‘Yellowstone’ TV: Gil Birmingham Opens Up About His Character Chief Thomas Rainwater in 2019 Interview

by Thad Mitchell

One of the elements that makes the Paramount Network series “Yellowstone” a smash hit is the incredibly talented cast that works so well together.

The “Yellowstone” cast is full of experienced and terrific actors that really sink into their characters. The cast is led by all-time Hollywood great Kevin Costner and filled to the brim with talent. Among the most interesting characters on the show is Thomas Rainwater. The Broken Rock Tribe leader has been a central character through the first three seasons of the show. Veteran actor Gil Birmingham is the man behind Thomas Rainwater, making him an important and imposing figure.

Birmingham’s character has had one of the most interesting “Yellowstone” storylines to this point. He also figures to play a prominent role in the upcoming fourth season. Rainwater begins the series as a primary antagonist and foe of John Dutton and his family. The tribal chief believes the “Yellowstone” Ranch property rightfully belongs to the Broken Rock Tribe. Dutton, of course, disagrees as the ranch and the property it sits on has been in his family for more than a century. It is this conflict that really kick-starts the first season. Rainwater eventually winds up in jail after “stealing” cattle from the ranch.

In a 2019 interview with Indian Country Today, Birmingham discusses his “Yellowstone” character and his motivations. He also talks about the importance of playing an empowered Native American on-screen.

“I love it, personally,” he proclaims. “One of the highlights is to have a prominent Native American character in a contemporary piece that’s empowered and not playing a victimization portrayal, you know?”

‘Yellowstone’ Star Talks Working with Kevin Costner

As the primary enemy to John Dutton in the first season, Birmingham got some work in with Kevin Costner. He says working with Costner in “Yellowstone” is a thrill that he is thankful to participate in.

“I love working with Kevin Costner,” he says. “The few scenes that I’ve had … I haven’t had that many scenes with Kevin, but he’s really a lot of fun to work with. He’s a very intense individual. He loves to rehearse. But carrying the lead of a show, where you’re working practically every single day is so exhausting. I just try to give the actors that got that kind of workload the space they need.”

The evolution of Birmingham’s character has been a real bright spot for “Yellowstone” that fans seem to enjoy. Starting out as a foe, Rainwater has built something of an alliance with John Dutton and his family.

To be determined if the uneasy alliance between the two factions holds up in season four. Some fans believe Rainwater is behind the attacks on the Dutton family to close out season three. He’s far from the only suspect in the attacks, but he would certainly appear to have a motive.

Answers to our “Yellowstone” questions are coming soon with season four set to premiere in the fall.