Is “Yellowstone” based on a true story?

April 18, 2024
7 mins read

Wondering if “Yellowstone” is based on a true story? What inspired the writers to produce the Dutton family drama? When part one of the “Yellowstone” season 5 was launched, viewers have been concerned about finding out whether the series is based on a true story. Fans have also been interested in learning about the Dutton family story, which some believe to be real. Read on to learn if “Yellowstone” is based on a true story, and what inspired it.

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“Yellowstone” is a Western drama series about the Dutton family, which owns the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, the biggest in Montana. The drama series premiered in June 2018 and revolves around the Dutton family at the ranch, bordering a national park, the Broken Rock Indian Reservation, and developers in need of the family’s piece of land.

“Yellowstone” is centered on John Dutton III, a character acted by Kevin Costner, a sixth-generation patriarch and widowed member of the Dutton family who owns and runs the ranch. He fights to protect the ranch from those seeking to repossess his family’s land for other developments that do not align with the interests of the family.


The producer of “Yellowstone,” Taylor Sheridan believes that the drama series has been a success with the audiences, although critics have different views and reservations. He makes it clear that the series is for people who experience the life it portrays. The writer also states that the audience is expanding, because many people love westerns; they provide entertainment and different perspectives about life in the west.

People who resonate with the plot depicted in the drama series will certainly love it. “Yellowstone” flows through different genres, where it sets the stage for being campy, then becomes dramatic, and violent. It’s a blend of the old western, new western, and soap opera. While it infuriates other people, it appeals to the interests of individuals who love storytelling.

“Yellowstone” is a hit partly because its location is fantastic, it’s acted in a wicked way, and explores a world that is unknown to many people. It consists of powerhouse actors who put on an outstanding performance.

Is “Yellowstone” Based on a True Story?

The answer is ‘no’, because “Yellowstone” is not based on true people or events that have happened in real life. However, Taylor Sheridan revealed in an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 2018 that the series explores issues that he’s witnessed, and the problems that still exist in US’s western mountain states.

For instance, “Yellowstone” explores issues related to land development, oppression, resource mismanagement, extreme poverty and inequality. These challenges still exist in other parts of the US, and the consequences are dire, especially when they happen in small rural areas with fewer people.

Taylor also added that once construction companies start encroaching on landscapes in farms and ranches, the effects are more dramatic. He reiterated that the show is based on the “gentrification” that has occurred in the western states, a process where wealthier people move to poor or less developed areas and begin to improve them by building new houses and launching other developments.

While gentrification attracts new businesses and improves the overall appearance of the place, it often displaces the current inhabitants in the process. The creator of the “Yellowstone” drama series has witnessed some of these changes in mountain states, such as Wyoming and Montana where he stays.

Gentrification mainly benefits wealthy people at the expense of the less privileged. When the place is developed, only the rich can afford the modern properties, and natives will be pushed off their land. In other words, this process creates inequality among people living in a certain area. The rich can use their influence to determine the state of affairs in a particular area, which will put other people at a disadvantage.

The creator of the drama series places the white rancher in a position of Native Americans, which was different 100-plus years before the onset of gentrification. What is taking place now in the west puts the natives at a disadvantage; for example, once the land developers move in and make improvements, they often sell that fantasy to wealthy people.


In most cases, the rich people who become the new occupants often come from affluent areas such as Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, and Florida. As a result, the poorer natives end up landless because they cannot afford properties constructed on their indigenous land.

When wealthy people buy pieces of land in the western states, they often use them for weekend getaways, and in the process, the way of life of the indigenous people is impacted. Land values and other aspects such as inheritance taxes are bound to increase, which will affect the welfare and lifestyle of the people living in the gentrified places.

Sheridan revealed in an interview with CBS news in 2022, that “Yellowstone” derived its inspiration from his experience as a rancher – most of the horses used in the filming of the drama series are his. He said that the horses are not very safe, and this is why the actors are not always riding on them – the horses were specifically bought for the drama series, and the creator taught the actors how to ride them.

Are the Duttons a Real Family?

The Duttons are not a real family. According to the equestrian website Horsey Hooves, the family’s patriarch John Dutton could have been inspired by famous ranchers such as Bill Galt and W.T. Waggoner. Waggoner owned the 525,000-acre Waggoner Ranch in North Texas, which was founded in 1849, was once the largest ranch in the US, and was passed down through several generations.

The Waggoner family owned the ranch until 2015, when it was sold to businessman Stan Kroenke for $725 million. Bill Galt is the owner of the 248,000-acre ranch in Montana, the same ranch where “Yellowstone” is set. Horsey Hooves said Galt is also known as “The Last American Cowboy.”

