Harrison Ford in a cowboy hat in a scene from 'Cowboys & aliens'
Screengrab via YouTube

These Western Roles Prove Harrison Ford is Ready for the 'Yellowstone' Universe


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Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan continues to land incredible stars for his latest new projects. First, he expanded his Dutton family saga with a prequel series starring Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Sam Elliott, now he's outdone himself by casting the one and only Harrison Ford for the next chapter in the Dutton's history. Ford is best known for being an action star and for his two iconic roles as Han Solo and Indiana Jones, but his resume is full of interesting work. Did you know that he's actually been in a handful of westerns over the years?

Some of Ford's earliest work was set in the Old West, riding horses and chasing outlaws. Sometimes he even played an outlaw. Based on these roles, it's safe to say the Hollywood legend is ready to play an ancestor of John Dutton (Kevin Costner) in the upcoming series 1923 (initially going to be named 1932), where the descendants of the Duttons in Yellowstone face the prohibition, Montana's depression, and more.

The Frisco Kid

Harrison Ford in a cowboy hat, looking over his shoulder in a scene from 'The Frisco Kid'

Screengrab via YouTube

Harrison Ford. Gene Wilder. A campy 70s western about a Polish rabbi befriending a bank robber on the road to San Fransico. Talk about a long-lost credit from Ford's incredibly lengthy filmography. The role of the robber Tommy Lillard, played by Ford, was originally meant for John Wayne, who was looking for some light comedy after playing Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. But salary disagreements led to the casting of up-and-comer Harrison Ford instead, who had recently landed his breakout role a few years prior as Han Solo in Star Wars: A New Hope. This was a role that showed that Ford had the physical skills to lead a western -- riding horses and fighting off outlaws right and left. Since 1923 will have cattle thieves threatening the Dutton ranch, those horse-riding skills will definitely come in handy.

Cowboys & Aliens

Harrison Ford in a cowboy hat in a scene from 'Cowboys & Aliens'

Screengrab via YouTube

It's half western, half sci-fi, but easily the biggest project on this list is Cowboys & Aliens. Based on a graphic novel, Ford plays the role of the ruthless cattle baron Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde, who works alongside an outlaw and a mysterious woman to defeat an alien ship that is threatening their existence. It's definitely not your typical western, but we see a different side of Ford as the gruff rich man, stooping to the level of an outlaw to do the right thing and help save the day. There are horses, gunfights, and all of the essential elements you need in a good western. More importantly, it shows that Ford ages like a fine wine. He still has the stamina to ride horses in the West with the best of them which is an energy we know we'll get to see in the Yellowstone universe.

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The Virginian

Harrison Ford in a cowboy hat in an episode of 'The Virginian'

Screengrab via YouTube

It's hard to even imagine a time before Ford was a massive movie star, but everyone has to get their start somewhere. A 25-year-old Ford made his television debut in the popular western series The Virginian, starring James Drury as the foreman of the Shiloh Ranch. He was in two episodes, credited as Young Rancher / Cullen Tindall. Undoubtedly this debut helped Ford land a few more western gigs on this list.

Gunsmoke

Harrison Ford in a scene from 'Gunsmoke'

Screengrab via YouTube

Were you even an actor in the 60s/70s if you didn't land a role on one of the longest-running shows of all time? Ford appeared on two episodes of Gunsmoke in 1972 and 1973 as the characters Print and Hobey. He got to play another outlaw which is fun to see before he takes center stage as Hollywood's leading man a few years down the line. Did you ever think you'd get to see Indiana Jones get brought down by Marshal Matt Dillon?

Dynasty

Harrison Ford wearing a tie in a scene from 'Dynasty'

Screengrab via YouTube

This made-for-TV movie was based on the true story of a family of pioneers seeking their fortune out on the Ohio frontier. Ford leads the film as one of the family's sons, Mark Blackwood, who deals with a series of complicated family dynamics throughout the film. We've got a family working to maintain their riches to hit it big while dealing with a slew of family drama. If that doesn't sound like Yellowstone I don't know what does. The movie got some mixed reviews, with some feeling like the strong cast members were wasted on a weak story, but the main point is that Ford's acting was on point. When isn't it?

A Time for Killing

Harrison Ford in a Union Soldier uniform in a scene from 'A Time For Killing'

Screengrab via YouTube

While The Virginian was Ford's first TV role, A Time for Killing was his first credited film role. Both westerns! Imagine that. The movie stars Glenn Ford in a story of Confederate POWs escaping a Union prison for the Mexican border with Union soldiers on their tails. Ford played the role of Union soldier Lt. Shaffer who helps chase down the escaped soldiers. The kicker? Neither group realizes that the war has actually ended during all of this. What a dramatic debut into the film world for a young Harrison Ford.

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Journey to Shiloh

Harrison Ford in a cowboy hat in a scene from 'Journey to Shiloh'

Screengrab via YouTube

One of Ford's earliest film credits was this western co-starring James Caan. He starred as Willie Bill Bearden in the story of seven young Texans traveling to fight in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. They meet some perilous challenges along the trail until they eventually make it to Shiloh, Tennessee. Who doesn't love a rag-tag group banding together on a crazy road trip? Ford is almost unrecognizable with his long hair.

READ MORE: 'Yellowstone' Prequel '1923' Star Harrison Ford is a Real Life Hero and Rancher

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