Yellowstone's Forrie J Smith on Being a Cowboy and Playing One on TV

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Are you still basking in the warm glow of Rip's friendship with Lloyd after Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 8?

If so, then you'll enjoy the conversation we had with Forrie J. Smith, who plays Lloyd.

Smith is a real cowboy who managed to make a living as an actor thanks, in part, to his cowboy life.

Forrie J Smith as Lloyd - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 8

We caught up with Smith, who is currently in quarantine in Montana. He didn't spell it out for me, but it sure sounds like they're about ready to start shooting Yellowstone Season 4!

Once upon a time, westerns on television and in the movies was a way of life. Many of our biggest stars of the past, including John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, made a pretty good living off of the medium. But now, Yellowstone is the only show you'll find in production that features the west and rodeo in all of its glory.

And that means a lot to Smith. "I give Taylor a big kiss on the cheek for bringing our culture to the forefront and making a great show out of it. It means a lot to me, but it's kind of too late," he admitted.

"They've already got the water table sucked down. They've already subdivided a lot of good grazing land. But [Yellowstone] is telling our story. And I'm glad to see that getting out."

Lloyd and Ryan Joke Around - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 1

When asked to rate the other guys on their skills playing cowboy, Smith wouldn't have it. "No, I'm not going to do that. Cowboy is an attitude and a morality, and they were interested in enough to talk to me about it the first season.

"One of the things that I told them to give them an idea of our culture, Taylor's touched upon it a couple of different times with Kevin's dialogue, is that we're helping feed our country.

"We're helping feed America. It's not just about making money and being a big shot, we're actually doing something for our country. And I was raised with that since I was a little kid.

"My granddad was whining and about the cow prices and how he wasn't going to make any money, and I would ask, 'Granddad, why are we doing it?' He looked at me said, 'Son, we're helping feed our country. We're helping feed America. We're Americans.'

Wranglers On the Move - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 9

Smith believes sharing his stories helped open the eyes of those on set that "being a cowboy and a horseman are lifetime endeavors." And he seems to appreciate the opportunity he gets not only to share what he knows of the life, but to keep learning, too.

"You never quit learning. It's something you just have to wake up every day, and it's a new day, and you might make some plans, but they might go awry right off when you're working cattle. And you have to go to plan C, D, E, or F.

"And the same with horses, horses are all different, just like human beings. And yet you might have a plan, but he might not work in that plan today. So being a cowboy is a lifetime endeavor."

The majestic scenes of rounding up cattle or running with the horses, too, are endeavors of a different kind. "We do the closeups with the actors and stuff, and then bring in the doubles. The cow work and stuff is pretty basic, routine stuff for me.

"Getting to run with the horses was a great experience and something that I don't think they realize how special that is to get to do. Not too many situations you get to run with 150 head of horses. I know I never had got to run with that many. So it's pretty special. That was pretty special to me."

I shared how much we appreciate scenes like that, and he agreed they are very special.

"I was glad to be part of it. Since my status has changed on the show, they weren't going to let me do that. They thought it was too dangerous. I told them, 'No, I'm doing it.' That's a special deal.

"And then Taylor, thank God for Taylor, he stuck up for me. He's like, 'This guy's on horseback all the time at home. He'd probably be safer out there than a stunt man.' So I got to do all of it."

If Smith has a lot of background information on his character, he's not willing to give up much. His respect for the entertainment industry secrets are as robust as his respect for the way of life they portray.

"Well, there's not much that I can tell, except that he's been there a long time. The second episode, when they exposed my brand and introduced me in the script, it said that my brand was older than anybody else in the room. So whatever I did to get there happened a long time ago," Smith said.

He said Lloyd's brought up Rip and has seen a lot by being on the ranch so long, and he recalls being a part of a scene with Evelyn and Kayce. "Me and Kevin talked about it beforehand. It was kind of cool.

"He says, 'Yeah. You know, you're the only one here that really knew my wife except Kayce and me. She always bought you shirts for Christmas and your birthdays and stuff.' And I screamed at him, and I said, 'Yeah. And they always fit.' He said, 'Yeah. That's the attitude.'"

Who Will End Up Dead - Yellowstone

Smith does show his appreciation for others on set, including creator and showrunner, Taylor Sheridan, among others.

"He does a really good job, and I have to explain to my friends and rodeo buddies that due to the time constraints and the budget and everything, we can't make it exactly right. Taylor's done a great job with all the cow stuff and the rodeo stuff."

As you probably know, there are a lot of professionals on set, which lends quite a bit of credibility to the production.

"On [Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 7 we had] Sid Steiner; he's a world champion steer wrestler and his son, Rock, who was the one doing the bareback ride. And then Tommy Steiner was there. He's a world champion bull rider.

You Outlived Your Past - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 8

"So yeah, they're there. Taylor's the real deal, and he's involved with some real people, like myself and others. And then the guy that plays Wade Morrow, he was never a world champion or anything, but he rodeoed and traded horses, and he's the real deal.

And then there's the guy who plays Easton in the bunkhouse. He's an old bronc rider and a good roper, real good roper, good cowboy. He's like me. That's what he does when he's not working.

"And then Jake, the one that rode the Bronc with Monica up to camp, he has a ranch at Spanish Fork. That's where I keep my horses when I'm driving through there. He does cutting horses and reining horses and stuff. He's involved in that real heavy."

