HomeEntertainmentTVYellowstone‘Yellowstone’: Why Are Oil Wells Shown in the Opening Sequence?

‘Yellowstone’: Why Are Oil Wells Shown in the Opening Sequence?

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Paramount+/Paramount Network)

We’ve all seen them, and we’ve all wondered about them, those “Yellowstone” oil wells. “Yellowstone” doesn’t deal much with oil, focusing mostly on cattle ranching. So, what’s the significance of having oil wells in the opening sequence? Is there a significance?

Fans took to Reddit to discuss the imagery, with some users sharing that they are from Montana or its surrounding areas. They shared their firsthand knowledge of the landscape, and the answers are interesting.

Many fans came to the conclusion that “Yellowstone” is just trying to portray how industry destroys the natural land. Same with the image of the strip mining machine. “I’ve always believed the intro represents the West in general and what’s happened to it over the past decades,” one fan replied. So, it could be imagery of the West itself, as the Duttons were big into westward expansion, as we’ve seen from “1883.”

Still, it could represent Montana culture as a whole. Some fans with apparent ties to the area elaborated on the oil industry in Montana. “There is a lot of oil drilling in east Montana and west North Dakota,” wrote a fan who mentioned that they lived in North Dakota and traveled to Montana. “It’s like a part of the culture in Montana. Oil and ranching.”

As someone who’s driven the 6 hours and change from Glacier National Park in Montana to Yellowstone in Wyoming, I can tell you there are indeed a few oil fields in Montana. There’s a lot of open, empty prairie as well, though. Rolling hills, and swaying grasses, and grazing cows. A few tiny towns. But there are also cities, and industry, depending on which roads you take. Montana is a pleasant mix of civilization and rural, wild land.

Fans Discuss Montana Industry to Explain ‘Yellowstone’ Oil Wells

According to a “Yellowstone” fan who claims they live in Montana, the eastern part of the state sits on oil deposits, and most of the drilling is done there, near the border with North Dakota. There are a ton of oil fields all over Montana, though. So, it seems the “Yellowstone” oil wells are just images used to represent the state’s booming industry.

The oil wells, some of which are reopening in the Bakken oil fields in eastern Montana as of yesterday due to rising oil prices, make a big difference in the state’s economy. The Montana Petroleum Association is looking to reopen some of their stalled oil fields to combat rising oil prices, according to KRTV out of Montana. Unfortunately, there are personnel and supply shortages now, which throws a wrench into those plans.

Additionally, Montana used to be a big coal mining state, as well. Butte was the biggest city between Chicago and San Francisco, according to the previous “Yellowstone” fan, because it had rich coal deposits. So, it seems that “Yellowstone” is drawing on Montana’s history to create stunning visuals for its opening sequence.