‘Yellowstone’: Here’s How Kevin Costner and Neal McDonough Knew Each Other Before Paramount Series

by Jennifer Shea

On “Yellowstone,” Kevin Costner and Neal McDonough play bitter enemies. But in real life, they go back a ways.

From ‘The Guardian’ to ‘Yellowstone’

On the show, McDonough’s character, Malcolm Beck, is a particularly troublesome villain. In Season 2, he had Costner’s character, John Dutton, frantically scrambling to save his kidnapped grandson Tate (Brecken Merrill) and avenge his battered daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly). Dutton ultimately shot Beck. But then he tried to spare his life in a moment of calculated mercy.

However, before they crossed paths on “Yellowstone,” Costner and McDonough both starred in “The Guardian,” a film about a Coast Guard training school that also starred Ashton Kutcher. Costner played a teacher there and McDonough played a chief aviation survival technician.

The movie garnered mixed reviews. The Seattle Times offered faint praise: “Little about ‘The Guardian’ will surprise anyone from one scene to the next, though the ride is hardly unpleasant and the story is generous in scope.” The Philadelphia Inquirer lauded Costner, saying he was “low-key, stoic, and capable of a wry turn here or there.”

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle panned the film. The paper said it “has the feel of a Sunday feature in a newspaper more than a drama.” And the Orlando Sentinel said its better features “kind of get lost in the film’s excesses.”

Music On and Off the Set

According to the Aspen Times, the film was shot in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Costner and his bandmates from Modern West actually did some jamming on the set of the movie. And they even played a 45-minute set at a Shreveport sports bar one Sunday.

Modern West is still going strong, with plans to headline the 10th annual Outlaws & Legends Festival in Abilene, Texas this March. The festival takes place on March 19 and March 20.  

Festival organizers will be taking Covid-19 precautions, including requiring forehead temperature checks, face masks and social distancing.