Something worth fighting for: The definitive ranking of Yellowstone mustaches

Pictured: Sam Elliott as Shea of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Photo Cr: Emerson
Pictured: Sam Elliott as Shea of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Photo Cr: Emerson / 8
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6. Spencer Dutton — 1923

108 - Nothing Left to Lose
Brandon Sklenar as Spencer of the Paramount+ series 1923. Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2022 /

Played by: Brandon Sklenar

Mustache Style: Lampshade

One of the biggest challenges in 1923 is dirtying up actor Brandon Sklenar. He belongs in a Christian Dior ad, but Sheridan and his crew have to sell us on him as a tortured war veteran, living a life on the fringes of civilization as a big game hunter in Africa. Putting a clean-shaven, or even a strictly bearded Sklenar, into this setting and asking us to buy it would have been impossible. Here, the mustache makes the man.

Spencer Dutton is rarely shaven and so some scruff always accompanies the mustache, although care seems to be given to maintaining a differential in length so that the mustache never fades into a beard. And in every close-up we get of him squinting out over a hostile horizon, that gritty, sweaty snot mop reminds us that the danger of his surroundings is matched only by the danger of the violence lurking just below his surface.

5. William McDowell — 1923

Robert Patrick as Sheriff McDowell of the Paramount+ series 1923. Photo Cr: Christopher T. /

Played by: Robert Patrick

Mustache Style: Painter’s Brush

For many of us, the image of Robert Patrick as T-1000 in Terminator 2, is burned into our brains. That introductory role as an evil android who could become fluid at any moment has left an image of Patrick as smooth and sleek, one that has only been emphasized by a career full of roles with slick-backed hair and a smoothly shaven face.

That’s why his massive, Wilfred Brimley-esque Painter’s Brush in 1923 is so striking. It’s a massive, hulking behemoth of a mustache, existing in three dimensions in a way almost no other facial hair in the YCU can claim to. It is not fluid. It is not smooth. It is rough and bristly, filled with nooks and crannies, holding a sheen of maple syrup from his morning pancakes before the shoot. It makes Robert Patrick into something entirely new and helps sell him into this essential supporting role.