But it was no easy process to get there. Bryant truly went the distance to ensure the Hollywood icon had the exact look as Jacob Dutton that Yellowstone mastermind Taylor Sheridan was looking for. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more iconic pairing than Harrison Ford in a Dutton period Western, so Sheridan, Bryant, and Ford were all meticulous in this decision.
“Taylor is also very specific about the kind of hat that he likes, too. There was a lot of collaboration with Taylor, with Harrison, and myself, to create what I call the ‘Jacob,'” Bryant told Variety on 1923‘s red carpet earlier this week.
“We made so many for him. All the different colors — trying the different creases, the different brims, the different crown heights,” she continued. In fact, it took a solid 75 separate hats being created, fitted, then costumed on Ford to settle on the perfect cowboy hat for Jacob Dutton.
“It’s all about his hat,” after all, Bryant emphasized. And she’s right. While a cowboys boots can be just as iconic, nothing catches the eye – or says more about a Western character – than their hat. Traditionally, bad guys are the black hats of a feature, and our heroes white hats. “The Jacob” is a bone white with a tall crown in kind, signaling Ford’s status as the protagonist – and powerful patriarch – of 1923‘s time.
‘1923’ Continues Taylor Sheridan Characters’ Expression of ‘Self’ Through Cowboy Hats
But Sheridan, the architect behind the Dutton legacy, excels at writing characters that rest in the land between black and white hats. Which is, surely, why we see a whole lot of brown brims in Yellowstone proper. It’s possibly the reason we haven’t seen Kevin Costner‘s John Dutton wearing a white cowboy on Yellowstone hat in seasons, too.
“In American Western films between the 1920’s and 40’s, white hats and black hats were used to symbolize good versus evil,” Greely Hat Works (crafter of all Yellowstone cowboy hats) cites of the tradition. Audiences of the time could immediately distinguish between heroes and villains within black and white films as a result.
Ask any Yellowstone fan, however, and they’ll be quick to tell you that she show doesn’t hold fast or true to this old rule. In fact, it does the opposite in many cases – and for a fascinating reason.
Throughout, Yellowstone uses the Dark vs Light Cowboy Hat tradition to signify a character’s own self-reflection, rather than to signify how the audience should perceive them.
The most fascinating example of this is Costner’s John, who sports all lighter cowboy hats in early seasons (and flashbacks with Josh Lucas in the role). By Season 3, and continuing on into 4 and 5, we never see John Dutton wearing a light cowboy hat again.
As for Ford’s ancestor, it’ll be a curious venture to watch his hat over the course of 1923‘s two seasons. His Duttons will “struggle to survive historic drought, lawlessness and prohibition, and an epidemic of cattle theft; all battled beneath the cloud of Montana’s great depression, which preceded the nation by almost a decade.”
And with all that land to protect, Jacob Dutton may finally give up his white hat. 1923 premieres on Paramount+ this December 18.