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Why the cast of Yellowstone looks so familiar

Paramount Network's electrifying neo-Western saga Yellowstone has gone from a little extended cable series with a big name star to a ratings powerhouse that ranks among the most watched shows on television. And it's done so by delivering a singular brand of primetime melodrama, with series creator Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water, and Wind River) telling an epic tale of a ranching family fighting to keep their land and wrapping it up in a veritable spider's web of political intrigue and classic Western mythos.

Simply put, there's nothing else on television at the moment quite like Yellowstone. But while the story is incredible and the action is bloody, there can be little question that the series' obscenely talented cast is a big part of what keeps its viewership numbers steadily on the rise. However, most of the people in the series aren't exactly A-list stars, but nevertheless, they've worked on some pretty high-profile movies and TV shows. So if there's a particular face that you know you've seen before, well, here's why the cast of Yellowstone looks so familiar.

(Be warned, there are spoilers below.)

Kevin Costner is a Hollywood legend

Okay, so if there is one name on this list that you know — and really should know — it's that of Kevin Costner. He is, after all, one of the most respected and revered actors in Hollywood, and has seen boundless success on both sides of the camera over his near four-decade career. While his work as Yellowstone's steely-eyed and hard-hearted paterfamilias John Dutton is translating to a fresh wave of small screen success, Costner remains a bona fide movie star. After all, he's appeared in a handful of legit iconic films, such as The Untouchables, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, and JFK among them.

Just FYI, Costner is hardly a stranger to the Western genre either, having already saddled up for a handful of big screen cowboy classics like Silverado, Wyatt Earp, Open Range, and his Best Picture-winning Western opus Dances With Wolves. That being said, we're fully aware that Costner is probably best known among viewers with at least a little bit of grey in their hair. So for all of you youngsters out there who've never shared a beer and a tear with your dad while watching Field of Dreams, it's entirely likely you know Mr. Costner from his work as Jonathan Kent in the DCEU's Man of Steel.

You've seen Kelly Reilly in some high-profile projects

Hopefully, you're at least mildly familiar with Kelly Reilly's face because she's one of those actors who's been perpetually on the fringe of a big-time Hollywood breakout for a while now. That her breakout hasn't come yet is all but criminal at this point. Fortunately, Reilly has managed to build a career as a scene-stealing supporting player in recent years. 

With any luck, Reilly's razor-sharp work as the lone female Dutton sibling will help her get the attention of a few more producers who recognize a commanding screen presence when they see it. And yes, Reilly's work as the fiery Beth Dutton is the very definition of commanding, with the actor bringing serious weight to a fascinatingly duplicitous character who would feel equally at home in a Shakespearean tragedy as she does among the Big Sky melodrama of Yellowstone.

If you're having trouble figuring out exactly where you've seen Reilly's face before, fans of HBO's detective drama True Detective will almost certainly recognize her from her season two turn as the Lady Macbeth-like wife of Vince Vaughan's fading tough-guy crime lord. But if you checked out on of True Detective after the first season — and we know many of you did — it's probable you know Reilly from her work as Mary to Jude Law's Watson in the first two installments of the Sherlock Holmes franchise or as the venom-spewing Caroline Bingley in Joe Wright's pitch-perfect 2006 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice.

Luke Grimes starred in a very different type of TV show before Yellowstone

When it comes to actors you should probably be way more familiar with, say hello to Mr. Luke Grimes. On Yellowstone, you know him as Dutton Ranch foreman, devoted father, and ex-Navy SEAL Kayce, but in reality, he's another one of those perpetually "on the fringe of a breakout performers" who too often find themselves relegated to the role of side character.

Unlike many of those long-time supporting players, Luke Grimes is still at a relatively early stage in his career — though it certainly seems like he's been around longer than he has. So while we're sure that certain Yellowstone fans have taken full notice of Grimes' roguish looks and hardened glare, we're guessing many of you still aren't entirely sure where you've seen them both before.

Grimes actually made his screen debut back in 2006, when he appeared in Jonathan Levine's breakout horror flick All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. A couple of years later, Grimes made his small-screen debut with a season-long run on ABC's family drama Brothers and Sisters, but most of you will likely remember Grimes for his memorable six-episode arc as the kind-hearted bloodsucker James Kent on HBO's True Blood.

