Rip Wheeler is the hard-nosed, right-hand man of John Dutton. Not only did the patriarch adopt the Wheeler at a young age, but in a way, the Yellowstone ranch did too.
But with that being said, Rip Wheeler isn’t in-line to run the operation, even though John did acknowledge Wheeler’s years of dedication and gave him a small piece of the Dutton family property.
Only time will tell if the Dutton patriarch comes around and starts sizing up Rip to run the ranch. Until then, these are a few of the reasons that Rip Wheeler would be the perfect option to take the reins of the Dutton operation.
Rip Wheeler is Already Tasked with Ranch Responsibility
The burly character started as a young boy working at the Yellowstone ranch. Rip probably worked every job there, starting from the bottom shoveling crap, until he worked his way up to a foreman position. This also means that Rip already knows the interworkings of the ranch.
With his iron-fisted control over the wranglers on the Yellowstone Ranch, Rip Wheeler has shown more resolve than John’s own children who seem to be too consumed with their own out-of-control lives.
Wheeler Shows Dedication to John Dutton
John’s children can’t always see what’s right in front of them. Plus they can’t get out of their own way to show their father they want to take over the ranch.
While Jamie continues to chase his own identity and career goals in town and Kayce is now full-time job as Livestock Commissioner. John could see no other option than to leave his family’s operation in more than capable hands of his loyal servant through the years, Rip Wheeler.
Rip Wheeler respects John and still calls him “sir” after all these years, like in this Instagram post above.
Rip’s Engaged to a Dutton Family Member
Rip Wheeler’s loyalty through the years to Mr. Dutton has already paid dividends with his own house on the sprawling property.
Additionally, Rip’s growing relationship with Beth (Dutton’s daughter) and his willingness to care for her has shown John a side of him that Dutton respects. It just seems like the natural progression would be to will the ranch to Rip since he genuinely cares about the property. The man often does what John says, no questions asked.
Rip famously says to John in season three, “You know why people don’t come talk to you? Because they’re scared they’ll let you down. I know I am.”
That right there shows the dedication that Rip Wheeler grew up in his father-figure’s image. He doesn’t want to let him down as most sons feel about their relationship with their fathers.
Furthermore, Kayce’s other half, Monica, doesn’t have the ranch’s best interests in mind. Whereas Rip Wheeler and Beth Dutton could both further the ranch’s success because of their upbringing and current circumstances.