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Yellowstone Prequel Cast A Sons Of Anarchy Vet To Play A Friend Of The Dutton Family

Though it’s already been a long and arduous(ish) span of time for Yellowstone fans waiting to see more from the ever-expanding Dutton family, the highly anticipated fifth season will finally arrive in November, and it won’t be long after that when the prequel 1923 drops on Paramount+. We now know many of the big names that will populate Paradise Valley and beyond for the spinoff, with Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren heading up a star-studded cast. But Taylor Sheridan & Co. aren’t done dropping awesome actor updates, as it was revealed that Terminator 2 icon and Sons of Anarchy vet Robert Patrick will be mixing it up with the Duttons in the early decades of the 20th century.

More specifically, Patrick will be portraying a character named William McDowell, who is not only a friend of the Dutton clan, but is also the local sheriff, according to Deadline. That connection immediately makes a lot of sense, given what we know about the way Kevin Costner’s John Dutton lives and handles himself in Montana. Which is to say, that fam has likely always made a point of having friendly faces in high places, going back a full century.

Granted, it doesn’t always work out for those friends, with Donnie Haskell parting ways with life in a pretty dramatic fashion in Season 4. And Robert Patrick is no stranger to playing characters who meet their timely and untimely demises, so I don’t think anyone should necessarily place any life-affecting bets on Sheriff McDowell making it to the next election cycle. While Yellowstone itself usually opts to kill off villains as opposed to protagonists, the first offshoot prequel 1883 shot an arrow right through that idea. And since Sheridan has spoken about the flagship series likely needing to kill off some of its darlings in Season 5, I’m not considering anyone to be truly safe. 

Les Packer in Sons of Anarchy

(Image credit: Hulu)

It wasn’t clearly stated whether Patrick’s new role will be as a series regular or more of a recurring part. As the new western drama  takes place roughly 40 years after James Dutton first settled the Montana land that would become the family’s claim to fame, it stands to reason that the area will still be in the midst of growing and expanding, so it’s possible the local sheriff may be a daily presence in the Duttons’ lives during that era.

With an acting career that dates back to the late ‘80s, Robert Patrick has lit up the screen for a slew of TV projects over the years, from his vamp-heavy years on True Blood and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series to his starring role in CBS’ Scorpion to his more recent work in the streaming hits Goliath and DC's Peacemaker. And let’s not forget that the actor only this year put his dulcet tones to work as Wolverine for the Marvel podcast Wastelanders: Wolverine. Given the breadth of projects he’s been involved with, it was only a matter of time before he landed within the Yellowstone franchise. 

In Sons of Anarchy, Patrick played the San Bernardino chapter President Les Packer, a role that he later reprised for the spinoff Mayans M.C. Which is noteworthy here since Taylor Sheridan was a major part of the biker drama’s cast in its early seasons. He portrayed the judgmental but largely moral Deputy Chief David Hale until the third season premiere, and Sheridan has since spoken about his negative experiences behind the scenes are part of what led to him putting his focus on writing over acting. 

Robert Patrick got some congratulatory messages from plenty of fans and former co-stars after he shared the news on Twitter, including one from fellow S.O.A. vet Titus Welliver, who is also now part of the DC TV universe as Titans' take on Lex Luther. Here's how that exchange went:

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1923 will feature Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren as Jacob and Cara Dutton, James’ brother and sister-in-law, respectively, while James Badge Dale is filling the previously introduced role of John Dutton Sr. Marley Shelton will play John’s wife Emma, the mother of Darren Mann’s Jack Dutton. And fans will likely see someone else joining the family through marriage, and there’s definitely a chance for someone to get pregnant and start up another branch of the family tree.

1923 will be available for anyone with a Paramount+ subscription when it debuts in December. Head to our TV premiere schedule to see what else is hitting the small screen throughout the rest of 2022.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.