“Given Our Ranchers A Bad Name”: Yellowstone’s Impact On Montana Boom Gets Candid Response From Residents

Yellowstone’s impact on the state of Montana receives a candid response from real residents who claim the show has given their ranchers “a bad name.” Co-created by Taylor Sheridan and premiered in 2018, Yellowstone primarily follows the fictional Dutton family, who own and operate the largest ranch located in the state of Montana. The show follows family conflicts at the ranch, but also bloody conflicts that break out between the bordering Broken Rock Indian Reservation and outside land developers.

A recent article from The Washington Post provides a comprehensive overview of how Yellowstone has impacted the state of Montana. The show’s popularity has created a tourism boom for the state, as Lucy Beighle, the director of communications for Glacier Country Tourism, and Nathan St. Goddard, who serves on the Montana Tourism Advisory Council, can attest. However, Yellowstone has also created many misconceptions for fans visiting Montana. Mark Greeno, who has lived in Bozeman at the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch for six years with his wife Sue, says “The show has given our ranchers a bad name.”

The biggest impact Yellowstone has had on Montana is exploding its tourism industry. A study conducted by the University of Montana found that 2 million people were inspired by Yellowstone to visit Montana in 2021. These tourists spent a total of $730 million in the state, according to the study. A lot of this money was spent on merchandise designed to look like the Duttons’ things, including, of course, cowboy hats. Kim Parker, the manager of the Western Outdoor retail store, says “some people want us to shape hats like Rip’s,” while women want Beth Dutton’s Stetson crushable hat.

While Yellowstone is driving millions of tourists to Montana, the show has also created many misconceptions about the state. The show often depicts ranching like the Wild West with gunfights and assassination attempts, which isn’t an accurate representation of modern ranching in Montana. Hillary Folkvord, who runs a motel and restaurant, and St. Goddard both point out that Yellowstone is only shot during the summer, so tourists are often blown away by the cold and wind when visiting during the winter. Overall, Yellowstone has brought both prosperity and misconceptions to Montana, leaving residents with mixed feelings about its impact.

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