Cowboy life is still common in North Texas, although it’s facing some challenges from gentrification. As a result, “Yellowstone” sought to portray a western life unknown to many people. The drama series draws its audience from people who love the cowboy lifestyle, since the practice is no longer widespread across the US.


Is the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch Real?

Although “Yellowstone” is not based on a true story, the ranch where the drama series takes place is real – Chief Joseph Ranch is found in Darby, Montana, and consists of several cabins used by guests as accommodation when they visit, and several have appeared in the show. The key areas that appear in the drama series include Rip’s Cabin also called the Ben Cook Cabin in real life, the Armory, the Trapper cabin, and Lee’s cabin also called the Fisherman Cabin.

Shane Libel and his family own Chief Joseph Ranch – when the property was chosen as the filming location for “Yellowstone”, the Libels family and the filmmakers signed a five-season contract. Apart from the 5,000-square-foot mansion and cabins, other film locations include the armory, barns, arena and corrals.

The Chief Joseph Ranch consists of a real family home, also used for vacations. When not being used for film production, the cabins around the home are available for rental for a minimum of three nights. The guests are treated to a memorable Yellowstone experience.

In “Yellowstone” Season 5, Texas’ Four Sixes Ranch featured is a real ranch, and it will be the filming venue for “Yellowstone”’s upcoming spin-off of the 6666 show. The 350,000-acre 6666 Ranch has a rich history, as it was founded in the 19th century when West Texas was still ruled by Comanches.

The 6666 Ranch appeared in “Yellowstone” Season 4, and featured Jimmy, who was sent to Texas to become a real cowboy. In May 2021, Taylor Sheridan and a group of investors bought the ranch for use as one filming location for “Yellowstone and will feature in future episodes.

The 6666 Ranch is real and still functioning as it has over the last two centuries, encompasses the history of the country. At this ranch, the laws of nature and the rule of law merge in a typical fashion where some of the most dangerous events take place. The 6666 is a place where world-class cowboys are made, and is synonymous with an attempt to raise the finest livestock and horses in the world, still produce high-quality Quarter Horses and Angus cattle.


Is There Going to be a Yellowstone Season 6?

Many viewers often wonder if there will be a “Yellowstone” Season 6. However, the good news is that one of the actors – Cole Hauser who plays Rip Wheeler – confirmed in November 2022 that there will be one more season. He said there’s a lot of work going on to fully utilize the talent to fulfill the needs of the audience.

According to the executive producer Taylor Sheridan, “Yellowstone” comprises a diverse crew that is concerned about producing the best result. However, he confirmed in 2021 to “The New York Times” that he doesn’t want Yellowstone to run for nine seasons, so has actually already written the ending – taking too long without preparing the end can lead to stagnation of the show, so he’s still confident that the show will not run out of steam as it nears the end. So season 6, could well be the final

Yellowstone is not based on real life or fiction, but on world events. The creator has hinted that there has to be movement and evolution toward the conclusion.

Sheridan has already decided on the ending of “Yellowstone,” but has hinted at opening up more spin-offs after “1883,” “1923,” and “6666”; he doesn’t want to limit his creativity. More importantly, the creator has also expressed his connection to the sparseness of the west, since this is where he spent most of his lifetime.

Sheridan lived in New York briefly and enjoyed his stay, but clearly states that he cannot write about this place. Instead, he’s fascinated by outdoor events, which motivated him to write “Yellowstone”, saying that the outdoor world helps him get a clear picture of the vastness of the US.

Sheridan says that life in New York is different from living in western states, which still have many places in their natural state. It’s easier for him to observe the things that happen in these open places than in build-up areas like cities. Although Sheridan’s hinted that “Yellowstone” will come to an end, he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of future episodes based on unfolding events.

Martha Clifford

As an Author at Net Worth Post, I guide a dedicated team in the art of revealing the stories behind the world's most influential personalities. Fueled by a relentless curiosity and a knack for uncovering hidden stories, I immerse myself in the intricacies of our subjects' lives, weaving together accurate data and compelling narratives. My involvement spans the entire editorial process, from the seed of research to the final flourish of publication, ensuring that every article not only educates but also captivates and motivates our audience.

At Net Worth Post, we are committed to providing thorough investigations into the net worth and life achievements of innovators across diverse sectors such as technology, culture, and social entrepreneurship. My method merges meticulous research with eloquent storytelling, designed to bridge the gap between our readers and the remarkable individuals who redefine our tomorrow. Through spotlighting their journeys to success, the hurdles they've surmounted, and their contributions to society, we aim to give our readers a deep and inspiring insight into the luminaries who are paving the way for progress and ingenuity in the modern era.

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