Wes Bentley made his name in an Oscar-winning film

For fans of 1999's acerbic Best Picture winner American Beauty, Wes Bentley certainly needs no introduction as he's all but instantly recognizable as the drug dealing, plastic bag-adoring, would-be filmmaker Ricky Fitts. Of course, if you missed out on that millennium-ending gem and somehow haven't stumbled upon it in the past 20 years, Bently may be a bit more of an enigma.

As it turns out, that description suits him quite well, and it suits his murderous Yellowstone alter ego equally well. On the show, Bentley plays one of the elder Dutton brothers, Jamie, and he currently serves as the Duttons' personal attorney (and sometimes ranch hand). Like several of the Dutton kids, Jamie has often found himself in tragically choppy waters, even teetering on the edge of suicide in the wake of some seriously troubling actions.

As for Wes Bentley, he had a few troubles of his own throughout the early 2000s, as he secretly battled addiction, and he was largely non-visible after his American Beauty breakout. Luckily, the talented actor got his act together in the new decade, delivering memorable performances in The Hunger Games, Welcome To Me, Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, and Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups. If you missed him in those films, you probably remember Bentley for his various turns on Ryan Murphy's beloved horror anthology series American Horror Story.

Cole Hauser has always kept pretty busy

While the sprawling Yellowstone narrative has made clear that the Dutton clan is no stranger to tragedy, the Dutton's adoptive family member Rip Wheeler may be the most tragic figure of them all. Played by Cole Hauser with a visceral air of stoic, introverted intensity, Wheeler is a survivor of childhood abuse who put a bullet in his own father after the ruthless drunk took the lives of the youngster's mother and brother. Trauma like that obviously left the young Rip with swathe of unchecked emotional issues — issues that the Duttons have made ample use of after adopting Rip and bringing him into the fold.

If you're still trying to figure out where you've seen Hauser, well, there's at least a half dozen or so movies and TV shows you've seen him in before. If you're a fan of '90s classic Dazed and Confused, you know him as the true-hearted football player Benny. If that's not the case, you probably noticed Hauser as Matt Damon's strong and silent running buddy Billy in Good Will Hunting or perhaps as the backstabbing law man in the sci-fi classic Pitch Black. Or maybe you remember him as the villainous Carter Verone in 2 Fast 2 Furious, bad boy Steve Curtis from E.R., or as Pinkerton Charlie Siringo in the short-lived Lifetime drama series The Lizzie Borden Chronicles.

If you're a CW fan, you've definitely seen Kelsey Asbille before

Of all the central players that currently occupy the screen on Yellowstone, we'd bet that Kelsey Asbille's is one of the least known. On the show, she plays Monica Dutton, wife to Luke Grimes' Kayce Dutton — a status that's more than a little complicated due to her direct relations to ancestors and elders of the Broken Rock Indian Reservation. Fans of Yellowstone will need no more backstory than that, as the Broken Rock Res shares a border with the Dutton Yellowstone Ranch, and it's regularly in direct conflict with John Dutton and his clan about who rightfully owns the land that said ranch occupies.

While Asbille continues to play her part of "strong but endlessly stuck in the middle" to a T on Yellowstone, the actor is delivering what may well go down as her breakout performance. However, we think she should've had that breakout moment long before now. After all, she's given some pretty fantastic performances before Yellowstone, like her 18-episode stint as Gigi on the CW's One Tree Hill. And she followed that stretch a few years later with a winning, 13-episode run on MTV's Teen Wolf. Of course, Asbille was already on the radar of Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan after her heartbreaking turn as Natalie in Sheridan's marvelous 2017 indie Wind River.

Danny Huston is one of the all-time great character actors

Historically speaking, the term "character actor" has been applied to career supporting players who best serve a story by disappearing into virtually any role and making a fully three-dimensional figure of them. And if you're at all familiar with the decades-spanning career of Danny Huston, then you already know that the term "character actor" was basically invented for him. If you're not, then we'd recommend you sit down and immediately watch The Proposition, Children of Men, The Constant Gardener, 30 Days of NightWonder Woman, seasons three and four of American Horror Story, and the first two seasons of HBO's Succession.

