WYOMING – Kevin Costner has always made a fairly believable cowboy (Dances with Wolves, Open Range, Wyatt Earp) so we were excited to see the trailer for an upcoming TV series called Yellowstone, featuring Costner in the lead.
The first question we had about a show called Yellowstone is, of course, is it shot on location? While much of the series shot in Utah, some scenic filming was done on location in the Bitterroot Valley near Darby, Montana.
Anything with the name Yellowstone in it should draw Wyoming viewers, but another selling point here is Taylor Sheridan. The transplanted Wyomingite who made Wind River last year is the creator, executive producer, writer and director of Yellowstone.
According to one of the show’s writers, Yellowstone is “an intense study of a violent world where land grabs make developers billions, and politicians are bought and sold by the world’s largest oil and lumber corporations. Where drinking water poisoned by fracking wells and unsolved murders are not news: they are a consequence of living in the new frontier. It is the best and worst of America seen through the eyes of a family that represents both.”
Wow, sounds like modern day life in the West. Costner plays John Dutton, who operates the largest ranch in the United States, constantly battling with land developers, an Indian reservation, and Yellowstone National Park.
Producers are hoping for a long run for Yellowstone—maybe 5-7 years. It has already pumped a reported $30 million into Utah’s economy.
Local Montanans are enjoying revenue and the chance to appear as extras in the show. And all of it almost didn’t happen. Montana’s film commissioner Allison Whitmer helped the show’s producers find suitable locations for filming.
For a while it was touch-and-go whether crews would be able to shoot at all with the historic wildfire season Montana experienced last year. Backup locations including Wyoming, Canada, and Colorado were explored but conditions cleared at the last moment after shooting was rescheduled a few times.
Yellowstone will air on the Paramount Network (formerly known as Spike) beginning this June.