‘Yellowstone’ Actor Jefferson White Explains His Iconic Branding Scene
On Yellowstone, wrangler Jimmy Hurdstrom was branded with a red-hot "Y" iron three-and-a-half years ago, but actor Jefferson White remembers it very, very well. This story is among the first of what's sure to be dozens of behind-the-scenes explorations from the show's lovable star and his castmates.
As host of the new Official Yellowstone Podcast, White will visit with stars including Luke Grimes (Kayce Dutton), Cole Hauser (Rip Wheeler), Kelly Reilly (Beth Dutton), Jen Landon (Teeter) and more. The weekly podcast — presented by and recorded at Wynn Las Vegas — dropped Ep. 1 on Thursday (Dec. 9). White talked to Taste of Country's Billy Dukes about his new gig and some of his favorite theories and scenes from the show for the Taste of Country Nights, On Demand Podcast.
"I will never forget it," White says of his branding. If your memory is foggy or if you picked up Yellowstone during Season 4, Jimmy was brought to John Dutton's ranch at his grandfather's urging. At the time he was a drug addict, so John Dutton said the only way he'd hire him is if he could brand him, meaning a lifelong loyalty to the ranch and vice versa. Rip does the actual branding in a trailer. Series co-creator Taylor Sheridan directed this episode, titled "Daybreak."
"It was very important to him that that scene feel real," White begins. "Part of what was important to accomplishing that effect was smoke, sort or rising off the brand. The only way we figured out how to accomplish that was for Cole Hauser ... to use an actually super-heated brand."
So, while trying to act terrified during his very first scene on the show, White held a piece of wood with leather stretched over it, directly over his chest. Hauser then branded the leather, which was an inch or so off of White's chest.
"I will never forget the smell, which was very sort of potent and authentic," the actor adds. "And I'll never forget the heat that rose off of the brand at that moment."
The character of Jimmy has come a long way since that moment. In S1E1 he's blasting "Judith" by metal band a Perfect Circle, but by S4E7 he's establishing himself among cowboys on the legendary 6666 Ranch in West Texas. The full conversation with Taste of Country explores that strange road and the transformation both actor and character have gone through.