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Yellowstone (2018- ) is an increasingly popular American drama series centered around the Dutton family, who own the largest ranch in Montana.
The Yellowstone Dutton Ranch is over 500,000 acres and shares its borders with the Broken Rock Indian Reservation, Yellowstone National Park, and land developers. This sparks various conflicts throughout the show.
Yellowstone is primarily filmed on the Chief Joseph Ranch near Darby, Montana. Additional filming locations are found across Montana, Utah, and North Texas.
The western family drama is set in the present day and stars Kevin Costner, Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, and Cole Hauser in main roles. The first season premiered on Paramount Network in June 2018, and Season 4 came out recently in November 2021.
So far, Yellowstone has two prequel series titled 1883 and 1932, and a planned spin-off 6666.
Below are the Yellowstone filming locations and common questions about the real Dutton Ranch!
Yellowstone Filming Locations
Most of the filming for the Yellowstone series was carried out in the states of Montana and Utah. Up to and including Season 3, over half of the show’s scenes were filmed in Utah. From Season 4 onwards, filming for the series switched entirely to Montana.
Here are the main filming locations of Yellowstone:
The Chief Joseph Ranch (Dutton Ranch)
This working cattle and guest ranch doubles as the Dutton family ranch in the show. Also known as the “log mansion” home of John Dutton, the main house was built between 1914 and 1917.
According to Yellowstone set decorator Carla Curry, all of the house’s building materials came from the ranch itself!
The Chief Joseph Ranch is a 150-acre property surrounded by the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana. Its breathtaking scenery attracts numerous visitors during the summer months when production is not ongoing.
There are also two luxurious lodges available to rent where guests can even bring their own horses!
Various parts of the property were used as the Dutton Ranch in Yellowstone. These include the main house, the barns, corrals, round pen, arena, cabins, bunkhouse, armory, cemetery, as well as the woods.
Utah Film Studios
The series has filmed extensively in the Utah Film Studios near Park City, Utah. The production took up all three soundstages at the studios, equalling a total of 45,000 square feet.
Moreover, the Nickolaus Clubhouse at Promontory Club in Park City appears as Dan Jenkins’ lodge in the series.
Yellowstone also features many other Utah locations and towns, such as Oakley, Heber City, Kamas, Logan, and Grantsville.
Crow Indian Reservation
Several scenes in Yellowstone were shot at the Crow Indian Reservation in southern Montana. The reservation has existed since 1868 and its territory includes the counties of Treasure, Big Horn, and Yellowstone.
Montana State Capitol
The magnificent Montana State Capitol in Helena serves as the governor’s office in the show. Many court scenes were filmed in the building’s Old Supreme Court chamber, which features stunning Greek neoclassical architecture.
Western Montana’s Bitterroot River Valley boasts spectacular views of the mountains on the Montana-Idaho border. The valley is not only home to the iconic Chief Joseph Ranch, but various other Yellowstone filming locations too.
The city of Ogden in Utah is home to several Yellowstone filming locations. Located around 40 miles north of Salt Lake City, Ogden is a popular destination for skiing, hiking, and mountain biking enthusiasts.
Many scenes of the show take place on the famous 25th Street of Ogden. Among others, the exterior of the Schwartz & Meyer bank and the Endless Indulgence bar is found on 25th street. Walking along the street, visitors can indulge in fine restaurants, art galleries, and excellent shops.
At night, the city of Ogden comes alive with people letting off steam in the local bars and nightclubs. Scenes in a club featured on the show were recorded at The Outlaw Saloon in Ogden (Source: Atlas of Wonders).
Spanish Fork Fairgrounds
The fairgrounds near the town of Spanish Fork serve as the venue for the annual Utah County Fair. What’s more, several rodeo scenes of the Yellowstone series were also filmed here.
During the production of Yellowstone Season 4, the cast and crew spent considerable time shooting in the city of Missoula in Western Montana. For example, the trial in the season finale was filmed at the historical Missoula County Courthouse.
Other filming locations in Missoula include the Community Medical Center and Ruby’s Cafe.
Four Sixes Ranch
Last but not least, the iconic Four Sixes Ranch will serve as the main filming location for the upcoming Yellowstone spin-off, 6666.
As we cover in our guide on who owns 6666 Ranch, the show’s creator Taylor Sheridan recently purchased the ranch for just under $200 million!