Or you could just see the sublimely talented actor as Dan Jenkins on Yellowstone. And yes, Danny Huston's work as the greedy land developer has been nothing short of transfixing, with the actor imbuing his character with surprising humanity, even as Jenkins is regularly driven by insatiable greed and a power-grabbing hubris that's too often led him into the realm of morally compromised, if not down right villainous. In short, Huston's work on Yellowstone is exactly the sort we've come to expect from one of cinema's finest character actors.

Gil Birmingham has made a solid career out of supporting roles

Yellowstone certainly has no shortage of devious politico sorts, but few of the series' politicos have been quite as shifty as the current chairman of the Confederated Tribes of Broken Rock and warden of the Broken Rock Reservation, Mr. Thomas Rainwater. In fact, over the course of the show, Rainwater has proven a most formidable foe to the Dutton clan's Yellowstone legacy, not to mention the land that the Dutton's claim as their own. 

If you're wondering where you've seen the actor who portrays Thomas Rainwater, well, the options are almost too numerous to count because Gil Birmingham has been busy, busy, busy over the past couple of decades. Still, odds are you remember Birmingham from his brief arc on the original run of Veronica Mars or for his turn as Billy Black in the Twilight saga. If that's not the case, it's possible you recall Birmingham from a tense, four-episode arc on Netflix's House of Cards. And if you missed Birmingham in those projects, it's entirely likely you remember the actor from his quippy work as Jeff Bridges' second-in-command in the Taylor Sheridan-penned Hell or High Water or his emotionally devastating turn as the grieving father in Sheridan's Wind River.

Neal McDonough is a guy who's been in everything

When it comes to Yellowstone's formidable foes, few have proven quite as driven or as ruthless as Neal McDonough's Malcolm Beck. Though Beck featured in just six of the series' 19 episodes, the character (along with his brother, Teal) has cast quite a long shadow over the narrative, involving himself in the matters relating to both the Yellowstone Ranch and the casino planned by Thomas Rainwater and Dan Jenkins. Point of fact, Beck emerged as the series' true big bad in the second season, and after a couple of particularly brutal messages passed between John Dutton and the Beck brothers, the Duttons ultimately put matters to bed in true Wild West fashion in Yellowstone's second season finale.

As for why Neal McDonough's distinctive face looks so familiar, it's because he's been involved in about a billion different film and television projects over the past three decades. McDonough actually made his screen debut with a brief appearance in Sam Raimi's Darkman, but he didn't find his breakout role until his turn as Buck Compton in HBO's landmark World War II series Band of Brothers. As mentioned, he's been working steadily ever since, delivering more than memorable work in movies like Minority Report, Flags of Our Fathers, and Captain America: The First Avenger, not to mention TV series like Justified, Arrow, and Suits

You can watch Ryan Bingham in Yellowstone or hear him on the radio

If you're at all familiar with the name Ryan Bingham, it's because he's a prolific songwriter who's halfway to becoming one of those rare performers who's won an EGOT. After all, he took home a Grammy and an Oscar for co-writing the song "The Weary Kind" with T Bone Burnett for the 2009 Jeff Brides film Crazy Heart. And if you know Bingham's voice, it's likely because you've heard it on the radio or in a coffee house sometime in the past decade-plus, as the singer has released six albums of original, Americana-tinged material.

Still not sure where you've seen Ryan Bingham's face before? It's probable you saw him performing some good, old-fashioned music on television in the past decade. But most likely, you simply know him as Walker the singing bunkhouse boy in Yellowstone. If that's not the case, you may well recognize Bingham's face from his cameo in Crazy Heart or from his surprisingly solid work in the grossly underrated 2017 Western Hostiles, where he shared the screen with the likes of Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Ben Foster, and Jesse Plemons.

If you've ever watched TV, you've definitely seen Ian Bohen

While he can't belt out a tune with the same fervor as his bunkhouse partner, Walter, Ryan is a steadfast cowpoke who's been featured pretty prominently in Yellowstone. He's even gotten a little red in his ledger thanks to the ever-escalating violence that regularly finds its way to the Dutton Yellowstone Ranch, although he'd probably rather spend his days cutting cards and swapping stories with his ranch hand buddies.

