Deemed one of the most influential shows on television and crushing cable ratings as number one last year, Yellowstone is a massive hit. Of course, the neo-western drama owes part of that success to the cutthroat, conniving characters played by the show's phenomenal cast. While we can debate Dutton siblings all day long, the actors aren't the only ones responsible for the 15 million fans who tuned in to the season 4 finale.
From rippling rivers to violet-shaded mountain ranges, the show's other main character—the land—captivates viewers. But, sorry, Woody Guthrie, this land was not made for you and me. For a show whose entire premise is the extreme lengths people will go to protect their territory, authenticity is key. Let's look into where production shoots Yellowstone, why it adds value to the gritty saga, and what we can expect to see more of in season 5.
What part of the country is Yellowstone shot?
Director of photography Christina Alexandra Voros said in an interview with IndieWire that the show's creator Taylor Sheridan isn't aiming to create a typical TV show. He wants it to play out like a "10-hour movie," and location is a principal point in his strategy.
According to Voros, one episode might take place entirely on the ranch, while another has the cast and crew traveling to 30 different areas. Until the fourth season, Yellowstone shot 70-75% of production in Utah on three different sound stages, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Scenes stretched over twenty locations in the Beehive state, but from the fourth season on, the majority of scenes have been filmed in Montana.
The Duttons and their growing list of foes are now nestled between two mountain ranges in the Bitterroot Valley. The area, a little under five hours from Yellowstone National Park, is responsible for those breathtaking views looming behind the unfolding drama onscreen. And it's not just the show's spinoffs causing competition with Marvel for who can create the biggest cinematic universe—Yellowstone is building its fictional world IRL.
Production reportedly secured a 40,000-square-foot space over a hundred acres in Missoula, Montana. So while the events we're watching unfold on our TVs may be fictional, they're taking place in real towns. Yellowstone filmed that tense diner shoot-out scene in season 4 at Ruby's Cafe, a decades-old town staple in Missoula. Additionally, other action sequences wind us through actual backcountry roads in the Montana town.
The Yellowstone Ranch
There's a reason you don't spot the Hollywood Hills or an overworked PA running in the background of the scenes shot on the Dutton Ranch. Yellowstone films on Chief Joseph Ranch—a working cattle ranch near Darby, Montana.
No cardboard walls or studio lighting in this neck of the woods. After the third season, Yellowstone even filmed those interior shots of the Dutton log cabin at Chief Joseph Ranch. The property houses a 5,000-square-foot mansion, and two cabins guests can rent out when filming isn't taking place.
Broken Rock Indian Reservation
As with the ranch, Broken Rock Indian Reservation isn't a series of set pieces that double for other shows on the Paramount Network. Travel 10 miles outside Billings, Montana and you'll hit The Crow Indian Reservation. Spanning about 2.2 million acres, it's the largest reservation in Montana.
It's not only the location that represents a genuine portrayal of an American Indian reservation. Crow Nation tribal chairman AJ Not Afraid said in an interview with Variety that he sees the series as "a more honest, accurate portrayal of the modern American Indian that we’ve seen before."
Governor's Office and Courtroom Scenes
Whether they're calling for quiet on set or order in the court, both exclamations make sense in the context of the governor's office and courtroom scenes. Every gavel bang is shot at the State Capitol Building in Helena, Montana.
So now that you know where production films Yellowstone, the next questions is who's up for a road trip?
You Might Also Like