For many viewers, “Yellowstone” is an escapist romp through gorgeous Western scenery. But for Missoula locals, the show’s backdrop is home.
The show’s work in Missoula and in the Bitterroot Valley has brought an economic windfall for the area, the Missoulian reports.
Locals Welcome “Yellowstone” Home
The first three seasons of “Yellowstone” were filmed in Utah. The Paramount Network spent about $80 million on the production. But then the Montana Legislature passed a $10 million tax credit, tempting Paramount away from Utah for this year.
In Missoula, Ruby’s Café has offered locals a classic diner ambiance for nearly half a century. Brenda Hallas owns the café. The show paid her to film there one day.
“A couple months ago some people scouting for the show were in here and asking me ‘do you mind if we take pictures’ and looking around,” Hallas told the Missoulian. “They came in later and said, ‘you’re our No. 1 choice’ and asked me if we’d be interested. We have this look that nobody else has anymore.”
“Yellowstone” was in there from 6 a.m. until about 9 p.m. this October. The show made quite a mess. But they hired local people to clean the place top to bottom and scrub out all the fake blood the show left in its wake. It was spotless by the time the crew took off.
“I do have to say they were incredible to work with,” Hallas told the Missoulian. “I cannot tell you a negative. Of course, I never met the cast, I only dealt with the crew. And the crew I dealt with was absolutely wonderful. They were so professional. They were just Johnny-on-the-spot with immediate responses.”
An Economic Windfall
Local businesses and the city have benefited from the show’s presence. Its production company rented a warehouse nearby to use as a sound stage. Off-duty local police officers found work as security for “Yellowstone.” The show also paid the city for public right-of-way closures and blocked-off parking spots when they filmed downtown, according to the Missoulian. Hundreds of locals earned $180 a day as extras.
Missoula County facilities director Jason Hauser told the Missoulian that the show paid $16,000 to use the Missoula County Courthouse one weekend.
“They were very good to work with,” Hauser said. “There were only a few minor things damaged, and they paid for repairs. They didn’t impede public access at all.”