Frequently spelled as the 6666 Ranch, the property has existed since 1900 and spans 350,000 acres. Prior to the sale, the legendary ranch was a key institution of American Quarter Horse Racing.
6666 Ranch is also used as a filming location for 1883, another Yellowstone Spin-Off series.
Is Yellowstone Filmed on a Real Ranch?
Yellowstone is filmed on a real working cattle and guest ranch known as the Chief Joseph Ranch. The original 2,500-acre property was established in 1880 and had various names and owners throughout its history.
When the show’s location manager stumbled upon the eye-catching ranch, he decided it was perfect for the series. As the property wasn’t on the official list of filming locations, the manager contacted the owners via a “cold call”. The rest, as they say, is history.
The video below gives an insider’s look into the real-life Dutton Ranch ranch house:
Where is the Dutton Ranch Located?
The “real” Dutton ranch is located one mile south of Darby in Ravalli County, Western Montana. The property lies in the scenic Bitterroot River Valley close to the mountain range bordering Idaho.
If you are a Yellowstone fan hoping to snap a shot of the iconic Dutton Ranch gates, you are in luck. The current owners allow fans to approach the main entrance, as long as they are not blocking the drive. The Chief Josep Ranch website gives clear directions to visitors traveling to the property.
Here is Chief Joseph Ranch (Dutton Ranch) on Google Maps:
The other ranch buildings such as the barns and menage’s can be seen just to the north of the ranch house across the road.
Can You Visit the Dutton Ranch?
You can visit the Dutton ranch throughout most of the year by renting out one of the guest cabins. Each reservation includes a tour of the property with access to various Yellowstone filming locations.
The guest cabins are open to visitors from March to the first week of January, excluding production dates. The cabins are self-catering only and feature a fully equipped kitchen and an outdoor grill. The main lodge is not available to rent.
Other than luxurious accommodation and spectacular scenery, guests of the ranch can enjoy excellent fishing spots. There are also pastures and corrals suitable to house guests’ horses and many beautiful riding trails nearby.
How Much Does it Cost to Stay at the Yellowstone Ranch?
There are two cabins available to rent on the Yellowstone ranch, each with a 3-night minimum stay. The Fisherman’s Cabin costs $1,200 per night for up to four people, while The Ben Cook Cabin costs $1,500 a night for four guests. There is an additional $50 charge for each extra guest.
The Fisherman’s Cabin doubles as Lee Dutton’s cabin in the series. It boasts a king-size bed in the master bedroom, two queen-size beds upstairs, and two twin-size beds in the loft. The cabin also has two full bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, and screened-in porch.
Luxurious amenities and epic views of the Bitterroot River, Sapphire, and Bitterroot Mountains make guest visits truly worthwhile. The cabin is equipped with its own washer and dryer, Weber grill, DirectTV and Wi-Fi.
In Yellowstone, The Ben Cook Cabin appears as Rip Wheeler’s and later Kayce’s cabin. It offers three queen-size beds and two twin beds, alongside two bathrooms, two porches, a kitchen, and a living room.
The Ben Cook Cabin also has excellent amenities and incredible views of the surrounding mountains. Like the Fisherman’s Cabin, the unit sleeps a maximum of eight guests. Find out more details on the Chief Joseph Ranch website here.
Who owns the Chief Joseph Ranch in Montana?
The current owners of the Chief Joseph Ranch in Montana are Shane Libel and his family. According to Yellowstone location manager Mark Jarrett, the Libels signed a five-season contract with the producers.
Mark Jarrett told Page Six, “If it had been any other family, I don’t know if the deal would have happened, with Hollywood standing on your doorstep. I can’t say enough about the Libels.”
Also read: 20 Best Yellowstone Characters (Ranked)
Is Yellowstone Based On A True Story?
Although the Yellowstone ranch does exist in real life, the series is not based on a true story. The plot was created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson and is entirely fictional.
The popular TV show is not based on a novel or book series, either. Sheridan’s inspiration for the stories of Yellowstone came from real changes he has seen in the mountainous regions of the Western United States.
Yellowstone is a series built on ranching, power, land development, and the lengths men will go to advance in all three.
Despite being fictional, the show tackles real-world issues such as resource mismanagement, oppression, inequity in government, and extreme poverty.