Who Plays Beth Dutton on 'Yellowstone'? Kelly Reilly Brings the Series' Toughest Character to Life


Kelly Reilly portrays the fiery fan favorite Beth Dutton on the Paramount Network's hit western seriesYellowstone. The season 3 finale aired last year and season 4 has already been filmed, but fans are on edge to find out the fate of Beth after that explosive season 3 finale.

During a recent interview with Esquire, Reilly reflected on that wild season 3 cliffhanger.

"Obviously I can't tell you whether or not Beth makes it another day, to see if she finds that peace that you talk about," Reilly said. "But it's an interesting question with any character. Is happiness something that is an ultimate end goal? Or is it something that kind of... there are moments of it in all our lives and days and... it doesn't last. It's like you touch it and you don't try and hold on to it. I think there's a great William Blake quote about that."

The actor also expanded on Beth and Rip's relationship and speculated over whether Beth's 'domestic quiet' can continue.

"I see those moments of happiness for Beth, especially in Season Three. At the beginning of Season Three, there is a sort of quiet, healing vibe going on," Reilly continued. "Beth and Rip (Cole Hauser) are living in the new house that they've been given, that John Dutton (Kevin Costner) gave to Rip. Beth has moved in and there's a little bit of domestic quiet, gentleness that's sort of creeping in which we've never seen Beth inhabit. I found those scenes really interesting to play. Whether it lasts or not, it wouldn't be a drama if it was constant. I don't think that we're at the happy ending stage yet, but I think there's a glimmer of happiness and where that happiness and where that peace could live, you know what I mean?"

Reilly also discussed one of the biggest sources of tension on the series: Beth's relationship with her brother Jamie (Wes Bentley).

"When people were hating on Beth going, 'She's awful to Jamie.' I was like, 'Gosh, if you only knew.' I was so thrilled that it was actually going to come out in a storyline to kind of explain it," Reilly said. "I love that he uses flashbacks and their history. He doesn't give it to you all at the beginning. There's more to come. There's way more to come. You think that's it, there's a lot more history. There's lots of ghosts in this show."

Who is Kelly Reilly?

Did you know that Reilly, who looks right at home riding a horse in the Wild West, is actually British? 


Growing up in London, England, Jessica Kelly Siobhán Reilly actually got her first professional acting role after writing to a TV show and asking for work. Helen Mirren's British television drama, Prime Suspect, called her in for an audition and she appeared in a 1995 episode. Over the next few years, Reilly appeared in various stage productions before she started making her way back in front of the camera and eventually, to Hollywood.

Reilly played the role of Wendy in the French comedy film opposite Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris, L'Auberge Espagnole, a role which earned her the Best Newcomer Award at the Cannes Film Festival. She also appeared in its two follow-up films -- Les Poupées Russes (The Russian Dolls) and Casse-tête chinois, and had supporting roles in Mrs. Henderson Presents, Last Orders, Agatha Christie's Poirot, and Dead Bodies.

But American fans probably first remember Reilly for her role as Caroline Bingley in the Keira Knightley film Pride & PrejudiceMe and Orson Welles with Zac Efron, or playing Mary Watson in Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Those supporting roles lead to leading roles in the horror film Eden Lake, the TV series Above Suspicion, as well as Heaven is for Real, Triage, and A Single Shot.

Read More: 'Yellowstone' Gear for the Biggest Kayce and Beth Dutton Fans

But the English actress, who married financier Kyle Baugher in 2012, would soon make her way to American TV. She briefly led her own ABC drama, Black Box, before playing Vince Vaughn's wife in the second season of HBO's True Detective. Reilly also appeared on Broadway opposite Clive Owen in Old Times, before landing the role of the Celtic Queen Kerra in the Amazon TV show Britannia, which lasted for two seasons.

But after Britannia, Reilly was cast in the leading female role on Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner.  She plays the daughter of John Dutton (Costner) and stars alongside Wes Bentley, Luke Grimes, Cole Hauser, and Gil Birmingham. The role of Beth lets Reilly shine because Beth is one tough cookie. She also deals with a lot of emotional trauma and has a substance abuse problem, so it required an actress with a lot of range.

"She's probably the most self-loathing character that I've ever played," Reilly told Parade"But she outsources her pain like no other I've ever read. If I could akin her to anything, she's like some Shakespearean or Greek Tragedy character, like some goddess of war or something. It's like she's turned all that pain into darkness, so that's who she is." 

Beth is an incredibly complex character and at times makes some very unlikeable choices. But that's part of what Reilly loves about playing her and what fans love about watching her.

"I love her mind," Reilly told CinemaBlend "I love her intelligence. I love her fierceness. She's a warrior...Like I trust, taking Beth so far into unlikability because I know I'm going to be held in [Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan]'s respect for her as a character. As he does with all of them. There's a messiness and forwardness to each of them, and also just a deep underlying vulnerability to her that I don't necessarily play too often."

Yellowstone Season 4

Yellowstone season 4 is airing later this summer and fans are speculating that Reilly may have just confirmed the fate of Beth on the upcoming season. The actress posted two photos in Texas -- one with creator Taylor Sheridan's wife, and another referencing 6666, the previously announced Yellowstone spinoff series that is currently in the works.

There's no way they would actually write out one of the most popular characters on the show right? Fans would definitely revolt if we didn't get to see what comes next in the love story of Beth and Rip. Many fans are speculating that this is actually the news of a crossover episode being filmed between the Yellowstone cast and 6666.

While it's unclear what is actually going on, the good news is we don't have much longer to wait before we finally find out what happened after that season 3 finale!




This article was originally published in July of 2020. It was updated on May 11, 2021.

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Who Plays Beth Dutton on 'Yellowstone'? Kelly Reilly Brings the Series' Toughest Character to Life