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Why Fans Are Concerned About Rip's Finances On Yellowstone

Contains spoilers for Yellowstone

If you had to pick, what would you choose as the most shocking moment of the Yellowstone season 3 finale? Would it be one of the multiple assassination attempts against Dutton family? What about Beth (Kelly Reilly) tanking Market Equities' deal by planting a workplace misconduct story about Willa (Karen Pittman)? Or Angela Blue Thunder (Q'orianka Kilcher) trying to convince Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) to murder John Dutton (Kevin Costner)? There are lots of wild moments to chose from, but one would be remiss if they didn't give a special mention to the scene in which Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) exhumes his own mother's corpse in order to tear her wedding ring off her decomposed finger.

Some might argue that there was some sweetness baked into this macabre plan, but seriously, he dug up his mother's casket, opened it, and removed jewelry from her corpse. Meaningful gesture or not, it was a pretty jaw-dropping moment in an episode full of them. And it got many Yellowstone enthusiasts wondering one thing: Why didn't Rip just buy Beth her own ring? You know, one that he didn't steal from a dead body? One Reddit user was so taken aback by Rip's refusal to buy Beth a ring that they decided to try and get to the bottom of the ranch hand's finances.

How much money do the ranch hands actually make on Yellowstone?

In a thread titled "What does Rip do with his money?", Reddit user u/harmandmacforever extensively broke down the character's finances in an attempt to answer the titular question, and to determine if that had something to do with why he resorted to a grim hand-me-down for a wedding ring.

They began by examining Rip's earning potential: "In the show, they mention wranglers earning $400 per week plus room and board." Then, they took into account the taxes and other regular costs that would eat away at Rip's gross income. With Rip, that actually isn't much, as u/harmandmacforever notes: "Rip pays nothing for his lodging, food, gas, or medical/dental expenses, and he does not own a vehicle, personal horse or tack, or significant possessions of any kind aside from a few (several?) weapons, his clothing, and maybe some sentimental items."

After crunching the numbers, u/harmandmacforever determined that Rip makes about $15,800 per year. From there, they did some more accounting — calculating his total take-home income from the start of his tenure at Yellowstone Ranch to the present day, which worked out to a net income of $268,600. After subtracting obvious and estimated expenses, they arrived at the conclusion that Rip should have a sizable sum of cash at his disposal: "Rip's total for his expenses comes to $167,800...If my simple math figures correctly, he should be sitting on $100,800."

Of course, that's just a very rough estimate. However, even factoring in some room for error, it still demonstrates that Rip should at least have some money set aside somewhere for an expense such as a wedding ring.

Where is all of Rip's money going?

After u/harmandmacforever's extensive forensic accounting job on Rip's finances, other users chimed in to offer their own theories as to why he might have been lacking the funds to afford a ring that he didn't steal from a grave.

One aspect of Rip's lifestyle that was called into question is the fact that he's an avid outdoorsman. Although his outward appearance is rough around the edges, the gear required to ride horses and shoot guns isn't cheap. Taking a look at Rip's apparel, Redditor u/oh-captain-mycaptain noted, "Those are $1000 spurs without the straps. Nice gear."

Another possible contributing factor is booze. It's no secret that many of the characters on Yellowstone have a heavy hand when they pour a drink (ahem, Beth). Even though keeping the liquor cabinet stocked doesn't seem like too crazy of an extravagance, it's the type of thing that can really add up over the years. User u/authorpics said of u/harmandmacforever's original expenses calculation, "I think the gun and alcohol numbers are too low."

User u/oh-captain-mycaptain chimed in again to agree with this assessment, and offered some first-hand observation: "This. Most of the real life working cowboys I know will drink a 6 to 12 pack easy in an evening...Plus whiskey gets spendy too."

Several users thought the issue of finances was a moot point. Redditor u/CCJennings020 summed up their sentiments by positing, "I think that he just wanted his mother's ring for Beth, because he wanted something...more special than just another ring from a jewelry store."

Even if the tomb-raiding was out of sentiment and not financial necessity, we're glad the question provided the opportunity to look under the hood of Rip's finances.