“I didn’t get to say goodbye to anybody”: The Yellowstone Actor Who Played a Dutton On Screen Had Such a Transformation Even Taylor Sheridan Couldn’t Recognize Her

Taylor Sheridan's own cast member shocks him into plying her with a job offer during the premiere of his Yellowstone prequel.

taylor sheridan, yellowstone


  • Taylor Sheridan's Yellowstone universe has a lot of returning actors popping up across different timelines in different roles.
  • 1883 star Dawn Olivieri's unique transformation convinces Taylor Sheridan to cast her in the sly and chamaleonic role of Sarah Atwood.
  • Taylor Sheridan's Yellowstone heads towards its final leg without its patriarch Kevin Costner in the lead.
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Taylor Sheridan’s expanding Yellowstone universe is in constant need of actors willing to dive straight into the narrative and diligently play their individual parts in the progression of the larger story. As such, it may not come as a surprise when actors who already had a role in one Sheridan series suddenly pop up in another spin-off series taking place entirely in another timeline.


Dawn Olivieri as Sarah Atwood in Yellowstone [Credit: Paramount Network]
Dawn Olivieri as Sarah Atwood in Yellowstone [Credit: Paramount Network]
However, such a case of repetition is not a one-off on Taylor Sheridan’s part. Sheridan-verse, as fans have come to call it, has witnessed a total of 6 actors returning to the Yellowstone universe in one form or another. Among them also lies the innately talented Dawn Olivieri, whose reassignment into the Yellowstone series makes for quite an interesting story in and of itself.

Yellowstone Star Shares Fascinating Tale About Her Casting

One would think that in an industry guided by talent, appearance would come second in the criteria of things needed to secure a job. However, for one Dutton family member, the case seemed to be quite the opposite. Dawn Olivieri who played the widowed and stark-faced Claire Dutton in 1883 stands testament to the power of transformation and how appearance truly holds sway over bagging jobs in Hollywood.


Isabel May and Dawn Olivieri as Beth and Claire Dutton in 1883 [Credit Paramount Network]
Isabel May and Dawn Olivieri as Beth and Claire Dutton in 1883 [Credit: Paramount Network]
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Olivieri, who was originally cast in 1883 before migrating over to the flagship series, Yellowstone, revealed:

It’s a funny story. When filming 1883, I didn’t get to say goodbye to anybody because I got COVID the night before my final day of filming and wasn’t able to go to set… I didn’t get that farewell time with anyone; I just disappeared. For the 1883 premiere in Las Vegas, I got all dolled up. I told hair and makeup that I wanted them to make me real bombshell-y — the complete opposite of Claire.

In the back room before you do the carpet, I was saying hi to people I had spent a short amount of time with, directors and different people, and they greeted me with zero recognition. I had to say, “It’s Dawn. I play Claire.” They were like, “Oh, my God!” No one recognized me, it’s like I had a costume on or something.

Despite her integral role in 1883 as the ill-fated Claire Dutton, great-great aunt to Kevin Costner‘s John Dutton, the moment of realization on Taylor Sheridan‘s part regarding the true extent of Olivieri’s talent dawned (no pun intended) long after her 1883 arc was already done and over with.

Right as I was coming off the red carpet, Taylor and his wife Nic [Nicole Sheridan] were about to come onto the carpet and I walked directly up to him and stood there. And he had no recognition on his face at all. There’s a part of me that just loved that. It was such a transformation that even the person who sat there for every single minute of the performance that I gave didn’t recognize me in that moment.

Nic goes, “It’s Dawn.” And it was like a semi-truck hit Taylor, and he went, “Oh, shit!” All the hair and makeup was just for that moment, because he was so blown away that there I was, completely different. He said, “You’re coming to work for me now.” I was real cool about it, but after I went into the corner and screamed like a little girl! Because it’s like your dream offering.

Although very few actors have been blessed with the opportunity of working across multiple projects with Taylor Sheridan – the Godfather of Western television – Dawn Olivieri has to be one of the rare few to impress him into giving her a role on the spot simply by introducing herself by name. To her credit, the actress did follow up on her Yellowstone role with just as much gusto and flair as was required of her after taking on the part of the menacing and ambitious Sarah Atwood.


Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone Universe Arrives At a Standstill

Taylor Sheridan [Credit: Paramount Network]
Taylor Sheridan [Credit: Paramount Network]
Despite the years of storytelling and strategic world-building that go into the creation of a new universe, there seems to be even more behind-the-scenes drama unfolding at a rapid pace that seeks to destroy Taylor Sheridan’s life’s work at a moment’s notice. With Kevin Costner refusing to back down from making his frustrations known and Sheridan accumulating a reputation for being a difficult boss on the sets, the future of Yellowstone has come to a standstill.

However, recent reports suggest that Season 5, Part 2 which will serve as the doorstop for the Western series has entered production without any confirmed involvement of Kevin Costner as John Dutton. The bad blood between Sheridan and Costner, which has also filtered out into the main cast of Yellowstone, looks nowhere near being resolved. The audience can now simply play the waiting game in the aftermath of the storm and let the chips fall where they may.

Yellowstone and 1883 are available for streaming on Paramount+

Diya Majumdar

Written by Diya Majumdar

Articles Published: 1668

With a degree in Literature from Miranda House, Diya Majumdar now has over 1600 published articles on FandomWire. Her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema while being a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for music, Monet, and Van Gogh.