality,” Jen Landon said of her father in a previous interview. 

4. Forrie J. Smith’s Character Lloyd is Now a Family Tradition

Born to a generational Montana ranching family, Forrie J. Smith became a Hollywood stunt work as a master horseman in the 1980s. Today, Smith owns a ranch in New Mexico, something his son Forrest shares a passion for. Which is exactly why Forrest Smith appears in Yellowstone as the younger version of Lloyd. The role has become a generational one for the Smiths, and their legacy has impacted the show, and vice-versa.

5. Gil Birmingham is a Former Bodybuilder

Gil Birmingham isn’t just the iconic Chief Thomas Rainwater, a phenomenal actor, and steward for the Indigenous Peoples of America. He’s also a former petrochemical engineer and a bodybuilder. Both careers were passions of his before he decided to pursue acting well into his 30s.

6. Ian Bohen Knew Kevin Costner Decades Prior to ‘Yellowstone’

Kevin Costner had the chance to mentor Yellowstone co-star Ian Bohen when Bohen was just a boy. The two worked on Wyatt Earp in 1994, in which Bohen played the younger version of Costner’s titular character.

“He would talk to me, he guided me, he was nice! He was – a dude!” Bohen said of working with the legend as a child. Fascinatingly, “The age that I am now is the age he was when he did Wyatt Earp.”

7. Denim Richards is a Trained Opera Singer

The 33-year-old actor, who plays Colby, grew up in musical theater and began taking opera lessons as a 16-year-old. The California native’s favorite vocalist is opera legend Leontyne Price.

8. Kelly Reilly Is an Award-Nominated Shakespearian Actor

Kelly Reilly‘s career blossomed as a Shakespearian thespian. Her stage work garnered her nomination for the highly-prestigious Laurence Olivier Award through multiple productions; her 2009 run of Othello among them.

9. Reilly’s Also the ‘Best Rider’ of the Cast, According to Taylor Sheridan

In an interview with Deadline, the Yellowstone mastermind said, point blank, that Reilly is the best rider of the bunch, hands down. “Ironically, the person who gets to ride the least, Kelly Reilly, is the best rider,” Sheridan revealed. “She grew up riding.”

10. Kevin Costner Wrote Songs from John Dutton’s Perspective

With his rock band, Kevin Costner & Modern West, the Dutton patriarch has released several albums and tours on a near-yearly basis. “This project was really special to me and the band—a chance to get into the mind of John Dutton, my character on Yellowstone, and express his emotions musically,” Costner said in a Tweet to fans after the album’s release. Taylor Sheridan is a fan of it all, too, as several of the songs have made it into the show.

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