Many prefer Rip’s ‘take no prisoners’ outlook on protecting the Dutton Ranch, true. Regardless, when you mash these two together, you get the most engaging character on television. And there’s no denying the almost singular role Hauser has played in making his ranch foreman – and Yellowstone at large – a household name.
Under the talent of any other actor, Rip wouldn’t be nearly the icon he’s become. It’s through Hauser’s instincts that Rip is able to embody the heart of the Neo-Western. To a lesser thespian, Rip’s a brute; a bulldog out for blood whenever his master takes him off his leash.
Instead, and thankfully, Cole Hauser chose Rip Wheeler over portraying a Dutton brother when given the script (ahead of any other actor outside John Dutton’s Kevin Costner). And we have a loyal enforcer with a teddy-bear heart as a result.
This is how Hauser sees Rip. How he feels Rip. And it’s also what appeals to him most about his character, as his favorite scene for the deeply-scarred rancher reveals. When I posed this very question to the Yellowstone icon, it only took a moment’s contemplation for him to conjure his top Rip Wheeler moment from the five years-worth of episodes he’s filmed.
‘The moment on the porch with Beth, when John gives him the cabin…’
“The moment on the porch with Beth, when John gives him the cabin,” Hauser nodded with a smile. “I think that’s a beautiful moment. It’s really a kind of special moment for the character, and also for the journey it took to get to that place.”
It’s a moment that would prove a highlight of Yellowstone‘s best bunch of episodes so far, Season 2.
Outsider sat down with Cole Hauser, actor of Rip Wheeler, to talk all things Yellowstone Season 5.
In many ways, Rip’s journey began anew on that porch. With one letter from his boss, Rip gained the father figure he’d always had, but never could truly accept as his own. Rip went from an orphaned, life-long ranch hand to a surrogate son; something his marriage to the boss’ daughter, Beth (Kelly Reilly), would solidify.
Cole Hauser’s Hopes for the Journey of Rip Wheeler in ‘Yellowstone’ Season 5 are What Audiences are Hoping For, too
Amid the raucous events of the seasons that followed, however, Rip would lose that precious cabin to their enemies. And not long after, his marriage into the Dutton family saw him move into the “big house.”
In Season 5, all of this culminates into a Rip Wheeler who becomes far more than a ranch foreman. I won’t spoil anything here, but it is firmly rooted in the question “Where does Rip go from here?”
I asked Cole how he’d like to see Rip evolve in Yellowstone in kind. A staunch fan of the “layers” series mastermind Taylor Sheridan has given his character, he had another immediate answer.
“I would say probably with Carter,” Hauser replied. “Being a little bit more of a father figure, and somebody for him to look up to” is where he wants Rip heading next. Which is exactly where Yellowstone Season 5 is heading, he says.
“I think Taylor did a great job this year of slowly ‘walking the dog’ when it comes to that relationship. So I’m excited for the audience to see that.”
Cole Hauser returns as Rip Wheeler in Yellowstone Season 5’s two-hour premiere event this Sunday, Nov. 13 at 8 PM ET, exclusively on Paramount Network. Further episodes will air each Sunday at the same time.