Piper Perabo shares story about attending a rally with Jane Fonda and how activism shapes her ‘Yellowstone’ character

The cast of 1923 on horseback, looking out over the open plains
Photo via Paramount Plus

Yellowstone‘s Piper Perabo is opening up about how her activism impacts her role as Summer Higgins in Taylor Sheridan’s beloved cowboy drama. Audiences first met Summer at a rally, and fans of Perabo know that she’s also been known to assemble alongside activists for demonstrations and use her platform as a pillar of knowledge on issues facing all of us.

While there are notable differences between Perabo and Summer, there are many ways that the woman and the actress who plays her are alike. While she didn’t ask Sheridan to write a specific character arc for Summer, she spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about how her stories have potentially weighed his idea for Summer. One such instance was when the actress was arrested at a rally led by Jane Fonda, although she already had the role at that time.

“Yeah. I think I got arrested for Jane Fonda once I was already doing Yellowstone [in November 2019]. So one kind of kept layering on top of the other.”

Calling for action and awareness regarding climate change, Perabo, alongside Amber Valletta, Diane Lane, and Manny Jacinto, joined other activists and leaders for change at the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. Perabo isn’t one to make her beliefs smaller for the comfort of others, and Summer echoes that same idea in the series.

She’s also worked alongside co-stars on Yellowstone, like Mo Brings Plenty, to raise awareness for voting rights and urge young adults to get out and use their voices.

When asked if she had any say over Summer’s storyline during the protest and her arrest, Perabo says she didn’t have a direct line to writing the script; but Sheridan listened to her stories and stories of women she knew and created a path for Summer to travel.

“Not really. I told Taylor all of my stories and also stories I knew of other women activists who were arrested for civil disobedience. And then he kind of goes off and rides horses and is out mending fences, or wherever he goes when he’s thinking about it. And then it all comes back at you. There isn’t really a back-and-forth, which I think is sort of exciting because it goes through his imagination, and you don’t really know what’s going to happen.”

The not knowing is exciting for Perabo and other actors and actresses in the series, who have shared that Sheridan doesn’t often let them in on what’s happening next. Many who breathe life into the Duttons and their friends and enemies don’t wish to know. One thing is for sure, Sheridan hand-picks the actors and actresses and keeps the trials and triumphs of their real lives in mind as he writes for them.

When Yellowstone returns this summer, you can see what’s next for Summer, John, and everyone else we love and loathe.