If you’ve been watching Yellowstone since the start, you’ll have seen Rip Wheeler transform from a bitter and violent man, into a… slightly less bitter man. Cole Hauser, the actor who plays Rip, does admit that he could’ve been a little easier on one of the younger members of the Yellowstone gang.
To be fair, Yellowstone is not exactly known for its nice characters. In fact, the Yellowstone timeline is largely populated by stoic men who only crack a smile when they’re herding cattle. Still, the seasons have been kind to Rip Wheeler, and his relationship with Beth Dutton has definitely made him a little warmer.
The pair even unofficially adopted an orphan named Carter, but Yellowstone cast member Cole Hauser has explained why Rip is particularly hard on his newest family member. “I was a hard ass on him. It’s tough love in season 4, and I don’t think much has changed,” Hauser told Screen Rant.
Things are improving for Carter, though, slowly but surely. Having seen his parents pass away, Carter joined the Dutton family tree, and is given the chance to prove himself around the ranch. He even earns the respect of John Dutton himself, and Rip is starting to soften up in his father figure role.
“There’s a little bit of… Not kindness but a little bit more of… ‘Okay, you’re doing all the things that I expect you to do, and you’re working your ass off, you’re trying.’ And that’s all you can ask from a young kid, and he sees a lot of himself,” Hauser explained. “So there are little diamonds that Rip gives him along the way for the season to help them grow. But still, very tough but strict when it comes to it.”
Let’s face it, Yellowstone wouldn’t be among the best drama series if it didn’t give its characters the chance to grow and evolve over time, and Rip Wheeler has arguably done that more than any Yellowstone character across the five seasons. He has stopped fighting with everyone, he has taken on a lot more responsibility around the ranch, and he shows genuine compassion to those closest to him, which is brilliant to see.
As for Carter, I think Rip is basically ensuring that his adoptive son doesn’t make the same mistakes he made as a young man. He wants to be tough on Carter, but he only wants the best for him in the long run. We’ll have to wait and see how Yellowstone season 5 part 2 plays out in that respect, though I have a bad feeling Rip will be among the Yellowstone characters to die in the final season. Hopefully Carter has learned enough by that point!
Until we know more about the big finale, you’ve got ample time to dig into the other branches of the best TV series around. Here’s all we know about Yellowstone 6666, Yellowstone 1923 season 2, and the Yellowstone 1944 release date.