What are the best Yellowstone characters ranked? From cowboys to politicians, and wealthy heirs to rusty patriarchs, there are plenty Yellowstone characters with quick wits and low standards.
In Yellowstone, John Dutton and his family lead what has become one of the best TV series around. But alongside them, the expansive Yellowstone cast brings to life plenty of other characters, all stars in their own right. But with so many fictional figures in the Yellowstone timeline, which are the best?
Well, we’ve picked out our top guys and gals of the best Western series just for you. Of course, it goes without saying that most of the characters in this series are just…not great people. But it has to be done. So, without further ado, here are the best Yellowstone characters ranked.
The 10 best Yellowstone characters ranked:
- Travis Wheatley
- Jamie Dutton
- Governor Lynelle Perry
- Beth Dutton
- Lloyd Pierce
- Jimmy Hurdstrom
- Rip Wheeler
- John Dutton
There has to be at least a handful of ranch hands on this list, and it would be a crime not to include Teeter. She comes into play a little later in the series, but makes one hell of an impact. You can barely understand what she’s saying half the time, on account of her iconic drawl, but it’s clear that she’s there for a good time and a long time. Plus, her aggressively embarrassing flirting with Colby makes for a great gag.
After a while, she becomes a Hand with a Brand, and goes from being a laughing stock to a bona fide member of the Dutton crew, for better and for worse.
One could consider Mo to be Thomas Rainwater’s Rip Wheeler. Except, where Rip is overtly violent and brutish, Mo is calm and collected. Still, you get the sense you wouldn’t want to cross him. On paper, Mo is Rainwater’s personal driver and bodyguard, but he’s often found performing more secretive tasks. Essentially, he’s Rainwater’s right hand man.
Much like Rip, Mo is burdened with a tragic backstory. His mother was killed by two white men when he was a child, and he was left strapped in the car at the scene of the crime before someone found him three days later. Mo is often the voice of reason for Rainwater, and appears to have more moral considerations for their sometimes shady workings than others around him.
8. Travis Wheatley
You thought we weren’t gonna talk about the Sheridan in the room, didn’t you? How can we talk about the best characters from the flagship Yellowstone series without mentioning the man who brought it all to life? Men will literally create a multi-million dollar television franchise and create a role for themselves in it instead of going to therapy.
And what’s more, it’s not just any role. Sheridan cast himself as one of the coolest, richest, and most cowboy-ish role in the entire series. Travis is a professional horseman and trainer from Texas, who often pops up on the Yellowstone ranch to sell or buy horses from the Duttons. He’s also a rodeo king, and ends up taking on young Jimmy during his excursion to the 6666 ranch. Yeah, it might be a little narcissistic to create a character as cool as Travis for yourself…but hey, he’s earned it.
7. Jamie Dutton
Don’t click away! We know we don’t have the best history with Jamie Dutton, given that we think he’s a brat. But you have to understand that Jamie is often the crux of the Yellowstone drama. Without him, many of the show’s most shocking moments and best Yellowstone episodes would not have happened. Plus, Wes Bentley plays him perfectly.
Jamie could also be considered as one of the most complex (morally and emotionally) Dutton family members. He’s constantly torn between duty to his father and family, and what he wants out of his own life. All this is made even more murky when his true lineage becomes clear. So yes, we hate Jamie, but it’s a love-hate that keeps us coming back for more.
6. Governor Lynelle Perry
John Dutton, being the scoundrel he is, is bound to have a love interest or two. His relationship with Governor Perry is mostly confined to the bedroom, as neither really seems to have an interest in making their affair A) public, or B) emotional. That said, they make a great pair of allies.
Perry proves herself to be an incredibly useful resource for the Duttons when they’re trying to get out of trouble, and although she can’t always help them outright, she’s usually dropping enough hints to help them out. She takes great interest in the various members of the Dutton family (mostly to keep an eye on them, really), but you always get the sense that she values her job and service to the people of Montana first and foremost.
5. Beth Dutton
It wouldn’t be a list of the best Yellowstone characters without having Beth Dutton on here somewhere. A good person? No. A lovable daughter? Not really. One of the brightest and most electric characters we’ve seen on-screen for a long time? Most definitely. Beth Dutton rules the roost when it comes to the ranch, and will do anything to protect and serve her father.
