‘Yellowstone’ Star Kevin Costner Used to Reinact Westerns with Family Dog As a Kid

by Thad Mitchell
(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Yellowstone star leading man Kevin Costner is a legend in the minds of most every western film and television buff.

Even with a lengthy career spanning several decades starring in western-style pieces, Yellowstone has taken Costner to new heights. The Paramount Network series is outrageously popular with a fan base that rivals most any television show in size.

You might find it surprising how Costner started training to act in westerns as a young boy. Speaking to a large audience at the 2019 Western Heritage Awards Ceremony, the Yellowstone star says the family pet is to thank for honing his western acting skills.

“I think I fought my dog every day after that movie,” he says to a round of laughter from the crowd. “Battle after battle, and he never did bite me.”

Yellowstone Star Says Family Pet Helped Shape Acting Skills

It isn’t a surprising revelation to Yellowstone fans or fans of Costner’s other works. He says he began the “rivalry” with his pet after seeing “How the West was Won.” That movie ended up putting Costner on a long and winding path that led to John Dutton.

“It started with the bad black-and-white Westerns that I would watch on TV with my father,” the Yellowstone star recalls. “I was probably 4 at the time, and I have no memory of the people who were in them. But what I do remember, however, was waiting for my father to leave the room, because as soon as he did I would be back up on the back of that couch, edging my way down the thin ridgeline. I was careful not to fall or to make any noise that would bring him or my mother back into the room.”

While young Costner played the western hero, it was his dog, a terrier, that unwittingly played the villain.

“I was stalking my poor dog below me,” he says. “He was unaware that he was the enemy and that I was about to pounce.”

In the absence of their favorite show, Yellowstone fans are getting their Kevin Costner fix by watching his other starring roles. The list of western theme movies and shows that Costner has appeared in is many. In addition to Yellowstone, there is “Dances with Wolves,” “Wyatt Earp” and “Silverado” just to name a few.

Yellowstone watchers are glad Costner’s pooch played along as we now have a Hollywood icon in a premier western series.