Luke Grimes Talks ‘Yellowstone’s Authenticity and Representing American Ranchers

by Jon D. B.
Luke Grimes in Kayce Dutton's iconic Yellowstone jacket, Season 4. (Photo credit: Paramount Network Press)

“Without them doing it, then we wouldn’t eat,” offers Yellowstone‘s own Kayce Dutton, Luke Grimes, in his latest interview. And he’s right. Whether popular culture at large chooses to acknowledge it or not, America (and the entire planet) are completely held up by agriculture. And there’s wrong and right ways to ranch, farm, and everything in-between, sure. But when it comes to Yellowstone, the cast has become spokespersons for ranchers; cattle ranchers and horse breeders, specifically.

When this sort of vehicle catapults an actor to household name status as it has Luke Grimes, then it comes to define their life, too. Whether they like it or not. Thankfully, the 38-year-old talent behind Kayce Dutton doesn’t just like it, he loves it. So much so that he and his wife, Bianca, uprooted their entire life to move out into the Montana wilderness to experience their own version of the Yellowstone way of life.

‘Where does it come from and how hard is that way of life?’

“It’s so much about, obviously, the cattle ranching culture, what really goes into that and the fact that it’s still very alive and well,” Grimes begins of Yellowstone‘s heart for Gear Patrol. “When you live in a place like LA, you don’t really consider where all of your food is coming from and your meat. And with these things that you can now just push a button and they show up to your door, it’s easy to forget where that all starts.”

For most people, “You just kind of imagine people making it in the kitchen somewhere,” Grimes continues of the foods on our plates. “But, keep going: where does it come from and how hard is that way of life?”

Luke Grimes as Kayce Dutton in Yellowstone. (Image by Paramount+/Paramount Network)

Chiefly, Kayce has taught Luke that this lifestyle is “impossibly tough. And people still do it and without them doing it, then we wouldn’t eat. And so it’s taught me a new appreciation for ranching and farming communities and people who do that for a living.”

Modern day cowboys, ranchers, rodeo champs, and everyone in-between are now have television’s #1 show on their side thanks to Yellowstone. It’s a shift America hasn’t seen since the golden age of television, when Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and a hundred copycats dominated airwaves. But even then, the majority of Westerns were period pieces, as the genre is defined. The key difference with Yellowstone – and the majority of Taylor Sheridan‘s work – is its firm roots in the present. That’s what makes all the difference for America’s agricultural heart.

‘Yellowstone’ Taught Luke Grimes to Appreciate Rodeo, Horse Shows: ‘My mind is blown’

“I didn’t realize how alive and well rodeos were, and horse shows and all these things,” Grimes continues; confirming his pre-Kayce-Dutton self as one of millions of Americans that assumed the lives Yellowstone showcases were/are relics of the past.

“My mind is blown. This is a big, big, big world out there, and such a lifestyle for people. I just hadn’t seen it in a long time,” he says. “And now obviously, living in Montana, it’s all around me. And, the whole aesthetic of it, and the whole world of it, has become something that I love. I really, genuinely appreciate and love that world now.”

Part of that appreciation stems from how “very different” his day-today life is now. “It was hard in LA for me to not be distracted. To remember what life is about in its simplest way,” the Yellowstone star says. “But In Montana, it’s really hard to forget that. You’re a lot less distracted and your days become more about what you want your days to be about.”

Luke Grimes returns as Kayce Dutton in Yellowstone Season 5 this November 13, exclusively on Paramount Network. For more from Grimes ahead of the premiere, hear him reveal The Story Behind Kayce Dutton’s Iconic Jacket next.