‘Yellowstone’ TV: Is There a Deeper Meaning Behind Rip Wheeler and Jimmy Hurdstrom’s Relationship?

by Halle Ames
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“Yellowstone” fans question if there is a deeper meaning between cowboy Rip Wheeler and Jimmy Hurdstrom’s relationship? 

“Yellowstone” fans first met Jimmy Hurdstrom in a dark spot in season one. He was a drug dealer going nowhere fast, and without the help of John Dutton and the “Yellowstone” ranch, Jimmy’s future wasn’t the brightest. 

Jimmy’s grandfather was worried about his grandson’s well-being. So he begs John to hire him to work on the ranch, as long as it gets him out of his house, which is a breeding ground for drugs.

John Dutton agrees to the employment and sends his right-hand man, Rip Wheeler, to give Jimmy an ultimatum. The choice isn’t exactly a hard one. In fact, it’s really not a choice at all. Jimmy must choose between jail or working as a cowboy on the Yellowstone ranch.

“Jimmy, I’m gonna give you two choices,” states Rip. “One is, I take you and all this shit, and I drive you down to the Sheriff’s office, and it’s good riddance to your sorry ass, or you prove that you deserve another chance. From what I can see, you don’t, but it ain’t up to me.”

What’s the catch? Jimmy’s employment on the ranch is indefinite. He must take a brand and therefore be loyal to the “Yellowstone” for the rest of his miserable days. Furthermore, Jimmy has no idea how to ride a horse. The man isn’t exactly cut out for a cowboy lifestyle. 

However, throughout the seasons, Jimmy has become a main character on the Yellowstone ranch and has even taken to rodeoing. It turns out Jimmy’s noodly little bones are actually perfect for clinging to the back of the bucking horse. 

‘Yellowstone’ Fans Debate Rip and Jimmy Relationship

In addition, “Yellowstone” fans question Rip Wheeler’s attitude toward Jimmy. He is harsh yet seems to have a soft spot for the awkward man. 

“Your opinion on Rip’s relationship with Jimmy? I realize Jimmy is a branded man, but besides that, it seems that although Rip is extremely hard on Jimmy– he cares about him a lot. Is this the case, or am I reading the relationship wrong?”

One Reddit user comments below, explaining that it could be the tough love that Rip is used to growing up from his father and John Dutton. 

“It could partially be the way John was with Rip and the way Rip’s dad was with him. John has a kind, nurturing side and a tough side. I liked how the young John never raised his voice with Rip in their first meeting…When Rip snaps at Jimmy, I can imagine it’s a bit of Rip’s bully dad peeking through, but Rip doesn’t let it get physical.”

The “Yellowstone” fan continues, pointing at a specific scene where Rip was there for Jimmy.

“When Jimmy’s g-dad died as a result of the meth thugs whipping his ass and Jimmy grabbed a rifle and was charging off to get them, Rip’s reaction was priceless; it was firm, understanding, decisive and compassionate. Rip gave Jimmy a fatherly hug that made me smile. Deep down, Rip’s a softy, but for survival’s sake, he has to be tough on the outside.” 

Outsider.com