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Yellowstone fan favorite character wasn’t in Sheridan’s original plan

Taylor Sheridan's original plan for Yellowstone didn't involve one of the best characters on the Western series. But with some improvisation, it all worked out.

Ryan Bingham as Walker and Cole Hauser as Rip in Yellowstone

Allowing us to all embrace our cowboy fantasies, Yellowstone has quickly become one of the most popular shows of the past decade, and one of the best. Set on the Yellowstone ranch, the show is brought to life by the brilliant Yellowstone cast, which includes Kevin Costner as the grumbling John Dutton, Kelly Reilly as Beth Dutton, and Cole Hauser as Rip Wheeler.

There are plenty of others too, but it’s arguably the ranch hands who are most beloved by fans as supporting characters, helping to cement it as one of the best TV series around. These are the cowboys who live in the bunkhouse, led by the veteran Lloyd. But, one fan favorite ranch hand wasn’t even part of Taylor Sheridan‘s original plan for the show.

“They cast me once [Yellowstone] was already going,” said Ryan Bingham, who stars as Walker, speaking on the Bobby Bones Show. “Taylor Sheridan, the writer and director, prior to this wrote and directed a film called Wind River. He contacted me then about writing a song for that movie, but I never came up with anything that stuck. Then this show came around and he contacted me about writing a song for the show.”

Bingham explained, “Then he found out I could ride horses, and I used to rodeo. And he said, ‘Shoot, I’m going to have to write you in… I don’t know what I’m going to do with you but I guess we’ll figure it out’. So, we came up with the character of Walker and he basically told me, ‘We’ll see how it goes. If you do good I’ll keep you on and if you suck we’ll just kill you off’.”

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While Walker hasn’t been killed off (at least, not yet) the free-spirited cowboy has come close in moments. After a series of confrontations with Rip he was almost ‘taken to the train station‘, but Kayce decided to let him live. After showing up back in Montana over a season later, Walker came close to death yet again due to his feud with Lloyd, which ended with Lloyd aiming to stab him in the heart.

The irony is that Lloyd just wanted to live a simple and peaceful life after his stint in prison. With his disdain for authority, Walker isn’t a natural fit among the rest of the cowboys, but he’s also become one of the most relatable characters on the drama series too.

Whether he’s plucking a tune on his guitar or helping a calf, we love Walker, and we’re glad that Sheridan found a way to get shoehorn him into the series. Even after the Yellowstone season 5 part 2 release date arrives and puts and end to the series, we’re hoping to see Walker in the upcoming 6666 spin-off alongside Jimmy.

For more on that, check out our guide to the 6666 release date, as well as the 1923 season 2 release date. Or, learn more about the Yellowstone timeline, 10 shows to watch if you like Yellowstone, and see our explainer on why Kevin Costner is leaving Yellowstone.

For longer reads on the Duttons, see why we hated the Yellowstone movie at first before changing our minds, and why we think Dallas ran so Yellowstone can fly.