Why ‘Yellowstone’ Co-Creator Taylor Sheridan Trains His Actors At ‘Cowboy Camp’ Before Filming

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A Friday analysis from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed the cost of “Yellowstone” co-creator Taylor Sheridan’s “Cowboy Camps,” shocking city-dwellers who have no idea how complex and costly ranch life really is.

The lengthy analysis touched upon many aspects of Sheridan’s work, but largely focused on the sheer cost of running a show like “Yellowstone.” The series, which is slated to end after its fifth and current season, is one of the most expensive shows on television, but for good reason.

Unlike so many other hit shows, “Yellowstone” doesn’t rely on CGI, and the cast is put through a brutal “cowboy camp” prior to filming in order to ensure the authenticity of the storytelling. The camp takes place at one of Sheridan’s own ranches, the 6666 Ranch (pronounced ‘Four Sixes’) in Texas.

The total cost of the camp hosted prior to shooting season five cost Paramount $214,979.61 for a week of intensive training in horsemanship and ranching, WSJ reported. It’s unclear how many people attend the “cowboy camp,” but the catering bill made up roughly $33,000 of the total. Each of the horses cost $2,000 a head for the week, and cattle were rented for $25 a head, according to an invoice cited by the outlet.

“There is definitely a premium for horses at this level, but it is something you can put an A-list star on and feel that everyone is working in a safe environment,” 101 Studios CEO David Glasser said of the camp and cost. Ensuring everyone is safe while filming is paramount to the authenticity of the show.

Sheridan has expertly managed to build additional career opportunities around the production of “Yellowstone,” all of which WSJ’s Erich Schwartzel and Joe Flint complained about in the article. But without Sheridan’s commitment to authenticity, the show could have easily been a flop. Instead, it launched a series of spin-offs, prequels and a whole slew of other unrelated shows from Sheridan that are just as epic. (RELATED: Taylor Sheridan Has An ‘Unusual’ Level Of Power That Is Apparently Pissing Off Paramount Execs)

When you take everything into account, $200,000 for a “cowboy camp” as intensive as the one some cast members have described is a pretty great deal. And it’s a drop in the ocean when you think about how much money this show brings into the network.