‘Yellowstone’ TV Art Director Gushes About Filming Show in Montana: ‘One of the Most Beautiful Places’

by Jennifer Shea

“Yellowstone” fans are well-aware of all the series has to offer. And now the Television Academy has recognized at least one part of what makes “Yellowstone” great. “Yellowstone” has received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Production Design.

The people responsible for that aspect of the show are set decorator Carla Curry, production designer Cary White and art director Yvonne Boudreaux. And all three of them appeared recently on a “Yellowstone” panel at Deadline’s Contenders Television: The Nominees event.

The panelists agreed that the show’s success owes a lot to its authenticity. And it certainly appears that when it comes to the details, Paramount has been willing to shell out for the real deal. From hiring actual cowboys like Forrie J. Smith to filming the show in Montana, series co-creator Taylor Sheridan and his team have made sure that “Yellowstone” evokes the modern West.   

The Appeal of the ‘Yellowstone’ Backdrop

Boudreaux explained that the stories “Yellowstone” aims to tell simply wouldn’t fit on a studio lot. They needed to bring everything out to Montana. That way, audiences could get the feel of the struggles the show is trying to convey.

“Shooting in Montana and the backdrop, we couldn’t be in a better location,” Boudreaux said. “The show is about the struggle for land, and having this enormous ranch and holding onto it. And we are lucky to be in one of the most beautiful places in Montana… Being able to have those moments where the sun comes up, we experience that every day, working at the ranch and having that landscape be the backdrop for all of our sets, is really the best.”

She added that Sheridan, who writes most of the scripts, “knows what he’s writing about.” The “Yellowstone” co-creator grew up on a ranch in Cranfills Gap, Texas. And he owns several ranches in Texas – including, now, the famous 6666 Ranch – as an adult.

Show’s Montana Shooting Brings Economic Benefits to Local Towns

Since “Yellowstone” moved from Utah to Montana, towns in the Bitterroot Valley have reaped a windfall in economic perks from the show’s shooting there.

Local businesses and residents have benefited from the production’s presence in Missoula County. “Yellowstone” has rented out locations. The show has hired off-duty local cops to work security. It’s also paid the city for public right-of-way closures and blocked-off parking spots. Plus, hundreds of locals picked up $180 a day as extras.

Meanwhile, the show got a $50,000 grant earlier this year from the Montana Film Office to film Season 5 on location near Darby and Hamilton, Montana. The Chief Joseph Ranch, the real-world setting for the fictional Dutton ranch, sits near Darby. So fans can look forward to at least two more seasons of the hit Paramount Western.

As the “Yellowstone” team knows full well, those locations help make the series what it is: a convincing escape for viewers who’ve never been, and a slice of home for the West’s real cowboys.