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The hit Paramount Plus series Yellowstone, which is based on the dramatic events of a fictional Montana ranching family, has been put on blast for its portrayal of the ranching community.
Co-created by Taylor Sheridan and premiering in 2018, Yellowstone focuses on the Dutton family’s struggles to maintain control of Montana’s largest ranch.
Despite the show’s appeal, some locals believe it casts a negative shadow on their livelihoods.
Mark Greeno, a resident of Bozeman and a rancher at the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch for six years, told Washington Post: “The show has given our ranchers a bad name.”
A recent University of Montana study revealed that Yellowstone inspired two million tourists to visit the state in 2021, resulting in an estimated $730 million economic boost.
Merchandise mimicking the style of the show’s characters, especially the Duttons, is in high demand.
Kim Parker, the manager of Western Outdoor, noted that men often request hats shaped like the one worn by the character Rip, while women favor Beth Dutton’s Stetson crushable hat.
However, with the mass amounts of visitors flocking to the Montana attraction comes a wave of misconceptions.
The show, filled with scenes of gunfights and conspiracies, has inadvertently painted a picture of Montana ranching reminiscent of the Wild West, contrasting sharply with the modern reality.
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Hillary Folkvord, a local business owner, and Nathan St. Goddard of the Montana Tourism Advisory Council, pointed out another misconception.
They observed that the series predominantly films during the summer months, leading many ill-prepared tourists to be surprised by Montana’s harsh winter conditions.
The combination of increased tourism revenue and the misconstrued image of ranching life has left Montanans with mixed feelings about the TV show’s impact on their state.
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