“Yellowstone Effect”

Devin Murnin, Western Livestock Journal, 8/29/2022

Most people have seen or heard of the hit TV show “Yellowstone” that airs on the Paramount Network. Admittedly, I have watched the show. It is set in picturesque Montana and packed with drama, lots of action and overly-fictionalized storylines around a ranching family trying to keep together the generational ranch that has been passed down to them.

This show is hard to watch if you are involved in production agriculture for the many incorrect portrayals of ranching practices and the over-the-top daily issues faced by this fictional family. However, it seems to be resonating with the public and is causing an influx of people wishing to move to the Big Sky state. The “Yellowstone effect” is real in Montana, and we have seen population growth and skyrocketing demand for real estate.

It’s no secret that the pandemic changed work dynamics, and the ability for employees to work remotely resulted in people moving away from areas with a high cost of living to more affordable locations around the country. Montana saw a huge demand increase for property. For example, in Bozeman, where the storyline of “Yellowstone” is based, the median price for a single-family home was a mere $500,000 a few short years ago.

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5 responses to ““Yellowstone Effect”

  1. Yes, this is so true. Bozeman has changed dramatically and long-time residents here are being priced out. Very sad. I have boycotted the show.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Though all the rage, I was unable to stomach more than 10 minutes of one episode and haven’t been back. Everything wrong with capitalizing on the ranching culture! Thanks, Darcy.


  2. Thanks for posting Devin’s column. I have not viewed Yellowstone. Sounds a lot like some of the other movies, soaps and series that make hay(seeds) of ranchers and farmers. I thought the migration to the mountain states was largely driven by the politics of people with enough money to flock with kindred believers and deniers somewhere other than California. I have been totally unaware of the Y. Effect motivation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is far worse than Devin or your comments describe. It is largely filmed in my town and nearby. I have not watched a minute of it as I correctly decided not to owing to the number of times i have had to look at Costner’s mug on the cover of Cowboy and Indians at the grocery store check out. I have met a delightful young woman, the daughter of Michael Landon. very quiet, polite; a busy, professional woman. She pays the character “Teeter”. When I googled a you tube (I found several). Her character is a truly awful creature trapped in the dialogue of some terrible writing. That said, the local populace can’t buy enough “Dutton Ranch” gear, not unlike Raider fans, and queue up for hours to be an “extra”; certain that their “discovery” awaits them.

    The locals, new and old still don’t get it……….Gene Autry, Ronald Reagan, John Wayne, even the local Gary Cooper………those boys were NOT cowboys…..they were actors. Now, Costner while not a cowboy, is damn sure not a rancher. Not in current times nor in the mythologies that live on in the brains and hearts of some.

    Liked by 1 person

    • An identity crisis for those whose amassed wealth, just numbers on a balance sheet, no longer satisfies them or their egos, I suspect. Far easier to transform ranchlands and make an impact on the surrounding community, be somebody, than to actually do something beneficial for others. And what great fictionalized consequences as entertainment for the uninformed. My congratulations to Devin and WLJ for addressing a problem that has concerned me and many others in this culture.


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