Spoilers below for the two-episode Season 4 premiere for Paramount Network’s Yellowstone, so be warned if you haven’t yet watched.
Of all the major reveals and character updates that Yellowstone finally gave fans with Season 4’s doubled-up premiere, I think many would agree the biggest one involved Kevin Costner’s John Dutton surviving the ambush shooting thanks in large part to the life-extending actions of Cole Hauser’s Rip Wheeler. Not that Rip hasn’t saved John’s hide a time or two in the past, but it was never with such immediacy and sky-high stakes. In recovering from the orchestrated attack, John is recognizing his new lease on life, and between that and Rip’s new sense of fatherdom with Kelly Reilly’s TV GOAT Beth, Yellowstone‘s toughest cowboys have been full of smiles in Season 4 so far, relatively speaking.
During CinemaBlend’s interview with Cole Hauser ahead of Season 4’s premiere, I asked the Yellowstone star if it was possible Rip and John might find more happiness going forward. And in his answer, also seen in the video above, Hauser gave co-star Kevin Costner praise while also teasing a closer kinship in future episodes.
Of course, Cole Hauser couldn’t get mired down in spoilery details regarding what’s on the way after the first two episodes. But he clearly believes that Rip and John’s relationship has evolved a bit in Season 4, and I’d bet money on John’s life-threatening crisis being a factor in why the characters generated a more close-knit bond. Not the kind of money it would cost to buy one of Travis’ horses, mind you, but maybe enough to rent one of its mane hairs.
Even beyond John now owing his general existence to Rip, I think there’s a chance Rip might find deeper connections into John’s psyche by way of Finn Little’s Carter. With the ne’er-do-well teen appearing to be a carbon copy of Rip Wheeler as a pissed-off youngster, Cole Hauser’s ranch hand is ostensibly in the same headspace that John was in whenever he took Rip in. Even though Carter’s father seemingly died due to drug-related reasons, and not having his head bashed in by his son holding a frying pan. So Carter and Rip aren’t exactly squared up, but it’ll be interesting to see if he can attain the level of understanding and acceptance that John did when Rip was himself undeserving of any helping hands.
As any and all Yellowstone fans know, few fictional characters have a shorter fuse than Rip Wheeler, who can go from warm embraces to mass executions in the time it would take me to figure out whether my hat was on the right way or not. (Seriously, he pulls off one move in Episode 403 that had me howling.) So I had to ask Cole Hauser about being able to tap into those pockets of rage while filming Yellowstone, and he answered with:
So it sounds like Cole Hauser uses the real-life temper flares of co-creator Taylor Sheridan as his muse, as opposed to suffering an overflow of rage himself. That’s probably for the best, for everyone. I would 100% hate to be an actor in a scene with a legitimately enraged Hauser. While it didn’t make my list of the Season 4 premiere’s best lines, Rip’s cigarette-inspired threat to Carter — “It’ll be the last fuckin’ thing you do” — was enough to make me want to apologize to the TV, and he was just barely approaching “seething.”
For a taste of what’s coming soon in Season 4, check out the extended look-ahead trailer released by Paramount Network!
Yellowstone Season 4 airs new episodes every Sunday night on Paramount Network at 8:00 p.m. ET. To see when Taylor Sheridan’s other shows Mayor of Kingstown and Tim McGraw’s spinoff prequel 1883 and more will debut, head to our 2021 Fall TV schedule!
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn’t sound like that’s the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.