Mo Brings Plenty attends Paramount Network's "Yellowstone" Season 2 Premiere Party at Lombardi House on May 30, 2019 in Los Angeles, California
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Paramount Network

'Yellowstone' Star Mo Brings Plenty Wants to Pave The Way for Future Native Actors

Yellowstone season 5 is seeing its biggest cast expansion yet. In addition to numerous new faces, Mo Brings Plenty has officially been upped to a series regular. All I have to say is, it's about time. Mo plays the dedicated right-hand man to Chief Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) and has been on the series since the very first season. After Broken Rock Reservation had a more limited role in season 4, I'm excited to resume seeing how the Chief and those close to him work towards their goal of reclaiming the land that the Duttons took from their ancestors over a century ago. They may have had to make temporary alliances with the Dutton family but make no mistake — they have their own agenda.

While passionate Yellowstone fans recognize Mo from his role on the show, he's also the American Indian Affairs Coordinator for both Yellowstone and the upcoming prequel series 1923. Not to mention he's a real rancher with a rodeo past as an INFR competitor. He's particularly passionate about giving back to his community, given the platform Yellowstone has given him. It's incredibly refreshing to see someone use their newfound fame for good which is exactly what Mo does when he's not on set filming or working on the ranch.

He respects Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan

One of the things that Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan found incredibly important with his series was properly representing Native American culture when depicting the land and characters on the reservation. According to Mo, he felt that he truly cared about representing his culture when they first met.

"The moment that Taylor and I met it was an instant connection," he told Char-Koosta News. "Because he knew a family from back home, the reservation that I'm from, and I knew that same made me realize that this is an individual who truly has a heart for Indian country. And so a majority of the time people will say 'come stand with me' but you end up standing behind them, where Taylor Sheridan, if he's sitting at a table, he makes room at that table for you to sit beside him."

While Sheridan's series has certainly changed the trajectory of Mo's career, it wasn't his first time appearing in a western. He previously played the legendary Sitting Bull on the mini-series The American West and appeared on the popular series House of Cards and Hell on Wheels as well as the Harrison Ford western Cowboys & Aliens.

Like his Yellowstone character, he grew up on a reservation

In an interview with Cowboys & Indians Magazine, Mo explained that he grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation but considers the Lakota Nation as a whole his true home vs. one specific place. He's passionate about his culture, which comes through in all of his interviews.

"Yeah, my father's from Pine Ridge Reservation, I was born there," Mo said. "I spent a great number of years there but my mother's from the Cheyenne River Reservation which is also another band of the Lakota. It's in Eagle Beach, South Dakota, the more kind of central part of the state."

"And so, I spent time there as well with my grandmother. I spent a little bit of time on the Rosebud Reservation too. So I always say I come from the Lakota Nation, because I have relatives on all them reservations and I spend quite a bit of time on each and every one of them."

Before Yellowstone, he almost walked away from acting completely

In an interview with Native News Online, the actor explained that he landed the role at an unexpected time but took it for very specific reasons. One of which was the opportunity to work with Gil Birmingham. Working with Kevin Costner didn't hurt either.

"I took the role because I was going to be the sidekick to another Native who was a tribal chairman. And, of course, Kevin Costner being in a project, who wouldn't? Just before I did take the role, I was contemplating on whether or not I was going to step away from pursuing this anymore."

"In fact, I talked to my family and told them what I had in mind, and that I was done with it, he explained. "I called my agent, and my family and my agent all said, 'Let's just finish up the year. See what happens.' And then Yellowstone came about and I got the opportunity to work with Gil Birmingham, who was an amazing Native actor...And also, of course, Kevin Costner and everyone, all the cast members of that show are absolutely amazing."

He hopes Yellowstone increases opportunities for indigenous actors

Mo explained that starring on Yellowstone goes way beyond boosting his own career. He hopes to "open, to flat out just rip the doors down and make more opportunities for Indian country to be involved in." There has definitely been a shift in media in general to make room for actors of all kinds, and shows like Yellowstone really do help provide a certain platform for specific stories to be told.

READ MORE: 10 Actors We'd Love to See on 'Yellowstone'