“Yellowstone” fans have watched ranch foreman Rip Wheeler take out a number of people on the show, both good guys and bad guys. In more than one case, he killed people for the good of the ranch. But there’s one death in particular that star Cole Hauser remembers because he thought of it as more of a “mercy killing.”
Back in 2019, Hauser spoke to Cowboys & Indians magazine right before the premiere of Season 2. The interviewer mentioned how one of the more “brutal” scenes from Season 1 involved Rip talking an addict/medical examiner into committing suicide. The ME had incriminating evidence to be used against Kayce, John Dutton’s son, so Jon told Rip to take care of the examiner.
“Well, you could say [Rip] was helping the guy out,” Hauser said. “Because he wanted to die.”
The man was already addicted to smoking embalming fluids and was very troubled, so Rip made his death look like a lab accident. The interviewer compared Rip’s scene with the ME to one where Kayce shoots another man dying from a meth lab explosion later in Season 1. The authorities deemed that death a “mercy killing,” and Hauser sees the one with the medical examiner that way too.
“That’s exactly what it is. There are certain people that don’t know that they’re hurting themselves and trying to kill themselves,” Hauser said. “And so, it was really a communication of, ‘Hey, do you like where you are? Are you happy where you are?’ And he wasn’t. And so, in the end, it is mercy killing. That is exactly what it is.”
‘Yellowstone’ Star Cole Hauser Talks Character Rip Wheeler
“Yellowstone” star Cole Hauser knows that Rip’s involvement in the medical examiner’s death counts as murder. But he also sees it as a way of protecting the man and others who could be hurt by him.
“Obviously, people will look at it and say, ‘Yes, but it’s murder.’ Of course, yeah. But at the same time, I’m saving his soul. So it’s just a different way to look at stuff,” Hauser explained.
“And I love that about Rip. I love playing him that way,” he continued. “Hey, listen, when you watch him walk into a scene, you don’t know whether he’s gonna kiss you or kill you. And as an audience, I mean, you gotta be at the edge of your seat. You never know. You never know what’s gonna happen.”
That’s as true a point for the upcoming Season 4 as it was for Season 1. We’ll have to wait until Nov. 7 to find out what Rip’s next move will be in the dramatic saga.
“At the same time, though, one of the exciting things about doing ‘Yellowstone’ is that we’re finding out about these characters at the same pace as the audience is,” Hauser concluded. “A little in advance obviously. But we get these scripts right before we shoot them. And it’s always so exciting to see what’s happening in them.”