Piper Perabo's 'Yellowstone' Season 4 Character May Have Been Inspired By Her Real Life

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Piper Perabo's 'Yellowstone' Season 4 Character May Have Been Inspired By Her Real Life
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Saddle up, Yellowstone fans—the Dutton family drama isn't over yet. The series, which centers on the dysfunctional Duttons and their massive Montana cattle ranch, is set to return this Sunday, so there's plenty more to look forward to. In fact, Paramount+ will also be expanding the Yellowstone universe with two brand new shows—one prequel, one spinoff—in the works.

In September, the show shared a video with the first tantilizing hints at what could be ahead for the Dutton crew.

"The retaliation that those who wronged the Duttons are facing is one of incomparable scale," says actress Jen Landon, who plays ranch hand Teeter. Hauser had a slightly more succinct (and NSFW) take: "Everybody's gonna get f***ed up."

In a follow-up teaser in October, they built anticipation even further with a teaser trailer offering some ominous glimpses, including the sight of Jamie—who some fans suspect had a hand in the potentially lethal season three finale—with a gun trained on someone.

The video has fueled plenty of fan speculation as to who exactly Jamie could be facing off against: his biological father, one of the Dutton family's enemies, or even one of the Duttons themselves.

Here's what we know so far about the eagerly awaited fourth season.

When will season 4 premiere?

After months of anticipation, Paramount Network finally announced that Yellowstone season 4 will premiere with a two-hour special event on Sunday, November 7 on Paramount Network.

Even before season 3 came out, Paramount Network announced that it had already ordered a fourth season of the hit western drama. Filming was originally set to begin in June 2020, but was inevitably pushed back due to the global pandemic. Production finally began in late August, with Chief Joseph Ranch, which serves as the set for the Dutton homestead, confirming via Instagram in November 2020 that filming on season 4 had wrapped.

In July, Paramount debuted a teaser trailer (watch below) for the new season along with the announcement that the show would be returning in the fall with the promising tagline "Revenge will be worth the wait."

Later in the summer, the show's official Twitter account posted a behind the scenes video of the Yellowstone special effects workshop, explaining how they create some of the shows most literally explosive moments—like the bomb in Beth's office and the attack on Kayce that gave season three its dramatic cliffhanger ending. Check out the full video below.

The Cast

The season three finale of Yellowstone was filled with potentially deadly cliffhangers, leaving fans wondering which (if any) of their favorite ranchers will survive to carry on next season.

In December 2020, Costner gave fans even more to worry about in an interview with Good Day New York when he responded to questions about his character John Dutton's fate saying, "I can’t say. There’s an ending that you’re gonna see, hopefully it’s a powerful one for you." He added, "Just try to enjoy it right up to the end if you can."

Rumors immediately started to fly that Costner would be exiting the show, with some suggesting that the actor was unhappy with the demands of filming keeping him away from his family. A representative for Costner later told Gossip Cop that the story was untrue.

The remaining Dutton siblings played by Luke Grimes (Kayce), Kelly Reilly (Beth), and Wes Bentley (Jamie), and the other core cast like Cole Hauser (Rip) and Kelsey Asbille (Monica) are all expected to reprise their roles—at least as far as the first episode of the season, in order to resolve that shocking season 3 ending.

Speaking at a Deadline event in May, Reilly called the upcoming fourth season "most satisfying" but avoided revealing how big of a role she may play in it. Hauser added an extra layer of ominous anticipation, joking that the first episode of the season might be titled "Wrath of Rip" and saying that "Everybody’s in danger in Montana after that."

The show has also announced several new cast members. Among them, Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly, Covert Affairs), who is set to portray Summer Higgins, an environmental activist from Portland who opposes the state funded police force and industrialized farming. Not a character you can expect to be popular with the cattle-ranching Duttons—and one that may have been inspired by her real life.

"My husband, Steven Kay, is one of the executive producers of the show. He and I had dinner with Taylor Sheridan and his wife, Nicole, at the time when I had just been arrested for protesting Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court and it came up over dinner," she told Esquire. "We ended up talking about it for a long time after dinner and then the next season came around and he called with this part. And so I feel like it came out of that discussion that we had and then he sort of put it through his Yellowstone brain and made a character that makes sense in the Yellowstone world."

Perabo shared a few more details about her character's arc on the season in a video for Yellowstone's Instagram, explaining how Summer comes onto the scene as an animal activist and quickly becomes embroiled in the land fight over the new airport.

Other new cast members will include Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook), who will be picking up the Dutton family face-off with Market Equities as the company's CEO, Caroline Warner and Kathryn Kelly (Nashville) who will play Emily, a veterinarian tech who appears to be primed for romance with one of the ranch hands. Along with Perabo, the actresses are said to have recurring roles in season 4.

Meanwhile 15 year old Finn Little (Those Who Wish Me Dead) will be a new series regular, Carter, who is said to be a Rip-esque young boy who Beth takes under her wing on the ranch—news which is sure to excite fans if for no other reason than that it implies that the Dutton daughter made it out of season 3 alive.

Photo credit: Danno Nell
Photo credit: Danno Nell

Is season 4 the last season?

So far, no additional seasons have been announced for Yellowstone, but there also hasn't been any indication that season 4 will be its last.

In an interview in March 2021, star Cole Hauser (sporting his natural light hair) stoked fans hopes for more of the Duttons with word that season 5 was already in the works. "[Showrunner and writer Taylor Sheridan] is working on it right now," he told Kathryn Hall during a Hall Wines happy hour talk. "Season five is going to be wonderful. The way we ended season four—I can't give too much away, but the way season four ends, I think the audience... will be happily surprised."

He doubled down on the indications for another season later, adding, "For us as actors, and I think I can speak for everybody... we come together. This is now going into our fifth year."

While Paramount Network has yet to officially confirm season 5, considering that the show has continued to pull in big ratings and that the network is already expanding the existing Yellowstone universe, it would hardly be surprising to see it continue for several seasons to come.

It's also getting a prequel and a spinoff.

During the 2021 Super Bowl, Paramount+ launched a teaser trailer announcing a spinoff prequel show, 1883, that will tell the story of the Dutton family in the late 19th century as they make their way westward to establish their Montana homestead. The show will star Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, and Sam Elliott.

Paramount+ has also announced that the show will be getting another spinoff, which is currently operating under the working title 6666. While details about the project are scarce, the synopsis released along with the announcement seems to suggest that the show will be set on a modern West Texas ranch, with a history just as fraught and potentially dramatic as the Duttons's. Read the full synopsis below:

Founded when Comanches still ruled West Texas, no ranch in America is more steeped in the history of the West than the 6666. Still operating as it did two centuries before, and encompassing an entire county, the 6666 is where the rule of law and the laws of nature merge in a place where the most dangerous thing one does is the next thing ... The 6666 is synonymous with the merciless endeavor to raise the finest horses and livestock in the world, and ultimately where world class cowboys are born and made.

Sheridan, who is set to produce both new shows as part of a larger, multi-year deal with ViacomCBS and MTV Entertainment Group, also acquired the actual 266,000 acre property of the historic 6666 Ranch in May, though it's not clear if the real ranch will in any way feature in the new spin-off.

Along with the news of Yellowstone's debut date, MTV Entertainment Studios, the parent company for Paramount Network and Paramount+ announced that 1883 will premiere December 19, and a new show helmed by Sheridan, Mayor of Kingstown, will premiere November 14.

Sign up for Paramount+ here

Catch up on Yellowstone here:

Seasons 1, 2, and 3 of Yellowstone are available for purchase on Amazon Prime, or streaming through Peacock.

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