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Here's The Recipe For The Perfect Dutton Ranch Employee At Yellowstone

Taylor Sheridan might be filling our appetites with endless northwestern dishes, but right now, the main course is at risk of being taken off the menu. With talks of Kevin Costner leaving "Yellowstone" for good (and perhaps ending the show as a result), Sheridan is having to work overtime to keep the Dutton ranch in order. Sure, there's a chance that everything might be alright, alright, alright if Matthew McConaughey enters the fold, as rumored, and it would certainly add a new flavor to see how that iconic charm clashes with Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) and company, but would "Yellowstone" still taste as good? Could it retain that classic spit, sawdust, savory goodness we're used to, accompanied by prime beef and a side of buckshot?

The truth is, "Yellowstone" requires a curated collection of flavors to achieve Sheridan's signature dish, but the biggest ingredients are those trusty Dutton ranch employees. You know, the gruff guys and gals that know how to cowboy, even when they get themselves into all kinds of messes. But what goes into a Dutton ranch employee, exactly? What crucial configuration is needed to get those permanent workers on the ranch tasting just right? 

Well, worry not. Because all the key steps to make the perfect Dutton Ranch employee are just over yonder. Let's get to work, shall we?

Sprinkle to taste with a dark past

Like many servings at the "Yellowstone" ranch, the right employee isn't a fresh cut. Nah, we're looking for the joints to be all worn-down by the time they step foot in the door. Be sure to look for those who have suffered a recent loss which they're still feeling guilty about, even if it wasn't their fault. From there, you can leave them to stew in their own self-loathing and regret, which you can retain for at least one or two episodes. By then, it'll end up being projected into future development, storylines, and confrontations with other characters — when the time is right. Like any good recipe, things have to marinate.

We'll also be going for some earthy flavors, so don't be afraid to get someone with dirt already on their name. It doesn't hurt to have your rancher peppered with either a criminal record or at least a slight connection to illegal activity before you throw them into the Yellowstone pot (don't worry, they'll be plenty more later, if they're too clean to start with). Said past will also return to haunt them, adding more spice to the whole experience. After a while, it'll be enriching when they finally move on with their life, or — if they're really lucky — evolve into the sort of person you can write a whole spin-off around. 

Tenderize at least once, with bare hands

So, you've pushed your potential new hire through the Dutton ranch gates, and they've signed the contract? Great. Now, it helps to get them accustomed to the routine way of life — that is, a work week that involves taking orders from cowboys that operate like the Corleone family and horses. Of course, in-between all that, your model Dutton employee must go through one essential process to reach peak Yellowstone quality — they need to be punched in the face, repeatedly. A good meal requires some moisture, after all.

This shouldn't be hard to achieve. Considering that your perfect employee already has tons of bottled-up aggression from their life before the bunkhouse, and things aren't going to get any cleaner from here, the first fight shouldn't take long to happen. Letting their anger out through a flurry of hard hits will help add extra texture, and will toughen up the recruit so they can endure life in Sheridan's stunning world of backstabbing and bucking broncos. It's a sign of strength, and assures they're not to be trifled with. 

The fight can take place in a local dive bar or open land. Whatever works best. For extra impact, have them get in a scrap with someone on the ranch. It might be a supposed unwritten rule among the workforce, but it'll get broken as many times as some of the ranchhands' noses have. Also, feel free to let Rip get involved, as he'll fight them all day.

Combine with criminal activity that is totally unnecessary

By now, your Dutton employee will be fully absorbed in the ways of Yellowstone. Good for them! They'll be one of the gang that knows just as well as the rest how to keep an eye out for stragglers in the herd, or can spot someone "not from around these parts" (make sure they spit on the floor after if they say that). Unfortunately, by signing up with this ranch, they're also roped into the finer details that other workplaces would probably try and avoid. Specifically, that means getting involved in a host of illegal elements, some of which aren't even requested by management most of the time.

From blowing up a meth lab with its crew still inside, to unloading a live bull into a bar to lure out its patrons, there are plenty of unsavory deeds to partake in that will help season your model employee for the better. This may be a fairly dangerous way of team building, but in truth, these minor elements make for a mighty fine rancher. However, if you want to get a lasting impact with this new hire — and have them reach revered status — there's no better way than sending them to the train station, to add that choo choo-y texture.

Wrap with at least one murder

Mixing things up in "Yellowstone" is always good, but don't be afraid to apply the extra sauce to make your rancher last. To do that, simply have them commit a murder. 

It might sound like a big ask, but you can find an opportunity to kill somebody just about anywhere in this show. By now, they'll have already partaken in such basic, everyday tasks as fending off an opposing force that's rolled into town, or being part of a standoff following a fence being cut. The chances of killing someone are pretty high. If you're really struggling, though, have your employee enroll as a Livestock Agent and increase their chances of shooting someone in no time at all.

Should the model employee take down a henchman or two in a situation that has no reason to occur in the first place, be sure to dispose of the remains carefully — that is, at the train station. If assistance is required, have an experienced aid like Rip or Lloyd help. Don't worry about making too much of a mess, as it'll all be forgotten in an episode or two. Now, all that's left is to sear in that signature flavor.

Apply grill for a golden finish

By now, our model "Yellowstone" employee has taken a beating and given some out, potentially getting their hands bloody. All that's left now is to seal in those smoky flavors with an additional (painful) flourish. Is it necessary? Absolutely not. Does it make your character way cooler for embracing this super-scorched addition? Certainly. After all, they wouldn't be a true Dutton ranch worker without it, now would they?

Like McDonald's secret sauce or KFC gravy, a true Yellowstone employee just can't be without the cult-like addition of the Dutton brand mark. While other workplaces give their new additions an official badge after their first-month review, these guys get an iconic "Y" seared into their chest to prove they're extra tough. Unfortunately, it also means that there's a no returns policy — from here on out, they're stuck on that ranch, until they die with their cowboy boots on. 

And there you have it, the perfect Yellowstone employee that will (according to Rip) live and die on the ranch ... even though one left and came back, and another has gone to star in spin-off series that'll have people questioning why he didn't just get a tattoo instead. Never mind all that. Looks badass, right? And there's nothing like completing the perfect meal with the perfect final touch.