Yellowstone's Jen Landon Says Gender 'Isn't A Thing' When It Comes To Teeter

At their core, almost every character in Taylor Sheridan's sweeping Neo-Western "Yellowstone" has only one singular purpose, and that is to protect the Dutton family ranch to ensure the cowboy way of life never goes extinct. While the Duttons themselves are highly dysfunctional, they unite under one cause that's been passed down from generation to generation. They can't go it all alone though, and the extended family of the Duttons consists of a hard-working group of ranch hands and misfits that keep up with the daily operations of the ranch. They break the horses, they drive the cattle, and, occasionally, they may be called upon to engage in a little murder and mayhem all in the name of protecting what's theirs. 

It's a hard way of life that requires fierce loyalty, which explains why the steadfast ranch foreman Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) recruits recently released convicts like the country singin' pretty boy, Walker (Ryan Bingham), and why John Dutton (Kevin Costner) takes in a drug-addicted thief like Jimmy (Jefferson White). One by one, they're all branded with the Yellowstone Ranch logo and brought into an unbreakable circle of trust. 

In their own way, nearly all of the ranch hands are outsiders, especially Teeter, the pink-haired Texan introduced in season 3, played with raw intensity by actor Jen Landon. Teeter represents a breed of toughness that isn't concerned with walking any kind of line based on preconceived stereotypes, she just wants to get the job done and work harder than any other man on the ranch. She's chosen a lifestyle and a profession that doesn't have to concern itself with gender norms, and Teeter embraces the freedom that comes with just being yourself, regardless of what box that fits into. That's a state of being that Landon immediately related to when she auditioned for the role. 

Perfect for the part

"Yellowstone" has a decidedly masculine flare that can sometimes undermine characters like Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) who prefers at times to fist-fight her way out of a problem even when it's clearly not the smart thing to do. Still, Beth has to contend with deep-seated family betrayal and a violent past, making her erratic behavior a little more justifiable and understandable. But Taylor Sheridan remains the sole writer on "Yellowstone," so his entirely male perspective makes some of Beth's character beats seem like an idealized, surface-level depiction of the ultimate "It girl."

For Landon's tomboyish character Teeter, however, the writing actually helps inform who she is. Speaking with ScreenRant, Landon talked about "how gender isn't even a thing for her. It's just not." She continued:

"She's like pre-societal anything. She's so animal in that way. This is how you know somebody's just a frickin' genius is that I had one scene to audition with and there was a character description and, y'know, you get stuff from the character description ... I tried that on and she became incredibly clear to me and that's really good writing. And, I felt like it was just a really good match."

It's always perfect for an actor when a role seems custom-made for you, and Landon immediately related to Teeter's IDGAF attitude:

"There's a lot of parts of me that, like, there are a lot of similarities between Teeter and I. It's just a really good fit. I've always done dude stuff. I didn't like that there were dude things to do and chick things to do. It made me feel weird growing up and I didn't like a lot of the chick stuff."

Landon and Teeter's backstory

Landon really is a perfect fit for the R-rated, high-stakes melodrama of "Yellowstone." The daughter of actor Michael Landon, she shares the same DNA as the star of "Little House on the Prairie," one of the most famous depictions of life in the Old West. Landon is also returning to her soap opera roots in a way after appearing in over 500 episodes of "As the World Turns." 

For Teeter's backstory, Landon and Sheridan imagined that she was raised on a sheep farm without a mother and surrounded by older brothers without a real sense of family. "I felt like she sort of lost that family to a host of different issues and that she's been a mobile worker ever since, moving around ranch to ranch, you take jobs here and there, and she's so crusty and guarded and all that stuff," she told ScreenRant. "But she really longs for that sense of family and she's found that family at the Dutton ranch."

If Teeter's hilarious yet heartfelt relationship with reluctant ranch hand Denim Richards (Colby Mayfield) seems completely authentic, it's because both characters share a lot in common. "I always felt there was gonna be some sort of unspoken connection that neither of them would talk about, which is the function of being a little bit of an outsider," Landon admitted. Through multiple seasons, Teeter has emerged as one of the most genuine characters on "Yellowstone" who only answers to the Duttons and refuses to take grief from anyone else.