Yellowstone Star Talks About His Surprising Number Of Death Scenes

Yellowstone Kevin Costner John Dutton Neal McDonough Malcolm Beck Paramount Network
(Image credit: Paramount Network)
(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Kevin Costner’s John Dutton encountered his most formidable foe last season on Yellowstone when the modern Western introduced Neal McDonough’s Malcolm Beck. McDonough’s Beck was a major villain that changed Yellowstone forever and subsequently led to McDonough adding another death scene to his long list.

Throughout his run on Yellowstone, Beck did numerous nasty things, including killing cows, murder, kidnapping, and giving orders to beat and rape someone. All of which ultimately led to him getting killed off in the Season 2 finale. It was not the first time that Neal McDonough had to film a death scene.

On Yellowstone, Neal McDonough’s Malcolm met his end by getting shot as the Duttons searched for Tate. Reflecting on his characters’ deaths, including on Yellowstone and FX's Justified, Neal McDonough shared with Cowboys & Indians that his appearance on an upcoming season of a show (left out of the quote below for spoiler reasons) got him thinking about his frequent demises:

That’s true. I’m doing this other show now ... and I die in that one also, as I often do. And I’m sitting in the makeup chair one morning, and the makeup artist goes, 'Man, you’ve been in a lot of death scenes. How many do you think?' And I said, 'I don’t know. Maybe 20? 25?' And they’re like, 'No, I’m pretty sure it’s a lot more than that.' So we did all the numbers. And it turned out this was my 49th death scene in a TV show or movie. That’s got to be something close to a record somewhere.

Wow. Almost fifty on-screen deaths! That has to put Neal McDonough in the record books somewhere. Of course, he probably has some competition from his colleagues in the TV world. When it comes to actors who appear on many shows throughout their careers, they're bound to play a character who dies at some point!

It sounds like Neal McDonough and Game of Thrones’ Jonathan Pryce would have a lot to talk about. Pryce has shared his perspective on frequently dying on-screen. Game of Thrones’ Sean Bean and The Walking Dead’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan could also commiserate about sharing a lot of death scenes.

I wonder where Neal McDonough’s Yellowstone death scene ranks among the others that he has done. On Yellowstone, it was the culmination of a season’s worth of tension and villainy at the hands of McDonough’s Malcolm. John Dutton ultimately shot Malcolm, then vowed to get Malcolm life-saving aid if he told them Tate’s location.

Malcolm capitulated on the Tate front but chose to die instead of accepting John’s help. As of the conclusion of Yellowstone’s second season, Malcolm is presumed dead. He will probably not be the series’ last death. There is a whole other season on the horizon, and the Season 3 trailer teased that the impact of Malcolm’s reign of terror would continue to be felt.

Yellowstone will return for its Season 3 premiere without Neal McDonough’s Malcolm Beck on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 21, on Paramount Network. It is one of this summer’s premieres. If you want to refresh your memories on McDonough’s run, Yellowstone will be streaming on NBCUniversal’s upcoming service, Peacock. It launches nationally on July 15.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.