Why ‘Yellowstone’s Beth & Rip Is the Best Romance on TV Right Now

Kelly Reilly and Cole Hauser in 'Yellowstone'
Paramount Network
Beth & Rip - Yellowstone Collector's Edition Magazine

Beth & Rip

Yellowstone Collector's Edition

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Flame-haired Beth Dutton and man-in-black Rip Wheeler are a match made in cowboy heaven in Yellowstone. They’re both rough, tough, and the person you’d want on your side in a bar brawl. That shared scrappiness is probably why it took them so long to tie the knot. (They fight as passionately as they kiss!) Now that Kelly Reilly and Cole Hauser‘s fiery lovebirds have wed, you can bet that knot is cinched tight.

But marriage doesn’t mean they own each other. Never. One reason they got together in the first place as teens was a free-spirited disregard for the rules. The rich cattle rancher’s beautiful daughter and a scruffy, strapping farmhand? No way that’s going to work! This pair proves conventional wisdom wrong time and again.

And proves us right in saying they’re the greatest love story to hit TV in recent years. Their passion sizzles like that of star-crossed lovers Claire and Jamie Fraser on Starz’s Outlander or Meredith and Derek (R.I.P., McDreamy) on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. They have the scheming, criminal minds and mobster loyalty of Tony and Carmela on The Sopranos and the “meant to be” vibe of Friends’ Ross and Rachel — although it’s unlikely Beth would make the famous move of getting off a Paris-bound plane to be with him.

And Rip, well, he wouldn’t ask her to. Beth’s independence is a huge part of why this love story is so magnetic. It subverts the usual romantic storyline of a man leaving a good woman behind to find his fortune. Instead, she was the one who left the ranch, went to the big city and made a success of herself in the financial world. He kept rounding up cattle — and doing the very dirty work that kept Yellowstone Ranch in the Dutton family’s hands.

Beth’s return brought them together on a “first date” that included whiskey and wolves. (Making every dating show on TV look bland by comparison!) The dance back into each other’s arms was dangerous, prickly, exposed and brutal, but ultimately inevitable. This has never been a will-they-or-won’t-they story. It’s more, “What will they blow up when they do?”

Making these two wild personalities so believable are the actors, Reilly and Hauser. Both fearlessly embrace their characters’ cruelty to the outside world. Yet Hauser’s very wrinkles seem to soften when Rip sees Beth. And the signature glares the green-eyed Reilly slings at enemies dissolve for Rip (well, most of the time). The tough twosome even crack rare smiles in each other’s company. The actors save their vulnerability for shared Beth and Rip moments, making us take a deep breath every time they’re in a frame together.

Yellowstone - Cole Hauser & Kelly Reilly

Paramount Network

And that breath is needed. Their love, crazy as it is, provides a welcome respite from the violent ongoing battle for Yellowstone. It’s also a reminder of the reason that ranch is worth fighting for: It’s home, the place where love happens.

But that place has also served up plenty of trauma and trouble for both. They share a rescuer, a flawed one, Beth’s father and Rip’s boss, John Dutton (Kevin Costner).

He kept loving and encouraging Beth even after the death of her mother, who in her dying words blamed her daughter for causing the fatal riding accident. He took in a teen Rip, who was hiding in a barn; he’d killed his abusive father after the man murdered his family. Their undying loyalty to the Dutton patriarch bonds them. Who else could understand the hold he has on their lives?

We can’t wait to see where this Montana power couple goes next. Sure, they’ve taken their vows. But rules? Who needs ’em?

This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s Beth & Rip: Yellowstone Collector’s Edition issue, available online and on newsstands now.

Yellowstone, Season 5 Premiere, Sunday, November 13, 8/7c, Paramount Network