‘Yellowstone’s Cole Hauser Reveals What ‘Layers’ He’d Like to See Added to Rip Wheeler (Outsider Exclusive)

by Jon D. B.
Cole Hauser as Rip Wheeler in Yellowstone. (Photo credit: Paramount Network Press)

When we sat down with Yellowstone icon Cole Hauser, he told us how he’d like to see Rip Wheeler evolve in future episodes. But first, be warned of spoilers for Season 5 ahead.

The fan favorite actor has made Rip (and himself) a household name by being tougher than dirt and teddy-bear-sweet whenever Yellowstone is in need of either. And as Season 5 rivals Sunday Night Football numbers, there are more eyeballs on him than ever before. In kind, it’s hard to blame viewers who took issue with Rip’s treatment of orphaned ranch hand Carter (Finn Little) in the two-episode premiere.

To be clear, no interaction for these two mirror-image characters came in Episode 1. Instead, it was Episode 2, “The Sting of Wisdom,” that saw Rip and Carter’s relationship continue. Yet Rip was as hard on the teen as ever, leaving audiences jarred after the rough treatment he also received at the hands of Beth (Kelly Reilly) in Season 4.

You can imagine, then, that Yellowstone fans were thrilled with Episode 3, “Tall Drink of Water.” Within, Rip and Carter finally get the Kodak moment fans have been hoping for, with a perfect Rip Wheeler line serving as the cherry on top:

“Orphans don’t just get shipped off around here, Carter, in case you haven’t noticed.”

Fin Little as Carter in Yellowstone Season 5, Episode 3. (Photo credit: Paramount Network Press)

The line is a reflection on both himself, Carter, and the orphaned calf they’re caring for. And it’s exactly where Cole Hauser hopes to see this relationship heading.

When I asked how Hauser would like to see Rip evolve in Yellowstone, he shot straight (as he always does). A staunch fan of the “layers” creator Taylor Sheridan has given his own orphan, the actor pinpointed his relationship with Carter as what he’s looking forward to most.

“I would say probably with Carter,” Hauser replied in our exclusive interview. “Being a little bit more of a father figure, and somebody for him to look up to. I think Taylor did a great job this year of kind of slowly walking-the-dog when it comes to that relationship. So I’m excited for the audience to see that,” he adds.

‘Yellowstone’ Season 5, Episode 3 is a Showcase for Cole Hauser

Rip didn’t just get to go easy on Carter for once, either. Season 5, Episode 3 is a true showcase for Cole Hauser, one that reminds us all why we love his anti-hero (as if we needed one). Throughout, Rip proves himself as charming as he is capable; even if his dealings are on the shady side (as per usual).

And while Rip wasn’t exactly embracing Carter as a “son” in the first two episodes, Episode 3 shows a stark change in this status quo, too. He’s both protective and encouraging with the teen throughout, and it’s as heartwarming to watch as his tender tough-love scenes with Beth.

Outsider discusses this and more in our full recap, which you can find alongside our interview with Cole Hauser below.

Beth heads to Salt Lake City to take care of unfinished business; a trap is set for Jamie; Kayce makes an important decision for his family.


Cole Hauser, Finn Little and the gang all return for Yellowstone Season 5, Episode 4 this Sunday, Nov. 28 at 8 PM ET, exclusively on Paramount Network.