Yellowstone ‘Red-State Show’ Criticism Addressed By Summer Higgins Actor Piper Perabo


In a lot of ways, a show like “Yellowstone” defies conventional descriptors about what a TV drama can be. A neo-western and political thriller, a family drama, and a corporate thriller all at once, the wide reach of Taylor Sheridan’s hit series can likely be linked to how many different groups it connects with.

This is something that “Yellowstone” star Piper Perabo seemed to recognize when she spoke with The Hollywood Reporter. Questioned on what she thinks of the series’ “red-state show” assessment, she balked at the oversimplification and pointed out that breaking the show down that way doesn’t really help her or anyone else.

“I don’t really pay attention to it because I’m not sure it’s very useful for how to play Summer,” Perabo explained. “But what I like about doing it is that Taylor and I don’t always agree politically. And through knowing each other socially and making this show, we realize that we fight for a lot more common things than we argue about,” she went on. “I feel like that’s happening with John and Summer, and I would hope we can have that happen in America.”

Perabo thinks both sides of the aisle can learn from each other

Here, Piper Perabo is referring to the surprise romance that blooms between her liberal vegan protestor, Summer Higgins, and Montana ranch owner and governor, John Dutton (Kevin Costner). “So to be part of the conversation where people are trying to see what common good we can work on together, and then we’ll deal with maybe the more complicated issues once we’ve got all the stuff we agree on settled?” she said. “That’s pretty cool.”


This common ground approach that Perabo is referencing seems to be very much like the tone that “Yellowstone” itself is going for. Though the show chiefly follows events at the Dutton ranch, it also traces the struggles of characters at a local American Indian reservation, a factor that generally leans far more into left-wing politics. This aspect, coupled with the introduction of a character like Summer, helps to explain how a show like “Yellowstone” crosses cultural boundaries.

Perabo acknowledged these aspects implicitly as well. “I think there are a lot of both sides in Yellowstone,” she said. “Almost no show has as many Native American leads as Yellowstone does, except for ‘Reservation Dogs.’ And to me, that’s very cool and modern and diverse,” Perabo explained. “So there are a lot of things where I think Yellowstone is bigger than just one color.”


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