On “Yellowstone,” Jimmy (Jefferson White) is a determined cowboy, always persevering through hardship and ridicule. But he’s not so sure about being a ranch hand at first; Rip (Cole Hauser) has to drag him to the Dutton ranch from his earlier druggie lifestyle and break him in overtime.
“He’s gonna hate it for sh–,” Rip tells Jimmy. “But whatever you do, Jimmy, don’t let go.”
“Can we just talk about this for a second?” Jimmy pleads as they walk off.
“Good luck, Jimmy,” Rip says, as the other ranch hands begin placing bets.
Someone kicks the horse, and it’s off, trying to toss Jimmy from its back with all its might.
Finally, the horse drops its resistance, and Dutton orders, “Pull him down.” Jimmy can barely walk after he slides from the horse’s back to the ground. Rip tells Jimmy to bathe the horse, tie him up and wait until he cools off to give him hay.
“That son of a b—- is broken now,” Rip says to Dutton about the horse.
“There may be a little cowboy in him, after all,” Dutton observes of Jimmy.
Before ‘Yellowstone,’ Jefferson White Knew Next to Nothing About Cowboys
White hails from Iowa, and his activities in high school were more along the lines of choir and drama than rodeo and ranching. So joining the show brought a steep learning curve for him.
“Jimmy’s wild ride has also corresponded with a wild ride for me because I really had no idea what I was signing up for when I got this job,” White told Decider last November. “It’s been a really incredible journey so far. Everything Jimmy ends up learning to do or experiencing, I’m also learning to do or experiencing for the first time. I had never ridden a horse before I accepted this job. I certainly had never gotten on a bucking horse. All of his stuff was very, very new to me.”
And while White portrays Jimmy as an ascendant rodeo star in Season 3, unlike some of the other bunkhouse actors – Forrie J. Smith, for example – that whole world was brand new to him.
“To be honest, this is my first experience with rodeo at all,” White confessed. “I had never even seen a rodeo.”
Fortunately for White, he also has a stunt double named Bobby Roberts. A real-life bronc rider, Roberts is a rodeo veteran who stepped in during the dangerous scenes – including the duct tape scene – to play Jimmy at critical moments.
Since the Season 3 finale left Jimmy unconscious on the ground, it remains to be seen whether White’s character will return to the rodeo or even live to persevere as a ranch hand. But by that point, Jimmy had already proven that he had what it took to be a cowboy.