Beth may not care all that much about the ranch itself, but she cares about her dad. His mission for legacy and preservation become her own, and she’s just as vicious and deadly as any of the other more physically-threatening folks wandering around Montana. Her sharp-tongued ways and unrelenting nature (“You’re the trailer park, I’m the tornado”) make her a force to be reckoned with for anyone who dares get in the way of the Duttons.
4. Lloyd Pierce
Ah…Lloyd. Of all the workers who live on the Yellowstone ranch, Lloyd is the wisest and most trustworthy of them all. And for good reason — he’s been around longer than the rest of them, having worked on the ranch back when Rip first came onto the scene as a troubled youth. Because of this, Rip and Lloyd have a mutual understanding and respect for each other. Often, Rip calls upon Lloyd to keep the others in check. Plus, look at that face! He looks like he belongs straight out of one of the best Westerns.
That’s not to say that Lloyd isn’t capable of loosing it. On the contrary, for an older gentleman, he can see red. When ranch newbie Walker steals Lloyd’s girl, Lloyd breaks the biggest bunkhouse rule and fights the younger man, eventually stabbing him in the chest. Basically, Lloyd’s your best buddy…until he’s not.
3. Jimmy Hurdstrom
Jimmy can be a little naive and unreliable at times, but many forget that he could be considered as one of the show’s main characters. From the first episode, when he’s offered the chance to join the Yellowstone crew to escape from his troubled ways, the entire show has kept its eye on the young wanna be rodeo competitor, seeing him rise to the occasion as a dedicated ranch hand.
Many of the show’s earliest moments focus on Jimmy becoming acquainted with the cowboy ways of life. Whether he’s being duct-taped to a horse for hours, or getting screamed at about throwing his hat onto the bed, it’s a long and tough road for Jimmy to earn the respect and friendship of the other hands, but he gets there in the end.
2. Rip Wheeler
It really wouldn’t be Yellowstone without Rip Wheeler. This is partly because, without him, the Duttons may not have managed to get out of as many sticky situations as they have. A gentle giant who’s not gentle at all, Rip can often be a man of few words. But the words he does come out with are often threatening, wise, or a complete take-down of his misbehaved ranch hands. John Dutton took Rip in when he was an orphaned boy wandering wild, and gave him a place on the ranch.
Over time, Rip worked his way up and now stands as the ranch foreman. Because of this, Rip owes everything to the Dutton patriarch. The two have a strong bond, and usually don’t need to say much to each other. When John refers to Rip as a son in a letter, Rip is brought to tears. On top of this, Rip’s burning chemistry with Beth makes for one of the most memorable fictional relationships we’ve seen on the small screen in a while.
1. John Dutton
The big daddy. King J.D. Without him, none of this would exist. Of course, there’s been plenty a James, Jacob, and John before him, but as the protagonist of the original series, he stands tall above all the other Duttons around him. A dedicated rancher and a complicated father, there’s never a day where Kevin Costner‘s John Dutton isn’t fighting one battle or another. Be it against his health, some corrupt developers, or his own terrible children, John’s rarely given time to breath.
But he takes it all in stride. Problematic enemies? Kill ’em. Annoying kids? Exile them. And when he’s ruminating on his latest troubles, he’ll do it in the coolest way possible, usually by sitting on horseback, staring into the sunset, and gruffly rolling out of a monologue made up of nature-based buzzwords. For many, John Dutton is Americana.
There you have it: all the best Yellowstone characters ranked. Agree or disagree — let’s face it, they’re all questionable people at best. For more on the faces behind Yellowstone, get to know the 1923 cast, and 1883 cast. You can also see when the Yellowstone season 5 part 2 release date is due to drop, as well as the 6666 release date.
You can also take a look at the 10 shows like Yellowstone to watch next, as well as the best Taylor Sheridan TV series and movies. If you like that, you should check out our feature on what to do now that Yellowstone is breaking up with you. Don’t forget about our guide on everything new on Paramount Plus this month!