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Rip Wheeler: A Quick Guide About Yellowstone Dutton Ranch’s Hand

Rip Wheeler
  • Arden is a Senior Country Music Journalist for Country Thang Daily, specializing in classic hits and contemporary chart-toppers.
  • Prior to joining Country Thang Daily, Arden wrote for Billboard and People magazine, covering country music legends and emerging artists.
  • Arden holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Tennessee, with a minor in Music Studies.

Rip Wheeler, played by Cole Hauser, is Yellowstone Dutton Ranch’s ranch hand and is one of the series’ main cast. He was introduced at the show’s debut episode, Daybreak, back in 2018. But the main question hanging right now for Rip after an action-packed season three and bloodbath cliffhanger is: Will Rip Wheeler stick around longer, or will he finally meet his demise? 

Yellowstone’s Season 4 is set to premiere in the fall this year, there’s no date yet, but the teaser for the upcoming season is already out. Kevin Costner is excited for fans to see it. And the fans are equally excited as well. But in the meantime, here’s a quick guide about Cole Hauser’s character and a glimpse about the actor himself. 

Who is Rip Wheeler?

RELATED: Unleash Your Inner Fierce With These Beth Dutton Quotes

If you have already started the series, then you’ll surely recognize Rip in his signature black jacket, western-style hat, silk scarf, and black gloves. And it’s definitely hard not to get drawn to this brute, grade A-charmer of a character. 

Rip grew up on a pig farm in Miles City, Montana, with his young brother and mother. But one day in July 1997, his father, who had long been divorced with his mom, came back to murder them. He was knocked unconscious while his brother was instantly killed. And when he came back to his senses, he saw his father killing his mother. In a moment, he cracked his father’s skull using a frying pan; unfortunately, there was no one else to save but himself. 

He was found sleeping in a hayloft after where he first met John Dutton (Kevin Costner), owner of one of the biggest cattle ranches in the US, Dutton Ranch. Dutton asked him to confirm what he had heard, and afterward, he decided to give him a second chance. He was then adopted by John into his ranch. 

Rip soon became the ranch’s foreman, leading the men in their work. But aside from being John’s ally, he is also linked romantically to John’s only daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly). The two shared a mutual attraction ever since he started working there. And no matter what happened, they were in it for each other. Although, their relationship faced some tension when Walker (Ryan Bingham) came in. The two maintained a bad relationship until Walker finally left the ranch. 

Who plays the role of Rip Wheeler?

Rip Wheeler is played by the veteran TV and film actor Cole Hauser. Hauser was born on March 22, 1975, in Santa Barbara, California to parents Cass Warner and Wings Hauser. There is hardly any detail about his early life except that his parents divorced when he was two, and he had to move around a lot with his mother for 12 years.

At 16, he dropped out of high school to pursue acting. He made his film debut in 1992 with School Ties, co-starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. He is known for his role as Benny O’Donnell in the classic coming-of-age period film Dazed and Confused by Richard Linklater. Although the film was a commercial failure grossing only $8 million, it remained to be a popular one. He also appeared in Good Will Hunting, Pitch Black, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and Olympus Has Fallen, to name a few

Aside from films, he also appeared in TV series, and his most famous TV role was in the police drama Rogue and crime series Chase. 

He is currently married to former actress and photographer Cynthia Daniel. They have three children – Ryland, Colt Daniel, and Steely Rose. As of 2021, he has an estimated net worth of $10 million. 

How did Hauser get the role of Rip Wheeler?

RELATED: Here’s The List of Yellowstone Soundtrack You Can Listen to While Waiting For The Season 4

Actually, Hauser was Taylor Sheridan’s first choice for the character, but it took a bit of convincing to get him on board. While he was a big fan of Costner as well as Sheridan’s work and ultimately the character of Rip, it was still considered a bit of a gamble to sign in a small-screen full-on cowboy-centric Western as the likes have not played well in recent years. Not to mention that Paramount was a fledgling cable channel at the time. 

Nevertheless, he took it, and it definitely paid off. The series became a breakout hit, and Rip Wheeler has become one of the series’ fan-favorite characters. And it’s so intriguing what the future will hold for his character!

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