Every once in a while, a fan dreams up something so good we’re dying to see it on the show. These Yellowstone rancher backstories are exactly that.
If you’ve been with us at Outsider for a while, then you know Reddit is a hotbed for Yellowstone discussion. This isn’t surprising, as the show would become cable television’s #1 rated drama by viewership over the course of Season 2. The audacity of Season 3 only served to enhance Yellowstone‘s foothold on American pop culture, too. Yet through all the phenomenal hours of Dutton-centric happenstance, we’ve come to know shockingly little about the ranch hands we love just as much. Except Jimmy. We know what a POS he was pre-Rip. So leave it to Redditors to “headcanon” other favorites some truly solid backstories.
“I was thinking about the bunkhouse the other day, and it hit me that we really don’t know anything about their pasts,” begins Chiefcuddler over on the Yellowstone Reddit board. “Then I realized that I had already made my own headcanons for several of them and wanted to see if I was the only one.”
Even if you are alone in this, Redditor, that’s okay. Because you pretty much nailed it. Ready for some shockingly accurate fan backstories of three fan-favorite ranchers? Let’s dive in:
Colby: City Slicker Turned ‘Uncle Colby, the Cowboy!’
Colby: I think he’s from a city, probably a different state. They read a book in middle school about a cowboy, and he was hooked. His parents thought he would grow out of it, but he didn’t. He was supposed to go to college, but he headed out west instead. He bounced between ranches, learning a little more at each one until he ended up at the Yellowstone. Colby is seen as a prime example of how to move to a place without being a transplant because he fits in so well. He has at least one niece or nephew who loves to talk about “Uncle Colby, the cowboy!”
Out of the entire bunch, Chiefcuddler truly nails it with this one. Denim Richards uses his own accent as Colby, and it’s not one you’d immediately associate with a rural Montanan. Combine this with his very put-together nature and we’d say this is as close as it gets to Colby’s roots.
Ryan: From Poor Boy to Prime Cowboy
Ryan: I think he’s a local. His family was poor, so they didn’t see things like college as an option. He always wanted to work at the Yellowstone. His parents told him not to get his hopes up, that it would probably take several years for him to be good enough to be hired by the ranch – if they ever did. To their surprise, though, he walked into a job the day after he graduated high school. Lee, along with Rip and Lloyd, taught him how to cowboy. His momma stops by the ranch once a month or so with a batch of cookies for the bunkhouse; Gator has been trying to get the recipe from her for years.
This backstory gels really well for Ian Bohen’s Ryan, too. The actor is a local who grew up exploring and admiring the real Yellowstone. Tack on a high school athletic career and we think this is a good as it gets for the devilishly handsome cowboy.
Jake: Divorcee Turned Yellowstone Horsemaster
Jake: He owned a small place himself once, but he lost it in a nasty divorce. John hired him originally as a temporary thing, but he just never left. By this point, it’s been over ten years since he came to the ranch.
Considering Jake Ream’s actual career as a true horsemaster, Chiefcuddler nails it with this simple-yet-defining “headcanon,” too.
What do you think, fellow Yellowstone fans? Would you want to see these backstories unfold? With so much story to unpack for the Duttons in Season 4 it’s unlikely we’ll see any of these gents get their own flashback episodes. But stranger things have happened on the Yellowstone Ranch.