Rip Wheeler is a ranch hand on the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, one of the biggest cattle ranches in the United States. He is essentially played by Cole Hauser, but Kyle Red Silverstein played a younger version in several flashbacks.
Beware of 'spoilers' from here on down!
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Family[edit | edit source]
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 how his father was murdering his mother. Rip was too late to save anyone but himself when he cracked his father's skull with a frying pan, killing him. 
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 what happened. John Dutton decided then and there that he would give Rip a second chance and adopted him onto his family's Ranch. 
Love life[edit | edit source]
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.  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. 
Work[edit | edit source]
Yellowstone Dutton Ranch[edit | edit source]
Click here for the main page of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.
To work on the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, Rip takes a branding iron to the chest. He is marked with the ranch brand to prove he will accept "a second chance" after having killed his father.  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.
Incident(s)[edit | edit source]
- 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 kills the man but makes the death look like a lab accident. 
- 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. 
- 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. 
- 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. 
- 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. 
- Rip is a confidant in a killing by Jamie Dutton. Together they make it appear as if the victim died in a kayaking accident. 
- When two masked men terrorize the Dutton family by attacking Beth Dutton, Rip is the first to notice 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. 
- 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. 
- After Tate is kidnapped by a white supremacist militia at the direction of Beck brothers, Rip takes part in the rescue effort by acting as a decoy to draw fire away from others.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
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
Images[edit | edit source]
Videos[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Season 1, episode 8: The Unravelling: Part 1
- Season 2, episode 5: Touching Your Enemy
- Season 2, episode 6: Blood the Boy
- Season 1, episode 2: Kill the Messenger
- Season 1, episode 7: A Monster Is Among Us
- Season 1, episode 9: The Unravelling: Part 2
- Season 2, episode 2: New Beginnings
- Season 2, episode 7: Resurrection Day
- Season 2, episode 9: Enemies by Monday