Brian Geraghty on What to Expect From ‘1923’s Rip Wheeler, Cowboy Zane Davis

Brian Geraghty in '1923'
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Emerson Miller/Paramount+

The fiercely loyal ranch foreman of 1923, Zane Davis, was described to Brian Geraghty as the Yellowstone prequel’s Rip Wheeler. When asked by TV Insider if there is anything Zane wouldn’t do for Jacob (Harrison Ford) and Cara Dutton (Helen Mirren) and their family, the answer was a swift “no.”

“He would do whatever he has to do, and sometimes he may not even agree with it,” the Chicago P.D. alum says. “He’ll challenge it a little bit, but when Jake or Cara says ‘This is what we’re doing,’ it’s like, OK, head down, let’s go to work.”

Zane isn’t related to the Duttons by blood, but just like Cole Hauser‘s Rip, he’s family. Geraghty says the Dutton family heads are the only parents he has, saying his relationship with them is “really important” to the rancher.

Helen Mirren & Brian Geraghty in '1923'

Emerson Miller/Paramount+

“They’re like parents to him. They’ve been great to him. Jacob helped him afford this life that he loves, which is being a cowboy,” the actor explains. “The thing about cowboys is they need to work. They love their jobs, and they love showing up to work every day. So I think that’s it. He is always doing something in action for them.”

Viewers didn’t learn much about Zane in the 1923 series premiere. But his place at the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch will become more clear as the series goes on, as will the other relationships Zane values most. Outside of his bond with Ford and Mirren’s characters, Geraghty says Zane’s closest connection is Jack Dutton (Darren Mann). Jack is the grandnephew of Jacob and Cara and son of John Dutton, Sr. (James Badge Dale) and Emma Dutton (Marley Shelton). Mirren told us ahead of the series premiere that Cara “stops Jacob from his excesses.” Geraghty says the dynamic is similar between Zane and Jack.

“I feel like a big brother” to Jack, Geraghty shares. “Jack is very impulsive and explosive, and I always keep an eye on him, but I feel like if I can harness that energy, he’s going to be a great cowboy. He likes to rodeo.”

It seems Zane and Jack’s bond is similar to Rip and Kayce Dutton’s (Luke Grimes), except these two are great buddies, whereas we know Rip and Kayce aren’t the best of friends.

“I think the idea with the Duttons is we want to get them ready to take over the Yellowstone. And I feel like that’s Zane’s job,” says Geraghty. “Zane doesn’t want to take over Yellowstone. He wants to help Jack become the king, in other words.”

Brian Geraghty in '1923'

Emerson Miller/Paramount+

This is where the similarities stop. Don’t expect the kind of Rip brutality to be seen in Zane. As Geraghty says, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

“When they said [Zane is like Rip], I said, ‘Well, you hired the wrong actor,'” Geraghty jokes. “And they’re like, ‘No, no, don’t be like Rip.’ I wanted to play it different. I want to play a more straight down the line, more earnest [cowboy], in a way. Rip is a great, fun character, but I felt like the way Zane was written, it didn’t have that in it, although they have the exact same jobs. I feel like the circumstances are the same — they will do anything [for the Duttons].”

So, you’re telling us Zane won’t throw a snake in a bag and fling it at his enemies? “I think Zane would go and try to have a conversation with him,” Geraghty says with a chuckle. “And if this guy didn’t like it, he may or may not pull out his gun.”

1923, Sundays, Paramount+