Without Cole Hauser, there wouldn’t be Rip Wheeler. Without Rip Wheeler, there wouldn’t be Yellowstone. Simple.
Hauser stars in Yellowstone alongside Kevin Costner, Kelly Reilly, Luke Grimes, and Wes Bentley, helping to lead the Yellowstone cast as John Dutton‘s most violent and dependable cowboy. As the seasons have gone by, all that gruffness, loyalty, and action (and the occasional murder, but don’t focus on that) has made Rip Wheeler into a bona fide sex symbol. Hauser himself really didn’t expect that, and has some confusion.
“I think it surprised Taylor [Sheridan] too,” he admits to Town and Country magazine, reflecting on his character’s sex appeal. “It’s definitely not something that was ever on the table, that we ever discussed. In fact, I think it was quite the opposite. [Taylor] was like, ‘Oh man, people are gonna think you’re fucking nuts. I wrote this scene, the way you kill this guy or burn this guy’.” Hauser concluded, “For whatever reason it’s kind of worked the opposite.”
While Sheridan and Hauser both clearly anticipated the reaction to Rip to be one of fear, the vicious cowboy has instead become absolutely beloved. Ever since the show’s debut, viewers fell head over heels with the no-nonsense, straightforward deputy of the ranch, whose task is to put himself in the line of danger to keep the Duttons safe and do their dirty work.
An unexpected twist like that is impossible to predict, but what’s absolutely certain is that it’s Cole Hauser himself who has been integral to Rip’s sex appeal. He manages to balance the Yellowstone character‘s relentless brutality with his devotion and caring nature. He’s got that ‘I could fix him’ quality, like the Beast from Beauty in the Beast, and in the hands of any other actor Rip just wouldn’t be the same.
Need some proof of Rip’s status as a sex symbol? Well, there’s an absolute rabbit-hole of Rip-themed merch you can buy from the official Yellowstone store including a life-sized cardboard cutout (yes, really), with the description reading that it will “make you feel like you are on the ranch with Rip Wheeler himself!” Then, there’s a t-shirt that reads: ‘Rip can come down my chimney any time’ if you’re in a… festive mood.
Elsewhere online, you can find mugs that are inscribed with phrases like: ‘Every girl needs a little Rip in her jeans’ and so on and so forth. You get the picture.
Unfortunately for all of Rip’s many fans, the upcoming Yellowstone season 5 part 2 looks set to conclude the character’s story, and we think he might be in some serious danger. With Jamie planning an assassination attempt on Beth Dutton, Rip’s wife, we’re feeling pretty sure that Rip is going to get tangled up in the crossfire.
He’d give his life for Beth’s (or John’s) in a heartbeat and has sins he needs to atone for. It looks like death could be on the horizon when the Western genre’s best TV series returns.
For more Yellowstone fun, read our complete guide to the Yellowstone timeline to learn more about all of the spin-offs and other Yellowstone series. Or, see what’s coming next with our guides to the 1923 season 2 release date and the 6666 release date, or find out why we already know the Yellowstone ending.