And yes, you've absolutely seen the face of the actor who portrays Ryan on Yellowstone before. His name is Ian Bohen, and he's actually been acting since an early age, appearing in films and TV series throughout the '90s and 2000s. In a truly meta turn of events, Bohen even portrayed a younger version of Kevin Costner in the underrated 1994 Western Wyatt Earp. Bohen has kept quite busy in the years since, though his work has largely been of the supporting nature. Still, the actor has landed regular spots on the likes of Mad Men, Chicago P.D., and MTV's Teen Wolf. However, most folks will recognize him for his turn as one of the dastardly roughnecks desperate to cover up a vile crime in Taylor Sheridan's Wind River.

Josh Lucas is an incredibly familiar face

With a mix of classic good looks and an easygoing swagger, Josh Lucas is one of those actors that many insiders pegged for superstardom when he came on the scene in the '90s. Surprisingly, that's continued to elude Josh Lucas, not that he's been hurting for work in the past couple of decades. Point of fact, the actor's dashing looks and singular charm alone have landed him quite a few gigs over the years. They're almost certainly what led Taylor Sheridan to cast him as the young John Dutton for Yellowstone's flashback scenes.

If you're struggling to figure where you've seen Lucas' face before, it's basically been a mainstay on the big screen over the years, with the actor particularly standing out as Reese Witherspoon's down-home paramour Jake in Sweet Home Alabama, Russell Crowe's rival in A Beautiful Mind, and a dedicated basketball coach in the 2006 racial drama Glory Road. Lucas can also be seen sharing the screen with Matt Damon and Christian Bale in the race car drama Ford v. Ferrari. But if you want to see Josh Lucas at his absolute best, we'd advise you to check him out in David Gordon Green's tragically underrated Southern Gothic gem Undertow.

Gretchen Mol has been giving great performances since the '90s

While Gertchen Mol shows up in Yellowstone's flashback scenes, she isn't playing a younger version of any particular character. Why's that? Well, it's because her Evelyn Dutton met a tragic demise relatively early in life, one that widowed John and left him to raise the Dutton children more or less on his own. Of course, Yellowstone fans are well aware that hasn't always gone well for the Dutton kids (or John, for that matter).

Either way, if you're confident you've seen Mol's face before, it's because you almost certainly have. Gretchen Mol is one of those actors who's seemingly been on the cusp of stardom since the '90s, where she first earned strong notices for supporting turns in Donnie Brasco, Rounders, and Cradle Will Rock (in which she portrayed screen icon Marion Davies). A few years later, Mol would earn the best reviews of her career for portraying a different sort of icon in The Notorious Bettie Page, and she recently delivered standout work in the Oscar-winning film Manchester by the Sea. If you missed Mol in any of those projects, you probably recognize her from her work on HBO's gangster series Boardwalk Empire or as the union lawyer Nina Robertson on Amazon's music dramedy Mozart in the Jungle.

Before Yellowstone, Michaela Conlin was most famous for a certain crime show

As if the Dutton's didn't have enough going on via the constant raging battle to keep hold of their coveted land, their lives got even more complicated when reporter Sarah Nguyen started digging into matters regarding the proprietorship of their property. Sadly, Sarah's digging into the Dutton's affairs led to a tragic end for the erstwhile reporter, which meant a short-lived run for the actor who portrayed her for five episodes on Yellowstone.

That actor is Michaela Conlin, and if you know her face from anywhere, it's likely from her 12-season run as Angela Montenegro — aka a key member of the forensic team that solved untold numbers of gruesome murders on Fox's long-running crime dramedy Bones. But just in case you've somehow never seen a single episode of Bones, Conlin also appeared in Amy Adams' 2007 musical breakout Enchanted (she was May), Matthew McConaughey's 2011 legal drama The Lincoln Lawyer (she was Detective Sobel), and the 2016 haunted house creeper The Disappointments Room (where she played Kate Beckinsale's friend, Jules). Though she doesn't have a ton of credits to her name, Michaela Conlin is one of those actors we sincerely wish would work more. Here's hoping she's got some prime gigs on the horizon.