Trail Tales Cast Chat with Cassie Yates

June 14th, 2003  *  George Strait's newest hit seems to fit right in...

Tell me something bad about Tulsa...
I kept getting lost in when I met her * Hair like Oklahoma sand * I could run my hands through forever
But all good things must end * All rivers have to bend * I keep running  * But she keeps pulling me back in

But, here's the problem - there is NOTHING bad I can say about "Tulsa" or the actress that portrayed her on the "Young Riders." Cassie Yates is a total sweetheart and a real lady with a fantastic sense of humor! - Raye

Interview Date: June 9, 2003

Ms. Yates's current home is much different from the dry terrain of the desert. Due to the current wet weather of the East Coast, her land now has 4 lakes on it, allowing her dog to train for the 100 yard freestyle for the next Olympics. My bets are on the dog for at least the Bronze Medal. To take her mind off of the bog the rain is creating on her land, I bring her backwards in time about 12 years...

One thing... it was a period piece, of course, and I played the owner of a Saloon and I had to wear all of these ‘Miss Kitty’ type stuff. The corsets, all kinds of underclothing, pantaloons, lace-up boots, heavy velvet dresses and all this stuff and it was 120 degrees out. HOT! That’s how comfortable THAT was.

And you take those corsets off and your ribs are bruised. That’s how bad they are ‘cause these are all ‘real’ corsets. The clothes were just beautiful and hairpieces.  You’d have like 900 lbs of hair on your head and then gloves and stockings, in the middle of Summer. Then get on a horse and ride side saddle with all that stuff on.

You survived!

Yeah, I survived. That’s something I did do. *laugh*

CASTING: Do you remember how you were cast in the show?

I believe they called and offered me the role. I don’t remember auditioning. I can’t remember going on a meeting and I had worked with the producer before. They had known my work.

At the time you were cast, where were you living?  Where was your home?

I was living in L.A.

Did they fly you out to Tucson... drive?

They flew me out from Los Angeles. Your agent does the deal, then they send you a ticket and pick you up [from the airport], and all the guest stars stayed at one of those suites hotel where you have a kitchen.. really nice. Then, the shoot takes about 8 to 10 days. It’s pretty quick.. just a guest shot. The guest stars come in and out.. and had a great time!

Do you remember if you filmed primarily out at Mescal or OTS?

Out at... lets see... we shot at Old Tucson. We used all the exteriors of Old Tucson.. I can’t remember where the interiors were.

So how did you start this website?  (the interviewee turns the tables on the interviewer!)

I filled her in on my first trip to Tucson to the 2nd TYR fan gathering. So I mentioned my first meeting with Lee McKechnie. *His memories are linked to the main page*

Oh! I know him!

Really! *what a wonderful ‘small world’ we’re in!*

First Impressions of the Set:

You know, every actress in Hollywood wants to be in a western. Everybody.. everybody wants to be in a Western. It’s the time.. it’s the ‘Old West’ and you get to wear the great clothes and all that stuff. Not that it’s comfortable, but any time you do a period piece and you're around horses and animals...and lots of great outdoor stuff, it’s fun. Especially shooting in Arizona. A lot of actors have moved to Phoenix and every time they go on an audition, they take a train. Get a bunch of train tickets and go back and forth, instead of living in Los Angeles...and so many companies go down there to film, because of the weather... it’s always clear, no rain.

...and they had Old Tucson. I had never done a film there. I had done a film in Arizona, but not on the Old Tucson set, so it was very exciting.  My mom used to live in Tucson and so, it was cool.

Which of the cast members did you work with the most?

Actually, I worked the most with my other Guest Star, Noel Harrison, who was also a singer/songwriter. He and I had a lot of scenes together.  Stephen Baldwin and the guys who would come into the Saloon.... which was the one that was bald?

Travis Fine.

Yes! You know what?

*I love the anticipation* What?

When I was coming on the set, Travis walks up to me.

"Do you remember me?"

"No.... ?"

I used to have a hair cutting salon when I was twenty years old. It was the first unisex salon in Atlanta. He used to come in at two years old.. I used to cut his hair. I was friends with his mother and father. So he, I guess his parents told him who I was, cause every one in Atlanta knew that I had sold my place to move to Los Angeles and become an actress... and he was a customer.

Still, it must have been hard to recognize him withOUT hair.

Isn’t that funny? The last time I’d seen him was when he was four years old. Then Travis was telling me who is folks were. “I remember you!” He had been a little tyke. I didn’t even know he had become an actor. I had no idea.

*I filled her in on what I knew of Travis’s whereabouts.*

If you see him/talk to him, tell him I said hello.

I will!... You mentioned Stephen Baldwin...

You know that he sings Opera?


He would sing arias on the set. He would just burst into song... he’s got an incredible voice. He studied Opera. You never see him in a bad mood. Always joking around. Always changing his weird hair...and singing. I asked him to sing, unbelievable. He’d sing for everybody and all the kids...and this is like their first big TV series, and they were making the most amount of money they’d ever made and I tried to caution them.. “You better watch it, you never know when things could get canceled.” They were all so young, must have been in their late teens, early twenties.. just great kids.

*laugh* Stephen is so funny, very funny.  He kept me laughing the whole time. I don’t think he realized how much older I was than him. He kept trying to set me up with his brother, Billy.
“Stephen, he’s just a tad young.”
“Well, he’s like you...”
Stephen was very cute, on all the time. Very quirky, you know that. 

Also, there was one scene, where I am coming into Noel Harrison’s room. I think he’s in the bathtub, and when he comes to the door... I was knocking on the door. The Prop-man says during rehearsal, “Here, do this.” He hands me a Bazooka to point at Noel when he opens the door. I could barely pick up the thing. It was very funny. A World War II Bazooka.

Just a bit out of period.

And also, Noel gave us a little private concert in his hotel room. It was great! I remember every song he wrote. He was great to work with.

I didn’t really work with Josh.. who else...  There was a red-headed actor that played my husband, he was locked in a cell...

*we rehashed the plot*

Boy that was a lot of fun.

How do Westerns differ from other shows like... Dynasty?

The reason why they’re fun is that they’re period. The animals, the outdoors.. the WILD WEST. It was a romantic period. They were Pony Express riders..the beginnings of the Postal Service. All of the scripts deal with real characters and all the great ideas.  When you have the costumes on.. with all the horses and the sets... set decorating, you get the feel of what it was like. Instead of looking at a picture you’re going INTO that place and time. You feel like you’re in the period, except when you turn around and everyone is wearing shorts.  The crew, and everyone else is dressed in modern clothes while the actors are wearing leather and chaps... Cowboy clothes... and all the women look like hussies in a brothel. With everything ‘pushed up’.. That’s fun!  It’s just like playing.  It’s the fantasy.

*During our conversation while we set the interview time, Ms. Yates had mentioned that she knew Brett.*

I actually met Brett on “The Young Riders”... then when I started doing Pro-Celebrity Rodeo after, he was doing Rodeo. So we hooked up again.... I’d always see him. It was Dick Johnson Pro Celebrity Rodeo in L.A. and Houston.
Wow... Thanks, Cassie!  Really, she was a BLAST to talk to. She has a great personality and a terrific sense of humor!  I hope that the lakes dry up soon... and that she gets a chance to head out to Arizona again, at least for the weather!  Thanks! - Raye

*Thanks to Wendy for the FANTASTIC screencaps!*