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Cole Hauser Explains How His Childhood Helped Him Prepare For His Role On Yellowstone

In an era where Westerns are far from mainstream, "Yellowstone" has proven a surprising home run for the Paramount Network since it made its small screen arrival in 2018. The Taylor Sheridan and John Linson-created title has extended for multiple seasons, amassed a devoted fanbase that spans the globe, and paved the way for numerous prequels and spin-off titles to find success in the world of television. Additionally, the family that the series focuses on, the Duttons, have become household names throughout their seemingly never-ending battle to protect their family ranch from outside forces.

The Dutton family is comprised of multiple complex individuals who all have an important part to play in the story. John Dutton (Kevin Costner) is the patriarch who does what he can to keep the peace at the Yellowstone Ranch, while the Dutton children Kayce (Luke Grimes), Beth (Kelly Reilly), and Jamie (Wes Bentley) go about their own lives and reveal their complicated relationships with each other and the family ranch. While he's not technically a Dutton, Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) may as well be, seeing as he's been under John's care for much of his life and is married to Beth as of Season 4.

At this point, Rip Wheeler is a key component of "Yellowstone" and a fan-favorite character. That's likely the case, thanks to Cole Hauser's unintentional preparation for the role that dates back to his childhood.

Hauser grew up living a country lifestyle

In June 2022, a handful of the actors behind the Dutton family sat down for a collective interview with the "Yellowstone" YouTube channel to discuss a range of topics. When it came time for Cole Hauser to talk about the role of Rip Wheeler, he revealed how his upbringing influenced his portrayal. As he recalled, when he was a kid, his mother bought a 150-acre ranch where he got to care for a pony named Cinnamon. He'd ride him around all day, and he was so well-trained that when his mother called Hauser in for dinner, he would know to bring him back to the house. Hauser notes he spent years living this country lifestyle.

Little did Cole Hauser realize it then, but all of his horse experience was gearing him up to play the rough-and-tough farmhand Rip Wheeler on "Yellowstone." Although, his role on the program could've been much different. As he stated on the "Bingeworthy Podcast," "I think, initially, the idea was to maybe play one of Kevin's sons." However, as he read through the script, the Rip Wheeler character kept catching his attention, prompting him to change his course. "There's something really loyal and beautiful about him. He's a throwback character, which I don't think we've seen in a very long time," Hauser adds.

Over the years, Cole Hauser has made it abundantly clear that he's tailor-made to play Rip Wheeler. Fingers crossed that he continues to feature prominently on "Yellowstone" well into the future.