Authenticity doesn’t come easy.
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Yellowstone makes it look easy—and maybe even glamorous—but real cowboy life isn't for the faint of heart.  

The cast of the Paramount hit reportedly learned that first-hand while attending "cowboy camp" in Utah. The actors spent days roughing it off-grid, not only to prepare for their physically demanding roles, but also to make the series as authentic as possible.

"A bunch of the actors went out with some cowboys and spent four days out in the wilderness without contact with the outside world and had a really intense look at what it was like to cowboy as best we could in that short amount of time," Wes Bentley, who plays Jamie Dutton, told the New York Post in 2018.

Even though he knew how to ride a horse prior to joining the neo-Western, Bentley, along with Cole Hauser (Rip Wheeler), Luke Grimes (Kayce Dutton), and Jefferson White (Jimmy), all needed to master skills like roping and collecting firewood. Kevin Costner, who has starred in numerous Westerns, was able to sit cowboy camp out.

"We'd all be out there grabbing sticks and twigs and maybe the occasional branch off a tree," Bentley recalled. "And you feel really tough. And finally, one of the real cowboys who was this Paul Bunyan-type guy went over and cut down an entire tree. He brought the whole tree over and he goes, 'That's a fire.' You're like, 'OK, this guy is not like me at all.'"

YELLOWSTONE Kevin Costner Luke Grimes
Credit: Paramount

Grimes told Looper that creator Taylor Sheridan had him learning to ride two months before filming began on season one.

"Taking these horses up mountains, jumping creeks, and doing a lot of stuff that a lot of us had never done before just to try to get us into the feel of the place and of the world," Grimes recalled. "Also, to try to make us fall in love with this way of life. It really worked."

It certainly did!