Exclusive interview: Yellowstone star Ian Bohen on Ryan, the bunkhouse boys, and more

Ryan On Yellowstone
Ian Bohen’s bunkhouse boy Ryan is a solid force of nature for Yellowstone. Pic credit: Paramount

Ian Bohen’s steady and capable character Ryan is a solid addition to Paramount TV’s hit series, Yellowstone.

One thing is for certain, Bohen came to this fun and fascinating role prepared, and he has also been a sponge soaking up amazing intel around Western iconic actors like Forrie Smith.

In a Monsters & Critics’ exclusive interview, we learned that Smith is a bit of a set sage and a valuable player who mixes it up with the characters of Ryan and the other bunkhouse boys, keeping ranch owner John Dutton’s (Kevin Costner) interests safe under Rip’s (Cole Hauser) watchful eye.

Yellowstone’s third season has had major plot twists revealed during the run thus far and has set up the drama perfectly for a no-miss Season 4. The Dutton ranch appears to never be out of harm’s way or out of potential risk for seizure.

While the Duttons have each warred within their immediate family, John Dutton stays focused to save their family’s lands and their legacy.

Loyal, steady, and a quiet force, Bohen’s character Ryan is a secret weapon in the assorted and colorful personnel employed by the Duttons as they navigate the government, Native American interests, and greedy developers who nibble around the edges of their expansive ranch.

In fun extras for the series, these bunkhouse boys — Ian Bohen, Denim Richards, and Jefferson White — are filmed as they talk shop. It covers the ins and outs of production to learning to handle their quirky professional horses and regaling each other with real-life cowboy tales from Forrie J. Smith, cast on the series as Lloyd Pierce.

Bohen revealed that Smith’s input is invaluable as he has been acting for 40 years and has genuine cowboy cred and experience.

Monsters & Critics spoke with Ian Bohen about what lies ahead in Season 3. His character Ryan has always been a reliable and stable addition to the Dutton ranch. With the way that showrunner Taylor Sheridan throws out curveballs, it’s anyone’s guess as to how Season 3 finishes.

One thing is for sure: Ryan will ride on the Dutton ranch in Season 4.

Monsters & Critics: You are a Carmel, California boy. You grew up right by the ocean in an incredible setting. Yet on Yellowstone, and your early film role on Wyatt Earp, Your Western riding and roping skillset is on point. You look like a cowboy. You really do.

Ian Bohen: Yes. I grew up right on the peninsula. I was lucky that my mother’s dad, my grandfather Vick, had a cattle ranch in Wisconsin of all places. I would spend my summers there when I was young. I learned how to ride and to shoot and to just be somewhat useful in the mix.

And that’s something I’ve always loved. I loved the lifestyle and I worked as a stable boy when I lived in San Dimas. I’ve always been around the animals doing something or other, and it’s helpful for the show. It’s a very good addition. I got lucky.

M&C: I’ve talked to Denim Richards and I’ve talked to Wendy Moniz, and in their interviews, we discussed the slow boil nature of this series, much like Netflix series, Ozark. Many people are just discovering it into the third season and they’re catching up quickly. Have you found that to be true with people you’ve talked to?

Ian: I think, yes. Because we’ve been talking a lot about pace lately is as friends and family are watching the season and those that have seen it from the beginning, we are used to a different tempo…

And then this season, they realized that we’re still doing the same unraveling and detonation, but we are doing it in sort of a different dimension.

So it may not be every episode something blows up or there’s a gunfight, but it’s the same kind of nuclear reaction what’s happening within the characters, in their little sub-stories that will plant the seeds for the next season…however long the show goes and makes it more intricate.

So we’re doing the same kind of hard attack on the audience, but in a more elegant way, if that makes sense.

M&C: what I find really enjoyable about this series are the tertiary stories that are being told on YouTube. The Stories from the Bunkhouse, Talk about that…

Ian: The bunkhouse boys was a really neat, interstitial idea that Paramount came up with to integrate with the series… There’s so many different sets of characters that don’t even really know each other because we always work in different worlds.

And it gave us a chance to be with people that we only know peripherally, and to dive into their stories and ask questions where we can be even somewhat like fans.

Jeff [Jefferson White], myself, and Denim [Richards] love to talk to Gil [Birmingham] and to Wendy [Moniz] and to Mo [Brings Plenty]. Talking to them about the things that they do that we read about. We don’t get to see their shots and then we get to watch it on TV.

So it gives us a chance to have a relationship with them as sort of an insider, but also as fans. We have the most fun finding out new things, telling jokes and stories about old things, and bringing in new people to have the experience with.

We have the guest element, a new person [is introduced] each time. It’s a ball and such a great idea. I think it’s people really enjoying watching it,

M&C: Your favorite character in the bunkhouse?

Ian: I like to watch Rip [Cole Hauser]- he’s sort of a hybrid. He is in and out of the bunkhouse, he’s the boss. So I would pick him, although he’s not truly there for, in terms of a full day-to-day.

Gosh, I love Teeter (Jennifer Landon) is just so fascinating to me. She’s such a wonderful addition that she just makes me giggle, we’re all so different. I love Jefferson, Jake [Ream] is hilarious. Walker [Ryan Bingham]…he’s got his own thing. and I always say, I’m just kind of the pot-stirrer that pokes at each character that’s meant to highlight them in their own way from time to time.

M&C: Have you learned a lot from Forrie?

Ian: Yes. We constantly are watching him do things, and Forrie’s got this motto. He says everything that a cowboy does, from the way they dress to the way they tie a knot in a scarf, is for a very specific reason.

And it’s all utilitarian. So Forrie says, ‘this is why we do this.’ Everything has a purpose. So we’re trying to learn the efficiency of the cowboy, whether it’s throwing a rope or how you tie a saddle on, or anything.

We are always looking over our shoulders thinking, what is he [Forrie] doing? How is he doing it and why? So he’s insightful and fun to just have around and then you get him talking and then you are hearing cowboy history. So that’s fun too.

M&C: How do you anticipate COVID and restraints on production? How will season four go down, I believe you’re going to Montana for that, correct?

Ian: Yes. This is all kind of third-hand info. I don’t have a for sure on anything yet, but Montana would be the home of Yellowstone from now on. I think it was reported that Utah gave up our tax credit to the show and that made it prohibitive.

So we decided no… we’re going to do the whole thing in Montana.

We have a little bit of a leg up because we’re outside most of the time. And that makes it a little bit easier to distance and be compliant with the protocol. I imagine we’ll have the vigorous testing several times a week, different zones of people on set can only interact with them, their own zones.

Can’t cross-contaminate, even things like equipment, different zones where people can’t touch something. And, then the hardest part is the requirements to basically if you’re not at work, you’re at home, that’s it? There’s no going anywhere.

Yellowstone airs Sundays at 9/8c on Paramount Network.

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