Kevin Costner Takes a Moment to Appreciate All the Badass Cowboys He’s Played… And You Should Too

by Jon D. B.
(Photo Credit: Yellowstone Gallery, Paramount Network Press Center, Viacom)

“I’ve been playing the cowboy for a long time,” says Kevin Costner Thursday. That he has, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

In the icon’s latest Throwback Thursday tweet, he’s asking fans: “Can you name all these characters?” For the average moviegoer, this is a stretch. Costner’s headlined a whole lot of movies. And from Dances With Wolves to Field of Dreams, a good many of them are considered classics. Yet if there’s anything the A-list actor will specifically go down in pop culture history for -it’s playing the cowboy.

Silverado. Wyatt Earp. Yellowstone. Open Range. There are perhaps the most iconic, true cowboy roles of Kevin Costner. They’re the answer to his Thursday prompt, too.

Below, Costner includes photos of his four leads from these films. They are (in order): Silverado’s Jake, Open Range‘s Charley Waite, Wyatt Earp of Wyatt Earp, and John Dutton of Yellowstone.

The tweet shows a good bit of Kevin Costner’s self-awareness, something that – if you’ve seen enough interviews with the actor – he’s an expert in. But it also showcases a remarkable career; one Costner is just as quick to tell you how grateful he is for.

For many Americans and especially us Outsiders, Costner embodies the spirit of the cowboy. He’s a man of less showmanship and more action. His sincerity and directness lend themselves to this; something that comes across in nearly every film he’s ever taken on. This is doubly true for his current work as John Dutton on Yellowstone.

From ‘Silverado’ to ‘Yellowstone’: Kevin Costner is Still America’s Cowboy

Way back in 1985, Costner would break onto the scene as Jake in Lawrence Kasdan’s Silverado. It carved a path for him in many ways; proving his worth as a bankable leading man while also cementing him as a Western actor. Both have served him well in the decades since, as we now know.

From Jake and his ragtag group of rapscallions, Costner’s next cited cowboy is good ol’ Charley Waite – a predecessor to Yellowstone patriarch John Dutton in many ways. The former gunslinger reignites his sharp-shooting ways after he and his cattle crew are threatened by a corrupt lawman, and the role really let Costner soar. He’s as dangerous as he is charming; a hallmark of Hollywood Kevin Costner moving forward.

Much has been written about his turn as Wyatt Earp, as well. The film wasn’t a critical success, but remains a favorite of Western/Costner fans. The latter certainly blame the former on Tombstone.

And then there’s John Dutton; a role that mashes together all the best of the actor’s storied career. As much as has been written on the full career of Kevin Costner – double that for Yellowstone. The show has become cable’s #1-watched drama, and continues to shape modern pop culture in big ways. The least of which has been the resurgence of the Western as a bankable household genre.

And there’s no risk in stating for all us Outsiders: we’re damn happy to still have Costner leading the cowboy charge all these years later.