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Is Yellowstone Based On A True Story?

Yellowstone Feature

In the first scene of Paramount Network’s Yellowstone, Kevin Costner’s John Dutton emerges from a steamy car crash, approaches a dying horse, apologizes, and shoots him in the head.

The Series is western, drama, soap opera, and 100% quirky. Yellowstone, which airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET, became the second most-watched Series on cable last year, after The Walking Dead. The Series is shrouded in mystery — a soap opera that relies equally heavily on issues of cowboys and cowboy stereotypes. Yet somehow, it topped as a commercial success at a time when cable TV shows were in decline.

So, for those interested in what this phenomenon is or just in need of a reminder, here’s a recap of what happened in Season 1. Developed by Taylor Sheridan (who wrote the acclaimed Sicario and Hell or High Waters), a descendant of the Dutton family. They own and operate Yellowstone Ranch, the largest continuous ranch in the United States. The Dutton family is constantly at odds with land developers who want to divide their land, and his community of Montana natives called the Broken Rock Reservation (which makes the show problematic simply called “Indians”).

Is Yellowstone Based On A True Story?

No, Yellowstone is a completely fictional series created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson. Yellowstone is real, but this show is completely fictional! However, Yellowstone was filmed on an actual ranch in Montana. It’s not worth sneezing at. Additionally, Yellowstone Ranch is not a Montana location, and the title of the largest ranch in the United States resides in Texas’ King Ranch, which stretches over a whopping 825,000 acres.


The show may not be based on real people, but co-creators Taylor Sheridan and John Linson have arguably inspired the lives of real ranchers throughout history and what modern ranchers endure daily. Inspired by the struggles As Marie Claire points out, the cast and creators of Yellowstone almost certainly looked to ranch history for inspiration for the Series.

According to Looper, W.T. Wagoner at Wagoner Ranch in Texas may have been one of the main inspirations behind the Series. Founded in 1849, the Wagoner Ranch has long held the title of America’s largest ranch, with vast tracts of land owned by generations of the Wagoner family.

But just as Yellowstone faces competition from companies looking to buy land for Shaw, in February 2016, Wagoner Ranch announced that it had acquired several from around the world, including the Los Angeles Rams and Arsenal FC.Sports team owner Stan Kroenke for his $725 million.

Marie Claire also said that actor Kevin Costner gave elements of his performance to his father, William — one of his 11 children who grew up on a wheat farm in Oklahoma. Yellowstone not only draws inspiration from past ranch legends but also features several prominent faces in the Series itself, including a cameo appearance with famed trainer Buster Welch in Season 4.

Yellowstone Ranch may be fictional, but the Series is filmed on real ranches, specifically Chief Joseph’s Ranch in Derby, Montana. Fans of the Yellowstone series can choose to stay with Chief Joseph at his lunch. There are many cabins on site, also used for filming, for visitors to come and stay. Rates range from $1,200 for him to $1,500 for his four people per night, according to Parade.


Yellowstone traces the comings and goings of the Dutton family, Montana’s largest landowners. In just two seasons, Yellowstone has become one of the most-watched TV shows in the world, surpassed only by The Walking Dead (2010~). The Series is known for its diverse characters who don’t necessarily fall into the “good” or “evil” category.

But the main reason Yellowstone has become a global hit is its authentic portrayal of cowboy culture. The show is so realistic that some fans have started questioning whether it’s based on real events and people. However, they were inspired by real-world problems such as injustice, racism, poverty, oppression, and corruption. Sheridan also benefits from his own experience growing up on his family’s ranch in Texas and working as a cowboy.

Additionally, many real cowboys and ranchers work for him on set to make the show even more authentic. Other works by Sheridan are originals. Unlike the show, Sheridan’s neo-western themes that inspired his Series are very real. The writer and director built the story on the recent changes he saw in the western United States. These changes are concentrated in his three main areas: energy, land development, and livestock.

It’s easy to see that these three pillars underpin Yellowstone’s history. Although the Series is primarily set in Montana, the issues addressed in the Series affect every western state.

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