Yellowstone Star Mo Brings Plenty Talks Importance Of Serving As American Indian Affairs Coordinator For Taylor Sheridan's Westerns
The Yellowstone star also works on Sheridan's streaming drama 1923.
For all the reasons that Yellowstone still sticks out as an episodic drama, even in the midst of an overstuffed TV-scape, one that stands to be the most meaningful is the neo-western’s inclusion of indigenous culture and characters. The Broken Rock Tribe serves as one of the core groups being overshadowed by the Dutton family, as partially headed up by star Moses Brings Plenty, whose stoic Mo is arguably the show’s most morally grounded character. The actor also boasts an important role behind the scenes as well, serving as the American Indian Affairs Coordinator for both Yellowstone and its spinoff 1923, which recently wrapped its first season on Paramount+ with a brutal, if somehow still hopeful, temp conclusion for Aminah Nieves’ Teonna Rainwater until the already confirmed second season arrives.
Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan definitely doesn’t sugarcoat the harsh realities faced by native communities, with Thomas Rainwater, Mo, and others having to fight tooth and nail just to gain an inch. But the writer/director has shined a light on a far more directly violent and damaging piece of history through Teonna’s deadly horror movie arc tied to the indoctrination-geared boarding school where seemingly everyone in charge gets off on physical abuse. The storyline in full is easily more disturbing than anything in the flagship series, made all the more so by its basis in reality, with Nieves humbly telling CinemaBlend that she initially didn’t think it was within her to represent her family and culture through Teonna’s story. It’s that kind of real-world reflection that plays into Moses Brings Plenty’s key position as American Indian Affairs Coordinator.
Speaking with EW as tied to 1923’s finale, the Oglala Lakota actor described his role by saying:
It's a well-worded synopsis for an entertainment role that sadly isn't as prevalent as it could or should be, though well-earned strides have been made in recent years to bring more Indigenous creators and performers into TV and streaming productions. As a horror fan, 2022's representation-heavy Predator offshoot Prey definitely sparked my curiosity for a similar genre-geared spinoff to happen within the Yellowstone-verse, though I never would have expected 1923 to get as close as it has to delivering on that.
Moses Brings Plenty spoke to the harsh treatment that he personally suffered in his own past, sharing that he focused on using those experiences to inform his future in ways that were quite different from how his peers handled things. In that respect, he spoke very supportively of his role in maintaining authenticity within Taylor Sheridan's storytelling. The actor also shared his thoughts on 1923 digging into the topic of boarding schools for Native American children, and so soon after reports from the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative brought to light the existence of more than 400 schools operating throughout the U.S. between 1819 and 1969. Here's how he put it:
For as dark and tragic as Teonna's storyline is throughout Season 1, it appears as if there may be some brighter moments going into the second season. Without dipping into spoiler territory too much, I'll just say that it involves a new cast member who just so happens to be Mo Brings Plenty's nephew, actor Cole Brings Plenty. The proud uncle did tease that the character Pete is part of a "very, very strong storyline" with Teonna, so one can only hope that means he'll get to survive for the majority of the episodes, if not all of them.
The entire first season of 1923 is available to stream with a Paramount+ subscription, with Yellowstone returning to Paramount Network at a later point in 2023, though it's still unclear how things will shake out after all the rumored messiness with Kevin Costner.
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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.