‘Yellowstone’ Star Danny Huston on the Consequences of Dan’s Fate in the Premiere

Spoiler Alert
Paramount Network

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 2 premiere of Yellowstone, “A Thundering.”]

The Yellowstone Season 1 finale left one character’s life hanging in the balance, but the Paramount Network drama didn’t make fans wait another week to find out what happened.

Though the cowboys did appear to be killing Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston) by hanging in the Season 1 finale, we saw in the Season 2 premiere that he did survive. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll stay alive. As John Dutton (Kevin Costner) warned him, he’ll hang him himself next time — and he won’t cut him down.

TV Insider spoke with Huston about his character’s fate, what to expect in Season 2, and that early Season 3 renewal.

Let’s start with Dan Jenkins’ fate. Did you know before you read the Season 1 finale script what would be happening to your character and that he’d be surviving it?

Danny Huston: I did.

(Paramount Network)

What were your thoughts on his near-death?

The noose is not only tightening around his neck, it’s also tightening around the story, and things are becoming tighter, like the skin of a drum. And many things are starting to happen and some sinister ingredients are being introduced and that requires sometimes an alliance between enemies. But nothing is quite that simple in a [Yellowstone co-creator] Taylor Sheridan screenplay.

Did you get the sense that something had to happen to Dan and there had to be consequences given how the cowboys handled some things?

Yes, but the consequences are story consequences as well. They’re not really only consequences that surround Dan Jenkins. Dan Jenkins really in a sense is a character who’s an outsider and he’s a sort of eco-friendly land developer who believes that he can bring the dream of this grand landscape and very majestic palate to people who wouldn’t see it otherwise. But the mere fact of him being an outsider means that he’s going to create a certain amount of antagonism with the real cowboys, cowboys that city boys want to be.

Shouldn’t his near-death change him, at least a bit? But we didn’t really get the sense it did in the premiere.

Yes, the near-death experience is a little bit like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, that old Western where what Dan Jenkins really is trying to do is he’s trying to fight these people by the book of law. He’s trying to work with the morality that he understands, but he’s starting to doubt if that’s possible but still stay true to his own self and the question really is is, will Dan Jenkins turn?

What’s coming up between Dan and John this season? We had that great scene between them in the premiere. Any more like it?

As I said, there will be another ingredient that’s introduced and when you have a greater enemy, sometimes you have to join forces with people that you don’t like. But as I said, it’s not quite as simple as that.

(Paramount Network)

Do you think part of Jenkins will be relieved to hear about John’s health? Since he’ll have a better chance at making good on his word to make John watch him take Yellowstone?

Any harm that happens to others is not something that Dan Jenkins really takes a great pleasure in. He still has a moral core. I think as long as John has a fight in him, he’s more than happy to wish him all the wrongs in the world, but if he detects weakness with him or with Beth, his moral compass is such that he feels for these people.

At the heart of the show is this dysfunctional family, to put it mildly, but the family’s growing. The Yellowstone family’s growing, and that’s where there’s complexities that are delving into the human psyche.

Do you think Dan is at all worried about John making good on his threat at the end of their conversation in the premiere?

Yes, but by the actions that John has taken, he also knows he has one up on him, so his knowledge and his understanding of Yellowstone is something he feels gives him strength. But he still needs to awaken another side of himself.

It’s, in a way, a story about America and how the country has been born. A lot of birth in America is through violence and there’s nobody better than Taylor Sheridan to write that subject, the subject of the birth of America. The character of Dan Jenkins is a more civilized America, but will that civilized quality in Dan Jenkins survive the violence that is brought upon it?

(Paramount Network)

Congratulations on the early Season 3 renewal! What do you think it says about the show and how it resonates with viewers?

I’m delighted that people are enjoying it. I think it’s as simple as that. As long as the show has an audience, there’s a lot of story here and the palate is rich. There’s many characters, new characters, that are being introduced, and a lot to explore in this majestic landscape.

What can you say about those new characters?

There are these brothers that will enter the scene, so to speak. They’re quite sinister. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to mention their names, but they’re enough of a threat, as I said, to make enemies require an alliance to beat a bigger enemy.

Yellowstone, Wednesdays, 10/9c, Paramount Network