As Chief Thomas Rainwater on “Yellowstone,” Gil Birmingham plays a rare honorable character on a series otherwise filled with violent, conniving baddies. Perhaps that’s why Taylor Sheridan tapped his buddy Birmingham way back in 2016 to play Rainwater. Indeed, Birmingham had previously played Texas Ranger Alberto Parker in Sheridan’s neo-Western film “Hell or High Water.”
“[Taylor] mentioned ‘Yellowstone’ back in 2016 when we were filming ‘Hell or High Water,'” Birmingham said in an appearance on the Yellowstoners Podcast. “And he said, ‘I’ve got this television show that I’ve written, and I’ve written a part for you.’ And at that point, I just thought he was an incredible writer, and I said, ‘I’m spoiled with your writing — if you’ve got a series and you want me in it, I’m there.'”
Sheridan would extend the offer to Birmingham yet again for 2017’s “Wind River,” in which the actor plays the father of a deceased Native American woman, making him one of the most reliable actors in Sheridan’s arsenal. Other performers, like James Jordan, Kelsey Asbille, and Ian Bohen, are a similarly common presence in Sheridan’s body of work. With the end of “Yellowstone” in sight, it will be interesting to see if Birmingham continues to crop up in Sheridan’s future projects.