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Yellowstone Rip Wheeler Cole Hauser John Dutton Kevin Costner Paramount Network

John Dutton changed everything earlier this season on Yellowstone when he altered the hierarchy of the ranch. Giving his son, Kayce, leadership over the bunkhouse. John’s devoted right-hand man, Rip, was accordingly given a demotion. That move that included Rip losing a brutal fistfight to Kayce and having to take care of other tasks around the ranch.

Beth has been quite upset about the change. She has even tried to stir a bit of dissatisfaction in Rip over it. In spite of her efforts, he has stayed steady and not exhibited any resentment. As you may have surmised, Rip has a different take on things and a plan. Cole Hauser explained his Yellowstone character’s thoughts amid the shake-up in the “Behind the Story” featurette saying:

There's a bigger goal, and you'll see as the show progresses. Rip is smart enough to know that. This is just one sacrifice, but the endgame is different. It's gonna prove to John that not only do you need me, but I might be the best guy for the job.

This Yellowstone viewer is super intrigued to find out how this plays out. Rip has already done so much to prove the point of his ascension. However, Kayce has yet to let John down since he came back home. Based on what Rip has already demonstrated, he has proven he is up to the task of taking over the ranch.

Sadly, for Rip, John Dutton seems pretty resolute on one of his biological children taking the reins. Even though letting Rip do so would preclude a lot of the current drama. Could Jamie’s activity cause John to rethink his stance?

The excellent news for Rip is that John Dutton is paying attention to how he is handling the decision. Kevin Costner previously explained John’s thinking behind the move. In doing so, Costner pointed out that John is curious how Rip is going to handle things not going his way. So far, so good.

There is also the issue of Beth acquiring Pelican Ranch. I have a feeling she may want to tempt Rip into running that property, putting some distance between Rip and her dad. She has not mentioned anything to him, though. So, that may not be the case, after all. Maybe she is biding her time?

Like Cole Hauser said, Rip has a larger goal in mind. Plus, he already told Beth that whether the Duttons feel that way about him or not, they are his family. Loyalty is a vital thing to Rip and him leaving to run a ranch away from John's watchful eye does not fit.

Unless it is some sort of satellite ranch to the Yellowstone. Regardless, Rip has continued to prove himself in Season 2. He went to bat for Kayce during Yellowstone’s latest outing. As for Kayce, he still seems uncertain about his place at the ranch. Him continuing to pursue it is not helping things with his wife, Monica.

Rip is coming into the next episode with a lot of John Dutton-recognized credit to his name. The patriarch even seemed to have a flicker of self-doubt about his choice during the latest installment. He saw Rip walking through the sprinklers doing his new/old tasks after Jamie came back home. It was a startling juxtaposition.

The good news is that John Dutton is no longer on the brink of death, so there is a lot of time left for him to figure things out. Will Rip’s plan pay off? Will he and Beth ever get together in a long-term romantic pairing, per my wishlist? Or will that remain unfulfilled, right along with a Kayce/Monica reunion (for now)? Tune in and find out.

New episodes of Yellowstone air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on the Paramount Network. The Western is part of summer television’s fresh content.

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