‘Yellowstone’ TV: How the Dutton Family Follows the Unspoken Rules of the ‘Cowboys Code of Conduct’

by Halle Ames
Photo Credit: Yellowstone Gallery, Paramount Network Press Center, Viacom

Are you thinking about becoming a tough cowboy like Yellowstone’s John Dutton? You may want to take a look at the unspoken code of conduct rules first.

Yeah, it sure looks dreamy to sport a pair of Wranglers and a nice big hat, but it’s not all show ponies and glamor. Here we note some unspoken rules cowboys are expected to follow, just like our beloved bunkhouse on Yellowstone.

In the first season of Yellowstone, the ranch hands give new cowboy Jimmy grief after he throws his cowboy hat on the bed. Apparently, that is a BIG no-no. However, Kayce Dutton could care less about any conspiracies like that.

The Yellowstone ranch would be nothing without its unsung rule of cowboy etiquette. It doesn’t matter where you rank, from the ranch owner John Dutton to the pond scum deadbeat that Jimmy was when he first entered the ranch, these rules you don’t break. We count down Cowboy Showcase’s top rules the hit western drama follows.

Yellowstone Cowboy’s Code of Conduct

First, never touch another person’s horse or tack. It’s like the adjustments on your car or a pair of tennis shoes. It’s molded to you perfectly. The LAST thing you want is some rookie coming over and handling the horse that you have created a bond with for years and touching the tack you care for.

Next, you need to be up, ready, and on time for work. Cowboys get up early, and just like the Yellowstone cowboys, there are nights that go so late that they turn into mornings. That is definitely a hard day of hard work.

Rule number three, never ride in front of the cow boss, or in this case, John or Kayce Dutton or sometimes Rip Wheeler. It’s like riding into battle. The leader LEADS you into action. Furthermore, their word is law—no whining or backtalk. Close your mouth and get to work. If not, Rip will send yourself packing for the train station on Yellowstone.

In addition to this rule, you should never cut someone off with your horse. Have you ever seen someone do this on a highway? Odds are they were greeted with some colorful words and one particular finger of appreciation. By doing so, you risk your horse bucking or kicking at the person behind you. You also interfere with the field of vision for the rider behind you.

This one is news to us, but when a person dismounts their horse to open or close the gate, you wait for them. Do not go riding away and leaving your fellow cowboy in the dust! Furthermore, if the other riders take off, their horse will try to follow the other horses, making it almost impossible for them to get back on their noble steed.

Although there are countless others, these are the basics if you feel like moving out to the Yellowstone. This way, the other bunkhouse members don’t heckle you.