Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Paramount Network

Jefferson White Plays the Lovable Ranch Hand Jimmy on 'Yellowstone'


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The character of Jimmy Hurdstrom on the hit Paramount Network series Yellowstone is honestly one of the highlights of the show. Actor Jefferson White has done an incredible job over the past four seasons capturing the role of Jimmy on screen, a young man who went from a criminal with no hope for redemption to a real cowboy, all thanks to Rip Wheeler bringing him to the Dutton family ranch to work as a ranch hand. He may mess up more than the rest of his peers, but he's easy to root for, especially as we move into Yellowstone season 5 with Jimmy down in Texas and engaged to an exciting new love interest, Emily (Kathryn Kelly), who seems perfect for him. 

The ranch hands of Yellowstone's bunkhouse make it look easy. It's a lot of hard manual labor working the land day in and day out, which is why the bunkhouse boys (and Teeter) frequently use humor and a few drinks at the end of the day to make it through together. When Jimmy first showed up at the ranch, it really seemed like he wouldn't make it. Especially when Rip duct-taped him to a horse he was trying to break in season 1, Jimmy looked like he would die before making his new position work. But he ended up not only finding himself but a new family in the process. He's been a sweet and refreshing story to follow in Yellowstone outside of all of the Dutton family drama.

Who is Jefferson White?

Jefferson White

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Jefferson White grew up in Mount Vernon, Iowa, performing in his high school plays and participating in the school speech team and choir. After attending Iowa State University, he decided to try to make it in Hollywood. His first credit on IMDB was on the TV series The Americans in 2014. He went on to appear on Manhattan, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, How to Get Away with Murder, Blue Bloods, House of Cards, Blindspot and The Alienist: Angel of Darkness. 

White was actually filming The Alienist in Budapest when his agents called, saying that he had been asked to come to Utah to audition for a new show called Yellowstone. He ended up flying literally around the world to come in for a few minutes to read for the role of Jimmy and meet creator Taylor Sheridan in person. As we know, the rest is history.

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Learning the ways of the ranch on Yellowstone

Jefferson White wearing a cowboy hat as Jimmy in a scene from 'Yellowstone'

Paramount Network

White told the Utah Film Studios that he had absolutely zero experience on a ranch or horses before he booked the role. So he and his character had a few things in common. 

"It was a big shock man. I didn't know that people actually wore cowboy boots...you know what I mean? People really wear them! I thought it was like a cartoon thing you know? And it's not. People really wear those boots and those hats...I had never ridden a horse before I don't think I had ever touched a horse before and that also speaks to how sort of remarkable the wranglers are that work on our show because they got me trained up, the wranglers and trainers, got me trained up to ride in a matter of weeks."  

He says that booking the role of Jimmy really changed his life. It's understandable, considering the character has a lot of depth. After living a life of crime, Jimmy gets one last chance to work for John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and, in an emotional scene in the first season, agrees to be branded by Rip (Cole Hauser). He really goes through the wringer to earn his place on the ranch, even getting duct-taped to a horse at one point to see if he can hang on and prove he has what it takes to become a cowboy.

"He's brought on to the ranch and thrown into a world that is totally foreign to him. This, for Jimmy, is sort of a fun and exciting adventure," White told the Paramount Network

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What does the future hold for Jimmy?

Kathryn Kelly as Emily and Jefferson White as Jimmy on 'Yellowstone'

Photo via Paramount Network

Watching Jimmy go from a nobody with no future to a branded man on the ranch and part of the Dutton extended family really has been touching to watch. This character has continued to prove himself repeatedly and has learned to grow into a man from Rip and Lloyd (Forrie J Smith). Not to mention, Jimmy has had his own interesting experiences with women over the course of the show's four seasons.

It seemed like Jimmy had really found the one when the sassy barrel racer Mia (Eden Brolin) stole his heart, but as we saw in season 4, she actually wasn't a good match for him. When John Dutton sent Jimmy down to Texas to learn a thing or two after getting injured yet again trying to be a rodeo star, he meets Emily and they quickly hit it off. So what does this mean for Jimmy as a character and his future on Yellowstone?

We know that both Jimmy and Emily will be on Yellowstone season 5 as Kathryn Kelly is one of the actresses who was confirmed to be upped to a series regular on the new season. We also know that series creator Taylor Sheridan has a Yellowstone spinoff in the works set at the Four Sixes Ranch in Texas where Jimmy and Emily work, so it's expected that Jimmy's future in the greater Yellowstone universe is sealed for the foreseeable future.

READ MORE: Forrie J. Smith is a Real Cowboy Who Also Plays One on 'Yellowstone'

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