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Western Series Wiki

Rip Wheeler is a ranch hand on the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, one of the biggest cattle ranches in the United States. He is played by Cole Hauser, with Kyle Red Silverstein playing a younger version of the character in several flashbacks.

Beware of 'spoilers' from here on down!

Personal life[]


Rip Wheeler grew up near Miles City, MT, on a pig farm. His parents divorced when he and his brother were young. On July 14, 1997, Rip's father came to the farm to kill his sons and ex-wife. While his brother lay dead on the floor and Rip had been knocked unconscious, Rip regained consciousness and saw his father was stabbing his mother. Rip was too late to save anyone but himself when he cracked his father's skull with a frying pan, killing him. [1]

Afterward, Rip was found somewhere sleeping in a hay loft. The sheriff suggested that John Dutton of the Montana Livestock Association should have a look. Rip confirmed the story Dutton had heard about, exclaiming, “I should’ve killed that motherfucker sooner before.” John Dutton decided then and there that he would give Rip a second chance and adopted him onto his family's Ranch. [1]

Love life[]

Rip has a soft spot for Beth Dutton, the daughter of his boss. Ever since he started to live on the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch in the 90's there has been a mutual attraction between the two. [2] As time passed, they went through good and bad times, but they were always drawn to each other again in one way or another.

Tension developed between Rip and Walker, another ranch hand invited on the ranch by Rip himself, when Walker took a liking to Beth as well. The two men kept a bad relationship until Walker left the ranch. [3]


When her father made her see it was unlikely Rip would ever propose to her, Beth took matters into her own hands. She asked her father's consent for the marriage and proposed to Rip when he came home after a bad day at work. She gave him a ring and offerd him her hand, saying: "The only thing I ask is you outlive me, so I never have to live another day without you." He calmly replied: "I can try and do that." Enough for Beth to declare it settled: they will get married. [4]


Even though they had been engaged for a while, they got married pretty impulsively once Beth had set her mind to it and had forced a Father of the Catholic Church, named McGreggor, to participate as the marriage officiant. Their marriage took place at the ranch house and John Dutton attended the ceremony. Rip's lifelong cowboying tutor Lloyd was the groom's best man and Rip's contemporary counterpart Carter was present as well. [5]


Yellowstone Dutton Ranch[]

Click here for the main page of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.
Rip is marked with the ranch brand to prove he will accept "a second chance" after having killed his father. [1] Rip works his way up as time passes, eventually gaining authority over other ranch hands and even becoming the foreman of the ranch. John tells him to do "what is best for the ranch." Rip identifies his job as protecting the family. At the end of season 2, John indicates in a letter he thinks of Rip as a son. Rip commits a number of felonious murders and acts as an enforcer for John Dutton's criminal activities as part of his work for the ranch.


  • When Kayce Dutton (on the Res side) kills his brother-in-law who has just murdered Kayce's brother (on the Yellowstone side) during a feud over cattle that had "wandered" (after the fence was cut) onto Reservation land adjacent to the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, prosecution depends on the report of a medical examiner. John sends Rip to handle the M. E. It turns out that the examiner smokes embalming fluid every now and then, and, not wanting to negotiate with a drug addict, Rip murders the man as a matter of convenience but makes the death look like a lab accident. [6]
  • When a bear is bothering the ranch and Rip rides out to find the bear's whereabouts or to kill it, he stumbles upon two Asian tourists trying to hide from the bear. They are hanging from a cliff ,and he tries to pull them up one by one, but the two quarrel and both fall from the cliff. Just then the bear comes closing in on Rip, and he has just enough time to shoot and kill it. [7]
  • While Rip leads the way for an officer of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service to see the bear, a horsefly makes her horse jump and sends it running. Horse and rider stumble and fall, the horse gets caught in barbed wire, and the rider is pierced by a fence post through her belly. Rip calls in a helicopter to save her. [1]
  • With his boss's son Kayce and some other ranch hands, Rip takes part in the hanging of Dan Jenkins, an enemy of the ranch. They could let him die then and there but instead use it as a warning and let him go. [8]
  • Friction between Rip and Kayce over the years they have known each other has led to more than a few fist fights--all won by Rip. At one point, they take it further than a few blows, and Rip lets Kayce win to let him have the most authority on the ranch, just as a favor to his boss. [9]
  • Rip is an accessory to murder in a killing by Jamie Dutton. Together they make it appear as if the victim died in a kayaking accident. [3]
  • When two masked men terrorize the Dutton family by attacking Beth Dutton, Rip receives a text from Beth about the situation and comes to help her aid. He is just in time to save her and kill her attackers, as her assistant has already been killed. [10]
  • After he is assaulted, fellow ranch hand Jimmy's grandfather, Dirk Hurdstram, dies of a ruptured blood vessel in his brain. Jimmy is determined to take revenge and is about to do it his own way when Rip stops him. Rip and some other ranch hands help Jimmy kill Ray and Blake, his grandfather's killers, in such a way that no one would find out about it. [11]
  • After Tate is kidnapped by a white supremacist militia at the direction of the Beck brothers, Rip takes part in the rescue effort by acting as a decoy to draw fire away from others.


Check out the table(s) below to find out in which episodes Wheeler made an appearance.

O = appeared in this episode
- = did not appear in this episode

Season 1[]

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09

Season 2[]

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Season 3[]

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Season 4[]

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

Season 5[]

01 02 03 04 05 06 07
08 09 10 11 12 13 14
O * * * * * *

* To be announced