The Reasons Why Ultimate Cowboy Rip From “Yellowstone” Makes Women Swoon

Anyone else counting down the days until "Yellowstone" returns?

By Meghan Dillon4 min read
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The story of the Dutton family’s battle to maintain sovereignty over their land has captured the hearts and minds of millions, and much of it has to do with the characters. Yellowstone does an incredible job of creating complex characters. They’re often morally gray at best (side note: this show isn’t ideal for those who are squeamish with violence), but that somehow makes us love them even more.

One of the best characters throughout all 5 seasons is Rip Wheeler, the handsome cowboy who captures the heart of the cold and elusive Beth Dutton. Women all over the internet are obsessed, and we can’t help but agree.

Mild spoilers for “Yellowstone” are ahead.

He’s Ruggedly Handsome and Masculine

There’s something inherently sexy about a cowboy. Like the bad boy trope, he represents a rugged masculinity that most women can’t get enough of. American culture has historically been intrigued and seduced by cowboys in the Wild West, from dime novels to old black and white John Wayne films. The American love for the cowboy continues today with songs like “Cowboy Take Me Away” by the Chicks and “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” by Toby Keith. The popularity of country artists like Morgan Wallen proves that pop culture still craves the rugged charm of a cowboy. Cowboys are not only sexy because they’re fit and hard-working; they’re leaders who often protect the vulnerable and dish out vigilante justice and order. 

All it takes is one look at Rip to see that he is indeed ruggedly handsome and masculine. He has the muscles any self-respecting man should have (and would need to have for the cowboy life), and he wears the cowboy uniform with natural swagger. The cowboy hat, the denim, the jacket! Safe to say, we're rummaging through our man's wardrobe immediately in pursuit of some cowboy flair.

But Rip's "cowboyness" is more than chaps deep – he is the ultimate cowboy. As the leader of the bunkhouse, it’s his job to make sure the ranch runs smoothly. Despite being their boss, it’s clear that he cares about the rest of the cowboys. The genuine friendship he has with them (specifically with Lloyd and Jimmy) shows that he has a soft side. A rugged, manly man with a heart of gold? Count us in!

He’s Loyal and Doesn’t Play into Victim Mentality

While Rip’s loyalty and unconditional love for Beth is swoon-worthy, his loyalty to the Dutton family as a whole is incredible to watch. Many characters on Yellowstone have dark backstories, but Rip’s childhood takes the cake as the most heartbreaking.

When Rip was only a teenager, he witnessed his abusive stepfather kill his mother and brother. Rip kills him in self-defense before running away, only to be discovered by John Dutton. John brings him onto the ranch, essentially giving him a second chance at life. If John had never found him, chances are Rip would have fallen into a life of crime and instability, but John gave him a home and a job. This makes Rip extremely grateful to John, and he displays his gratitude through his undying loyalty again and again.

Rip is willing to do anything for John at the drop of the hat (even kill). He was willing to demote himself in the bunkhouse when John wanted to teach Kayce a lesson by showing him how hard the cowboys work. It was the last thing he wanted to do, but Rip never allows his ego to get in the way of what needs to be done. His loyalty to John trumps everything else.

Rip’s loyalty to John is admirable, but it's also important to note that despite his tragic past, he never plays the victim. In fact, he refuses to be a victim of his circumstances. Considering everything he has been through, he could easily fall into a victim mentality, acting out and blaming others for his circumstances in life. Instead, however, he's able to recognize the good in John because he’s seen true evil in his stepfather, motivating him to be the best person he can be. He encourages those around him to take responsibility for their actions rather than succumbing to their pitfalls as well (you see this most prominently in Carter, the troubled kid he and Beth took under their wing).

He Loves Beth Fiercly for Who She Is

One of the main aspects of Yellowstone is Beth and Rip’s relationship, and it’s no coincidence that it’s the main reason why women love him. TikTok user Alishia Danelle says it perfectly. She says, “Why are we so in love with Rip Wheeler? It’s the way he loves Beth. She is a whole bag of crazy, and he is there rooting her on … It’s the masculinity and the way he protects and cares for Beth both mentally and physically.”

Cole Hauser, the actor who plays Rip, also believes this is the reason behind his popularity. When asked why he thinks women love Rip in an interview with Taste of Country, he says, “I would say loyalty, honor, love – those three alone, I think most women are looking for in a relationship with a man. I think the kind of passion that he has for Beth and the way he loves her, which is unequivocal. I think the way that he expresses his emotion, the friendship that he's expressed, the loyalty to the family.”

It’s no secret that Beth is a deeply flawed character who puts on a hard exterior to the world around her. She’s often cruel and ruthless (and was especially hard to root for in season 1), but inside lives a young woman riddled with guilt and shame about the tragic accident that killed her mother when she was a teenager. Rip has not only known and loved her since their teenage years but loves her for who she is. He sees the best in her and wants her to be a better person. He recognizes that the only way to accomplish that is to let her be herself and learn on her own, rather than shaming her and forcing her to change.

Rip Is the Best Man on Television

Many of Rip’s qualities are traditionally masculine, so it only makes sense why so many women are instinctively drawn to him. What’s interesting about Rip is how different he is from so many other men on television, especially in current times.

Tom Sandoval from Vanderpump Rules is the perfect example of a man who is the opposite of Rip. Vanderpump Rules is a reality show, and Yellowstone is fictional, but the differences between the two men are staggering. Rip works with his hands and is determined to get things done, while Tom is late for an important business meeting because he wants to get his nails done. Rip is willing to do anything for Beth and would kill to protect her, while Tom cheated on his girlfriend of a decade with one of her best friends. Rip’s loyalty to his friends is a truly beautiful thing to see, while Tom is willing to throw his best friend under the bus in order to get what he wants or in an attempt to make himself look better.

Rip is also the foil to plenty of fictional men on television. One of the most prominent examples is Kendall Roy in Succession. Despite craving his father’s approval, Kendall has no sense of loyalty or duty. He’ll make someone else the scapegoat to get what he wants and only views others as valuable if they can give him whatever he desires. He operates on a principle of putting himself first, and it doesn’t matter how many people he screws over, as long as he succeeds. Meanwhile, Rip is the opposite and knows that the most important thing in life is those you share it with.

Rip is a cut above even the other Yellowstone characters, especially John Dutton’s son Jamie. Jamie has betrayed his family so many times it’s safe to say it’s one of his favorite pastimes. From airing out their dirty laundry to the press in hopes of advancing his political career to every time he’s screwed Beth over (we lost count after the first two seasons, but spoiler alert: he’s the reason she’s infertile), it’s safe to say that he and Rip are on the opposite sides of the loyalty spectrum. Jamie has no sense of loyalty and no backbone, the two traits that define Rip’s character. Women love to see a man stand up for what he believes in and for the people he loves, which is why Rip is the most desirable man.

Closing Thoughts

Yellowstone is popular for many reasons, but one of them is that it does a wonderful job of creating complex characters. Although flawed, Rip Wheeler is a fan favorite among all, especially women, because he’s a masculine man who is fiercely loyal to the ones he loves. His romance with Beth can melt the heart of the greatest cynic, making him a delight for women to watch.

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