Before “Yellowstone” hit big, several of its stars made a name for themselves elsewhere, including two actors who appeared on the FX show “Justified.”
Fans of “Yellowstone” recognize Neal McDonough as Malcolm Beck. He and his corrupt brother kidnapped Tate and tried to take down the Duttons in Season 2 of the Paramount Network show. But a few years before that, McDonough starred as another villain on “Justified.”
He played Robert Quarles, a Detroit-based lieutenant for the Tonin crime family. Once the Tonins turned their backs on Quarles, he went to Kentucky to get a fresh start. While there, he murdered several people and attempted to extort money from Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant). Givens confronted him and Quarles died in the fight. But he spent 12 episodes of Season 3 giving the U.S. Marshal hell and playing a sadistic protagonist.
McDonough seems to excel at the villain role, whether it’s for “Yellowstone,” “Justified,” or another hit series. This is likely because he doesn’t get many leading roles since he refuses to be physically intimate with any co-stars. McDonough is steadfastly dedicated to his wife and will only be intimate with her, not a co-star.
But McDonough isn’t the only one from the “Yellowstone” universe to appear in the FX show. Believe it or not, a mustache-less Sam Elliott was also featured in 12 episodes of “Justified.”
Here’s Who Sam Elliott Played on ‘Justified’
Sam Elliott recently made waves as Shea Brennan on the prequel series “1883” by Taylor Sheridan. Elliott’s performance in the historical western was top notch as always, especially because of Shea’s conflicted character. It caused Sheridan to put Elliott’s name in for Emmy consideration under the Lead Actor in a Limited Series category.
But before Sheridan even considered Elliott for a role in the “Yellowstone” prequel, the cowboy first starred in “Justified” as Avery Markham. Like McDonough, Elliott’s character is a villain in the series, specifically in the final season.
Markham is a Kentucky gangster who returns from exile with cash to spend and an army to take what he wants. He specifically wants to buy up a bunch of land to start growing weed in Kentucky. But when homeowners don’t give in to his demands, he starts killing him. That’s when Raylan Givens steps in. The two go head to head at several points in the season, but Markham eventually dies in a shoutout at the end of Season 6.
Both Elliott and McDonough’s characters dying made sense at the time. But now, knowing that “Justified” got a spin-off series, a small part of me wishes one of them had lived so we could see them come back and raise hell for Givens once again. But we’re sure to meet more fantastic villains in “Justified: City Primeval.”