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Cole Hauser's Past Injuries Have Come In Handy For His Yellowstone Character

"Yellowstone" has created a dynamic cast of characters that viewers alternatively love, hate, and love to hate. The Dutton family has endeared itself to many, and viewers have been loyal to them –- Season 4 of the show set record ratings, unlike those seen since the height of "The Walking Dead" (via Uproxx).

Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser), the foreman of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, is a consistent fan-favorite character. He has been dedicated to John Dutton (Kevin Costner) since John took him in as a teenage runaway. He's stoic and a man of few words, but throughout he has a heart of gold, especially when it comes to John's daughter Beth Dutton, whom he marries in the Season 4 finale.

Rip is also beloved because he is the consummate cowboy. As the ranch foreman, he is the first up in the morning and often the last to end his work day. He's ruthless and masculine and tends to fight many of the ranch's biggest foes. He also acts as a leader to the other ranch hands and cowboys employed by John.

And as it turns out, Hauser's past set him up well for getting into character as the macho and complex Rip.

Cole Hauser's many injuries help him get into character as Rip Wheeler

Cole Hauser revealed to Gold Derby that the extensive injuries he's received over his lifetime are actually a good match for getting into character as Rip Wheeler. Hauser once broke his back on the set of the film "The Last Champion." But it doesn't end there, as he revealed. "I'm 47 years old now, I've been in a ton of accidents, you know, motorcycles, horses ... I've torn my hamstrings, torn calf muscles," Hauser told Gold Derby.

Luckily, the lasting impacts of these accidents aren't too dissimilar from what Rip deals with on a daily basis. As John Dutton's right-hand man, Rip is battered and bruised, not just from the toll of the work, but from the wars he wages for the survival of the ranch. And those wars leave him with his fair share of heavy hits. "So it's all... the walk, I put a little bit more into the brokenness of Rip versus me," he told Gold Derby. "So I accentuate a little bit of the limp, the back pain, or the getting up and getting down, or having to bend down to give [Beth] a kiss."

While some of Rip's ailments are exaggerated for effect, Hauser assures that the underlying pain is oftentimes truthful. "Those things are all very real, but I give a little bit more to them, I guess, for the character," he said.

Ultimately, Hauser sees Rip as embodying ultimate freedom. "In a way, he's a part of the Montana landscape," the actor explained. "He's his own animal."