Yellowstone star totally refused to do Taylor Sheridan’s cowboy camp

Taylor Sheridan's cowboy camp is trial by fire a for the cast of Yellowstone and its spin-offs, but this star was allowed to excuse herself.

Helen Mirren, Kevin Costner, and Harrison Ford in Yellowstone

There aren’t too many actors in the world who can say ‘no’ to Taylor Sheridan, the Oscar-nominated creator of the sprawling Yellowstone franchise. But, Yellowstone 1923’s Helen Mirren is one of them, and the Hollywood icon was even able to skip Sheridan’s famous cowboy camp, and swap it for something more mechanical.

Taking a leading role in Yellowstone‘s second spin-off, Mirren joined the ever-growing Yellowstone cast as Cara Dutton, along with Harrison Ford as her husband Jacob Dutton. Her role in the Yellowstone timeline and Dutton family tree predates that of John Dutton and co., but she’s just as fierce and capable as her descendants. The only major difference is that Cara doesn’t ride horses, and neither does Mirren.

“I said at the beginning that I don’t ride. I mean, I’ve been on the back of a horse many times, but I’m not a rider. I’ve never really learned properly how to ride,” she told Town and Country. “So Taylor had the great idea of putting me in a buggy, so I did have to learn how to drive a buggy, which was really great experience. That was my cowboy camp.”

The fact that Mirren was able to excuse herself from Sheridan’s sacred cowboy camp speaks volumes about how much the Yellowstone mastermind wanted her in the series as one of the best Yellowstone characters. That’s no surprise, either, given Cara Dutton’s important role within the show (though, it also helps that Cara doesn’t have to do much ranching in the show).

She’s just as much the lead as Ford’s Jacob Dutton, and perhaps even more so in the middle portion of the series when she takes over duties as the lead of the ranch when Jacob is severely wounded. She makes the big decisions, demanding that Spencer come home and assuming Jacob’s position as Livestock Commissioner in a needs-must situation.

Cara’s forced to battle against the misogyny of the era to protect her family and legacy, and alongside Spencer’s escapades in Africa, it’s one of the most consistently fascinating plotlines in the series. It also cements Cara as one of the great Duttons, proving that she has all the gravitas and grit of the later John Dutton.

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Of course, Mirren will play an integral role when the spin-off series eventually returns for 1923 sesaon 2. As for what’s next for the character, the Oscar winner herself isn’t certain, though she is “fascinated” to see what happens when she returns to the 1923 cast, like the rest of us.

For more Dutton thoughts, check out our expectations for the returning Yellowstone season 5 part 2. Or, learn about how 1883 already revealed how Yellowstone is going to end.