"And, of course, Taylor. You got Taylor, reigning horse champion, and he's getting into the cutting horse world now. That's one of the coolest things. When I walk on set and the director, producer. writer, co-creator's got a cowboy hat, boots, and spurs on, I'm just, 'Yeah. All right, I'm in the right spot.'

Having his son play Lloyd when he was younger also touches Smith's heart. "You know, I mean, he looks just like me. But it just makes me more committed to the show and to the character. That was a special feeling. You know, it doesn't get to happen very often to too many people. I'm really thankful for that."

And for those of you naysayers who don't have a soft spot in your heart for new ladies who have infiltrated the bunkhouse, Smith disagrees with that assessment.

"Taylor was telling me about things that are going to have to me in this season. I told him, I said, 'Well, it don't matter. You already made me a buckle bunny.' We laughed about it," he says, chuckling.

"I think it's great for the show. It's not really reality, but I think it's great for the show, and Jennifer Landon's a heck of an actress. Eden Brolin is the third generation of the Brolins that I've gotten to work with. That's really cool."

Laramie and Lloyd - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 6

As for what Lloyd really thinks about Laramie, he's never talked about it with anyone. "Well, she's just another woman, another highlight in Lloyd's life. He's been around enough that he ain't going to let her get under his skin."

Smith believes that Lloyd's relationship with Jimmy is meant to help viewers understand the relationship Lloyd had with Rip, helping to raise him.

And on the last episode, fans got a chance to revisit Rip's relationship with Lloyd when the younger man shared his good news with Lloyd and asked him to be his best man at his wedding.

Smith said, "I remember doing that scene, and just the thoughts I had brought up to get the emotions that I wanted was that he's never been honored really like that.

"He's just been a bystander and everything and for Rip to acknowledge their relationship and appreciate him enough to do that is what brings up the emotions that I portray in that scene."

Best Man - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 8

And if you're worried what it might mean that the though-to-be dead Walker's back in town, Smith doesn't seem too concerned. "I'm not real sure. But Lloyd's going to keep an eye on him. I'm surprised Lloyd hasn't killed him yet. But yeah, we're not going to take our eyes off him."

One thing that Smith couldn't have prepared for, not even after having a lot of rodeo fans, was the fandom of Yellowstone.

"It's a learning process. I had a lot of rodeo fans, and I realized how crazy they can be, but these people are just infatuated with this show, and it's pretty nuts," Smith admitted.

Smith sees the good and the bad of fame. He's got someone impersonating him on social media, for example, but he doesn't let it stop him from connecting with the people that matter.

You're Smilin'! - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 8

"I did some meet and greets at home because people were pulling up in front of my house, waiting for me to come out so they could get pictures and stuff with me. But you know, they're the ones that watch the show, and they're the ones that made it the number one drama, and I will not turn them down.

"I was down in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, it's a mineral hot springs town, had a hotel room with a hot tub right inside the room. Had a girlfriend with me. And we went up to the local steakhouse, Los Arcos, and had us a steak. They were all over me."

He laughed, "I didn't have to pay for anything. Buying me drinks and this and that. So we get back to the motel room, and there's two groups of women out in the parking lot. So I got my cowboy hat on. I put my sunglasses on; it's dark.

"I put my sunglasses on, cock my collar up as high as I could, and it was just a plain black leather jacket, there's no Yellowstone or nothing on it. And I'm walking through these two groups. 'Lloyd! Lloyd! How are you?' And I stopped, and they come up to me. 'How in the heck did you recognize me?'

"She said, 'Them bow legs will give you away every time cowboy.' So please respect Smith's time if you see him in public. He has a cowboy heart but wants people to respect his privacy, too.

As for what to expect from the rest of the season, well, I asked the crucial question. On a scale of one to ten with ten being batshit crazy, what should we expect?

Smith didn't hesitate. "Ten. We got Taylor Sheridan writing for us. You got to be ready. Don't turn your back and go. I told my mom, I said, 'This isn't a show you can be ironing or washing dishes and watch. You got to sit down and watch it. You miss 30 seconds of it somewhere you'll be lost.'"

Are you ready for what's in store in the final two episodes of Yellowstone Season 3?

Don't miss a minute of the exciting drama. Tune in Sundays at 9/8c only on Paramount Network. And if you can't be there, you can watch Yellowstone online right here via TV Fanatic, where we have a full review ready to go after every episode.

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on X and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Yellowstone Quotes

John: Not hungry?
Beth: Nuh-uh. I'm intermittent fasting.
John: What's that mean?
Beth: Nothing but coffee and cigarettes till noon, and then I can eat what the fuck I want till I start drinkin' at six.
John: Well, I'd love to meet the doctor who came up with that diet.
Beth: I've adapted it to suit my lifestyle.

John: Rip, have you figured out how to do this without all us gettin' trampled?
Rip: Best we came up with, sir, is like fuck it, you know? Let's get up there as fast as we can and chase those son of a bitches down the mountain.
John: Fuck it? That your plan, too? Fuck it?
Kayce: It's gonna be a shit show now matter what we do. May as well do it fast, less time for things to go wrong.
John: Your logic is so flawed, son, it's, hell, it almost makes sense.