Actor Buck Taylor attends the Premiere of Universal Pictures "Cowboys & Aliens" during Comic-Con 2011 at San Diego Civic Theatre on July 23, 2011 in San Diego, California.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Who Plays Emmett Walsh on 'Yellowstone'? Buck Taylor is a Western Legend Who Starred on 'Gunsmoke'

Walter Clarence Taylor III was born May 13, 1938, in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. He became the American actor known as Buck Taylor and has recently been seen in the hit television series Yellowstone as recurring character Emmett Walsh, a ranch hand and longtime friend of the Duttons. But before appearing in today's hottest western, he was a familiar face on yet another iconic western series: Gunsmoke.

Taylor was never a stranger to television productions. His father,  character actor Dub Taylor, sometimes known as "Cannonball" Taylor, appeared in films with John Wayne, Tex Ritter, and Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. Buck grew up on various Hollywood sets, accompanying his father

After graduating from North Hollywood High School, studying theatre arts at the University of Southern California and serving in the US Navy for two years, Buck Taylor landed his first acting role in the 1961 episode of "Image of a Drawn Sword" on CBS's Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater. He would go on to appear in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and My Favorite Martian. He also co-starred in the 1963 Walt Disney Production Johnny Shiloh and appeared in The Wild AngelsThe Rebel, Stoney Burke, The Fugitive, The Virginian and The Big Valley (as Sheriff Munroe).

In 1967, Buck started his eight-year journey on Gunsmoke -- the role that made him a revered western actor. Taylor portrayed deputy Newly O'Brien in seasons 13 through 20 of the western series, which starred James Arness, Dennis Weaver, Amanda Blake and Ken Curtis. Taylor reprised his role as O'Brien in the 1987 TV movie Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge. In 1981, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum inducted Taylor into the Cowboy Hall of Fame and awarded him the Trustee Award for his performance on Gunsmoke.

After Gunsmoke came to an end in 1975, Buck found himself starring in over 20 films, including Cattle Annie and Little Britches, Triumphs of a Man Called Horse, Tombstone, The Mist, Flicka, Gods and Generals, Truce, Cowboys and Aliens and Hell or High Water.

He also continued to work in television, including the miniseries Comanche Moon and The Alamo: 13 Days to Glory, and TV series such as General Hospital and the famed Yellowstone.

Outside of acting, Taylor is an accomplished artist. He attended the Chouinard Art Institute and has been creating watercolor and acrylic paintings of cowboys, Native Americans, and horses since 1993. Many of his art subjects are characters and scenes from movies and TV shows he has appeared in. He sells his paintings here. He is also the official artist of many rodeos and state fairs where he creates their promotional posters.

Who is Emmett Walsh?

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 13: Buck Taylor attends the premiere for Paramount Network's "Yellowstone" Season 5 at Hotel Drover on November 13, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images for Paramount

Warning: spoilers for season five of Yellowstone. 

The character Emmett Walsh has appeared in eight episodes of Yellowstone. Taylor made his first appearance as Walsh, the Chairman of the Stockgrowers Association, way back in the pilot episode of the series. The rancher is a devoted supporter of John Dutton and was thrilled to see his old pal win the office of governor of Montana. Walsh got an incredible, though sad, send-off in episode six of season five, "Cigarettes, Whiskey a Meadow and You." After joining the Yellowstone crew for a day of branding cattle, Walsh dies peacefully in his sleep with his boots on in a meadow, "like every cowboy dreams of."

At the end of the episode, John Dutton is seen comforting Walsh's wife. News cameras captured the moment and it seems like Dutton's heartfelt conversation with Walsh's wife will shape the way Duttons' constituents see him.




READ MORE: 'Yellowstone' Star Cole Hauser's Childhood May Have Prepared Him To Play Rip Wheeler