‘Yellowstone’s Gil Birmingham Teases ‘Powerful Scene’ Bringing Tate Dutton Back to His Indigenous Heritage

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Paramount Network Press)

A lot of the “Yellowstone” story and history is deeply rooted in its Indigenous characters. This includes Tate Dutton, who is half Native American through his mother, Monica. According to Gil Birmingham, who portrays Thomas Rainwater, there’s going to be a powerful scene in season 5 that connects Tate to his heritage.

It seems like, over four seasons, there haven’t really been many opportunities for Tate to learn about, process, and decide what his heritage means to him. Indeed, he lived on the Reservation for most of his life, and he was closer with his grandfather on his mother’s side than with John Dutton. We’ve experienced bits and pieces of his journey. But now, as he’s growing into a teenager with his own complicated wants and feelings, it seems like the perfect time for him to explore his rich Indigenous culture and background.

Birmingham says something like this is going to happen in season 5. According to a new interview with TV Insider, Tate is going to return to the Reservation with his father, Kayce Dutton, and learn more about his culture. Birmingham promises “a very powerful scene” where Tate learns more about his mother’s side and his place there. Birmingham also added that, on the show, Indigenous culture “is always embedded in the ways we deal with challenges and difficulties of loss.”

Is Tate going to lean on his heritage in a time of great loss in season 5? Kelsey Asbille teased that Monica and Kayce experience something serious that “pulls their hearts in different directions and changes who they are,” but added that it’s “in some ways for the better. They become stronger.” This tragedy, whatever it is, could lead Tate back to his culture and further strengthen his bond with his mother. Overall, though, it will most likely strengthen his understanding of himself and his place in the world.

‘Yellowstone’ Star Gil Birmingham Discusses His Character’s Rivalry with John Dutton

In the past, Thomas Rainwater and Jonn Dutton united against a common enemy threatening their respective land and ways of life. But, with the big reveal of John becoming governor in season 5, Gil Birmingham says that Rainwater has entered a “curveball” rivalry with the Dutton patriarch.

“This season throws a curveball for Thomas,” Birmingham told TV Insider. “John’s acquiring leverage and makes decisions with major repercussions for Rainwater.”

Rainwater is a strong presence, and he has to be as Tribal Chief of the Broken Rock Tribe. He’s the leader and the face of his people, and he’s weathered many storms for them. But, Birmingham reveals that this “curveball” from John Dutton has shaken Rainwater. Additionally, there’s a new challenge on his home turf as well.

“He becomes more rattled,” he explained. “He has a new opponent on the reservation trying to undermine his position.”

Like many of the characters on “Yellowstone,” Thomas Rainwater will have to make a “difficult choice,” says Birmingham. Rainwater is in the hot seat now, his usual calm, collected demeanor cracking under pressure from all sides. Will he make it out of this season, still in possession of his position and power? We’ll have to wait and see, but not for much longer, as “Yellowstone” returns on November 13.