Dawn Olivieri arrives at the world premiere of "1883" at Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas on December 11, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada
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Who Plays Sarah Atwood on 'Yellowstone'? Dawn Olivieri is a 'Real-Life Frontierswoman'

Jaime Dutton (Wes Bentley) is no stranger to manipulation. Whether it's watching his political dreams go up in flames at the hands of his own (adoptive) father (Kevin Costner) or constantly finding himself at the wrong end of a power play with his sister (Kelly Reilly), his storyline is rife with games. And it looks like his new love interest—if we can even call her that—is no exception.

Sarah Atwood is the latest beautiful monster Market Equities is releasing on the Dutton family to gain leverage over the ranch. After pointing out Jaime as the weakest link, she begins to work her charm on him, leading to a steamy first encounter in a public bathroom.

While it may be a while before her true intentions are revealed, we can tell you who is keeping her secrets: Dawn Olivieri.

Who is Dawn Olivieri?

Dawn Olivieri attends the premiere for Paramount Network's "Yellowstone" Season 5 at Hotel Drover on November 13, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas

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Dawn Oliveri is an accomplished actress whose resume boasts a bevy of bad-girl roles ranging from sociopathic consultant Monica Talbot in House of Lies to the dangerously powerful painted lady Lydia on Heroes. Major fans of the Yellowstone universe probably recognize her from her brief stint as the fierce widow Claire Dutton in 1883.

Her first on-screen appearances came when she was in her early twenties, playing small roles on big shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Veronica Mars, How I Met Your Mother, Entourage, Cold Case, The Vampire Diaries, and True Blood. Oliveri has also made her way to the big screen—sharing it with the likes of Jennifer Lawerence and Bradley Cooper in American Hustle and Will Smith in Bright. In addition to her newfound Montana fame, she recently starred as Ask in the action-thriller movie Double Threat.

However, it's not just her face that you'll find familiar. This multi-talented actress has also lent her voice to notable TV characters like Pepper Potts in the hit animated series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and video game personas like NSA Lucy Kuo in Infamous 2.

Actress By Day, Goat Herder By Night

She may play one on TV, but Dawn Oliveri is no villain. In fact, she's the opposite of a villain. She's a goat herder.

While most actresses spend their free time brewing publicity stunt romances and influencing the latest hair care vitamins, Oliveri can be found "conspiring with goats." It's unclear how many she has in her care, but her Instagram feed suggests that she's cohabitating with quite the herd in her Arkansas home. Mules, horses, cats, and dogs make frequent appearances on her social media.

But Oliveri wasn't always a country gal. She told Shoutout LA that she spent her twenties and thirties as an actress living in big cities where she "always struggled to fit in." After growing tired of the feast-and-famine lifestyle of the industry, she decided to pack her things and move to an off-grid cabin on 20 acres of land—practicing for her future place on the Dutton Ranch without even realizing it.

"I had two big dogs to keep the bears away and some chickens for eggs and a will to make it work," she said. "It was hard. REALLY hard. I felt like a real-life frontierswoman. I would drag my exhausted body into modernity, looking like a mountain lion and feeling farther and farther away from a cosmopolitan perspective. I was breathing wild air and fighting for my life, and it changes you."

An Artist at Heart

Dawn Olivieri arrives at the Equality Now's "Make Equality Reality" Event at Montage Beverly Hills on November 3, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California

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Moving to the woods wasn't just an act of rebellion against the grind of Hollywood. It was also a decision to step away from acting. After years of "waiting for the lottery," Oliveri was ready to make the jump. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

"If it was hard to book work before, this was it. The end," she said in her Shoutout LA interview. So she did what any artist does when faced with limited options: she took matters into her own hands and launched a content company with her long-time BFF in Saudi Arabia. Together, they made "a handful of run and gun documentaries," and Oliveri traveled between the Middle East and her cabin on the edge of the woods.

But she didn't give up on acting entirely. Oliveri sent tapes and auditioned for roles while living off the grid. Eventually, that paid off. She was cast in a show called The Hot Zone and asked to film a tape for Taylor Sheriden's 1883. The rest is history, and Oliveri credits her experience living in nature with helping her land the role of a lifetime.

"I moved away from the land of mirrors and found myself in a new way," she said. "I walk with a light and a strength that comes from my core. I am stronger, and I don't need to use a mirror to tell me what I am.

"Basing myself off reflections always gave me a skewed perspective. Take all the mirrors away and see what is left. There is a death of identity, a humbling, but what washes back in with the tide is a strength and a clarity that you couldn't imagine. Get to the source as soon as you can. Act like your life depends on it. Because it does."

Oliveri is bringing that strength and clarity to Yellowstone as Sarah Atwood, a force to be reckoned with this season. Whether in front of a camera or hanging with her goats, she's living proof that sometimes it pays to go your own way.

READ MORE: 'Yellowstone' Fans Aren't Happy With Beth's Behavior in Season 5