Yellowstone star shares hidden meaning in Rip flashback confession

Yellowstone: The cast discuss the ranch being split

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Yellowstone season five may have been off the air this week in its usual weekly slot but the fallout from episode seven, The Dream Is Not Me, continues to make it one of the most talked about episodes. In it, fans saw how John Dutton (played by Kevin Costner) decided he’d have to split the bunkhouse in order to send a group south and keep his cattle safe while Paramount viewers also got an insight into Rip’s (Cole Hauser) early days at the ranch.

With the episode centring on John’s decision to send a number of the bunkhouse south to keep his herd safe from brucellosis, the episode transported back to see how young Rip (Kyle Red Silverstein) and young John (Josh Lucas) previously dealt with a similar incident.

During the flashback, young Rip was tasked with accompanying fellow cowboy Rowdy (Kai Caster) on an expedition away from the ranch but things were never going to run smoothly.

Rowdy had taken an interest in young Beth (Kylie Rogers) and when he taunted Rip about this, the youngster lashed out.

After some fisticuffs, Rowdy took things one step too far and removed a knife, prompting Rip to strike his fellow rancher over the head with a rock.

Rowdy was left unconscious and bleeding out in the rather chilly temperatures and despite coming around, it was clear he wasn’t in a good way.

Despite Rip putting him in such a state, Rowdy encouraged him to lie to John about what happened given the ranch’s strict rule on fighting, instead insisting Rip told the ranch owner he’d fallen off and been trampled by his horse.

Rip headed back to John’s to get help but instead of creating a lie to try and save his own skin, he came clean about what he did after hearing Rowdy speak ill of John’s daughter.

Instead of turning Rip in, John and young Lloyd (Forrest Smith) accompanied young Rip to Rowdy where they discovered he’d died.

From then on out, Rip pledged his undying loyalty to John and the ranch as the Dutton patriarch vowed to keep him from facing prison for killing Rowdy. 

The moment was particularly poignant as a number of the show’s stars have since highlighted its significance in setting the groundwork for the honourable and loyal ranch manager fans know today.

Speaking on episode 37 of Paramount’s Stories from the Bunkhouse, Jefferson White, Denim Richards and Ian Bohen delved into the details.

“I really loved watching those flashbacks to young Rip and especially this episode that brutal fight with Rowdy,” White began.

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Bohen then shed light on the deeper meaning of the ordeal, weighing in: “I think what’s great about that choice that young Rip makes to go to JD instead of, you know, dumping Rowdy in the river and say, ‘Hey, I did this,’ and take accountability. 

“It shows you that he was that person, that was his nature as a young man.”

Richards added: “Rip is very, very loyal and his relationships really mean something to him. 

“To see it start from such an early age, it gives us a much greater appreciation for Rip the man.”

Jimmy star White also highlighted another hidden meaning from the moment, commenting: “You see some of the roots for some of that conflict that start later with Walker (Ryan Bingham) and Beth (Kelly Reilly).

“The way that Beth sort of, god bless her, deliberately antagonises Rip and also just how much Rip and Beth have changed over the course of Yellowstone.”

Rip’s unwavering loyalty will undoubtedly be put to the test, however, once he heads south with a number of the bunkhouse, leaving John’s forces at home stretched thin like never before.

Yellowstone season 5 returns to the Paramount Network in the USA on Sunday, January 1 and on Paramount+ in the UK on Monday, January 2.

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