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How The Real Cowboys On Yellowstone Taught The Fake Ones How It's Done

It's no secret that Taylor Sheridan's "Yellowstone" is the real deal when it comes to ranch life and depicting modern-day cowboys. But what a lot of people don't know is just how serious the cast takes their fictional rancher lifestyles, especially when it comes to training — and that's where Sheridan's real-life "Yellowstone" cowboys come in. 

Now, Looper has already reported about the "1883" cowboy camp that stars Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, and others had to go through, with them talking about it publicly on numerous occasions. "To learn all of these things from the most incredible wranglers and stunt women while having the highest level of safety, it's been fun," Hill told USA Today. In a Paramount+ video, Sheridan explained his reasoning behind using actual cowboys and ranchers to teach his stars how it's done (via Outsider). "I don't rehearse with my actors," Sheridan said. "The purpose of cowboy camp is to get actors comfortable enough on the horses that they weren't nervous when they were riding. The better I can make them as a rider, the more they understand the thing they're acting out, the better the performance is, the more authentic the scenes look. [After cowboy camp], it looks real."

When it comes to "Yellowstone," however, a lot of fans don't realize that the stars of the modern western drama also had to attend their own mini cowboy camps, which were held by a famous Hollywood horseman-turned-actor. 

Horse trainer Jake Ream took Yellowstone cast on a four-day pack trip to learn how to become cowboys

When it came time to teach members of the "Yellowstone" cast how to be modern-day cowboys, Taylor Sheridan knew exactly who to call to give them the most realistic and authentic training experience — Hollywood horse trainer and actor Jake Ream. 

"[Sheridan] asked me to give some riding lessons for the actors," recalled Ream, who operates Ream Performances Horses in Utah, in a 2021 video interview for Paramount. "[Sheridan says] 'Hey, take them on a pack trip.'" So Ream and his rancher buddies loaded up, packed up around 14 meals, and went up on some land that his grandfather owns with about half-a-dozen actors.

"[We] went up there for four nights and packed them in and just taught them to be cowboys," Ream explained. According to him, there were a number of moments that stood out from the pack trip, including the slow-but-successful progression of actor Jefferson White (who plays Jimmy Hurstam), and the advancement of Cole Hauser (who plays Rip Wheeler). 

"Poor Jefferson," Ream said, laughing. "That poor kid. He hadn't been on a horse until we take him 9,000 feet in the air and we strap him on...and, boy, he cowboy'd up and did good and he's riding really good. You know, he's come a long way." Describing Hauser, Ream said: "I mean, he's kicking butt. He's doing his own stunts and you know, riding fast, doing really good." 

Season 5 of "Yellowstone" is currently airing on the Paramount Network.