‘The McBee Dynasty’ Captures Cowboy Culture at a Crossroads

A scene from 'The McBee Dynasty' on USA Network

What do cowboy ranches and car washes have in common?

Although that might sound like the setup for a punchline (“they’re both a great place to take your mustang”), it’s actually an existential question at the heart of the new show The McBee Dynasty: Real American Cowboys, which airs Monday nights at 11pm ET on USA Network. With their ranch and farm deep in debt as they launch a series of new business ventures, the McBee family (patriarch and founder Steve McBee and his sons Steven Jr., Jesse, and Cole) have leveraged their farm to support newer businesses like the car washes. Can the family farm remain afloat until the McBee’s secure a nine-figure loan that will bankroll their future?


The tension and uncertainty around that question suffuses The McBee Dynasty with energy and urgency. Although much of the show focuses on the relationship between Steve Sr., his sons, and their partners (business and otherwise), the underlying doubt about the future of the ranch hangs over McBee Dynasty like the midday sun in a cloudless sky.

“The farming and ranching business is tough. The industry is hard and quite literally, we bet the farm to build out these car washes,” Steven Jr. said in a recent interview. “So seeing all these stresses and pressures that we face day in and day out, and being able to rewatch those…Whenever you’re rewatching yourself back, it’s wild. And you understand the value of family and having a support system to get you through those tough times. Without our family, we wouldn’t have anything, especially these businesses, these startups that are so hard to get to [off the ground]. And without our family to get through those tough times, we wouldn’t be able to do it.”

To his point, a lot of the show centers around the extended McBee clan, from the blurred lines between Steve and McBee’s CFO Galyna to the girlfriends of the McBee brothers. They include Jesse’s long term girlfriend Alli, along with Steven’s girlfriend Calah, who he met while filming another reality show, Joe Millionaire. That makes Steven a veteran of reality romance, although he says that there was a big difference this time around.

“I think one of the most interesting aspects of it is, this is in our environment. All the production flew out to our homes, our farming operations, we’re still running out day-to-day businesses,” Steven says. “And whenever this was being filmed, Calah and I had been on a break, quite honestly, and we were just starting to rekindle our relationship. And you get to watch that play out in real-time, on-camera. There was nothing we hid, we showcased every single conversation. Every single thing that we talked about in getting back together, the audience gets to watch it [play] out.”


Even if their relationship progresses rather smoothly, The McBee Dynasty is surprisingly heavy on dating drama. Most of this springs from newly-divorced dad Steve, who juggles multiple women throughout the season. When asked about their dad, Jesse and Steven break into wide smiles and announce that, “the same person you get to see on TV, that’s how he is today.” But their answer underscores another one of the show’s better qualities: warts-and-all authenticity.

“I think the show does a really good job of showing our personalities,” Jesse says. “How we relate to each other – how we don’t relate to each other, in our relationship to our dad – and what it’s like to have to work with family, and all the problems, not only on the business side, but on the personal and relationship side, that we have to go through and we have to get through, at the end of the day. And I really think this show does a great job of showing that.”

What The McBee Dynasty does not do a great job of showing are the hours and hours of tough manual labor that goes into managing a successful family-run farm.

“The show did a great job of capturing the beauty and the essence of farming and running a cattle operation,” Jesse says when asked what the show may have left out. “But I’d say the biggest thing is, you’ll get a 30-second clip of Cole planting in a tractor, or something like that. What you don’t realize is, he had been planting for 8-hours of that day, and then the next day, and the day after that.”

The brothers also emphasize that despite some of the drama surrounding their dad, “he is the hardest-working person that we have ever known,” according to Jesse. “You get to see, kind of the bad side – him drinking, partying. But he is working every single day of his life, and has been for 30-plus years.”

Work hard, play hard, earn an honest living: These have long been the values of the family farmer. The McBee Dynasty puts these on display, all against the backdrop of a high-stakes financial deal. Saddle Up.

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