‘Yellowstone’ Ending Could Have Huge Consequences For Montana, Experts Say

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Experts from the University of Montana weighed in on the potential consequences of hit cowboy drama “Yellowstone” ending during an interview Wednesday.

In 2021, experts from UM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research and the school’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research found that “Yellowstone” brought in more than $730 million in tourism and employment to the state. With “Yellowstone” now coming to an untimely conclusion after the second half of season five airs in November, the same experts shed light on the potential consequences to the state of Montana.

“I’m sure it’s in most people’s minds, is that since we studied the show, and it’s filming in the state, and showed that it had some pretty significant impacts on employment and income and so forth, that the end of the show would produce the reverse,” UM’s Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research Patrick Barkley told NBC Montana.

Thankfully, it looks like a whole slew of spin-off and prequel series will continue within the “Yellowstone” universe. “Obviously the spin offs, and there’s other interest in filming in Montana. In that sense, so the other things that the show did will go on,” Barkely noted, but there is no confirmed guarantee that the next series from “Yellowstone” will be set in Montana.

But other productions are already turning to Montana as the best filming location. Alec Baldwin’s notorious film “Rust” is currently filming at the Paradise Valley where “Yellowstone” ranch is located, NBC noted.

“I think it has brought more film industry support activity to the state of Montana, which makes us more competitive as a site for future productions of all kinds,” Barkley continued. (RELATED: ‘Yellowstone’ Creator Reportedly ‘Furious’ With Kevin Costner)

“Yellowstone” brought more than 2.1 million visitors to Montana in 2021, and created more than 10,200 jobs across the state for a wide range of industries. Barkley appeared confident that the legacy of “Yellowstone” is enough to keep bringing money into Montana, even with the show ending in the coming year. What an amazing, huge consequence of co-creator Taylor Sheridan’s incredible work.