‘Yellowstone’ Season 5: Gil Birmingham Discusses Rainwater’s ‘Curveball’ Rivalry with John Dutton

by Shelby Scott
(L-R) Kelsey Asbille as Monica Dutton and Gil Birmingham as Thomas Rainwater. Photo Courtesy Paramount Network.

In past seasons of Yellowstone, we’ve seen Kevin Costner‘s John Dutton unite against a common enemy alongside Tribal Chairman Thomas Rainwater, played by actor Gil Birmingham. However, things have begun to change as the dynamite season five trailer revealed that John is voted in as governor of Montana. With that new development, Birmingham says Rainwater locks into a “curveball” rivalry with the Dutton Ranch patriarch.

“This season throws a curveball for Thomas,” the Yellowstone star recently revealed. “John’s acquiring leverage and makes decisions with major repercussions for Rainwater.”

Yellowstone spends a lot of time exploring the stories and struggles of the Native American community. But Rainwater and his tribe definitely take a backseat to the constant drama sparked by the Dutton family. That said, across four seasons, fans have become familiar with Rainwater as a self-assured, confident yet always careful individual.

This season though, the Yellowstone star revealed that that steady demeanor begins to crumble.

“He becomes more rattled,” Birmingham explained. “He has a new opponent on the reservation trying to undermine his position.”

Further, the actor revealed Rainwater, like many of the characters this season, will be faced with a “difficult choice.”

Ultimately, we finally see who Rainwater allies himself. But given his complicated status as a Native American tribal leader and politician, the choice promises consequences no matter what.

Still, Yellowstone fans can take solace in one thing.

“The good news,” Birmingham teased, is “[Rainwater] still has his right-hand man, Mo,” who is played by actor and activist Mo Brings Plenty. Brings Plenty, after a long four years, has finally been promoted to a series regular.

Rip Wheeler Under Immense Pressure in ‘Yellowstone’ Season 5

Less than two weeks remain until the two-hour season premiere of Yellowstone debuts. And with the new teasers, we’re finally getting hints about some of the answers we’ve spent months waiting for. Now, we know for certain that Thomas Rainwater is under immense pressure with John Dutton as governor. But he’s hardly the only one.

During a recent sit-down with the TODAY show’s Savannah Guthrie and Carson Daly, Rip Wheeler actor Cole Hauser shared how his own character faces a lot of new pressure this season. More than anything, it has to do with his significantly growing role on and contributions to the ranch.

“I think he’s not so much worried,” Hauser said of his Yellowstone character, but “there’s a lot more pressure on him to, you know, take responsibility as the foreman of the ranch.”

Rip’s new wife Beth also teased just how rarely John will actually be involved with goings-on at the ranch during the show’s newest teaser.

“When’s he coming back?” Rip asks of his boss and father figure. “Mm, four years?” Beth sarcastically replies.

That exchange alone, and Rip’s reaction to Beth’s answer, reveals just how much stress Cole Hauser’s character is under and where John’s priorities lie in the new season.