The Dutton family ranch is a cash cow. And there's a fascinating new reveal on just how impactful it's been in Montana.

The University of Montana's UM News Service just released a report on Paramount Network's TV series "Yellowstone", its resulting influx of tourists to Montana, and the amount of spending related to the show's epic success. When the UM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research Director offers his observations, you know you're probably talking about some eye-popping figures.

With its immense popularity with a worldwide audience showing no signs of waning (over 12 million viewers), the report indicates that "Yellowstone" brought in an estimated 2.1 million visitors and over $730 million in spending to Montana in 2021. So says the UM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) and UM’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research. It is pretty fair to say that the TV show is definitely a major player when it comes to marketing Montana.

This survey piggybacks more recent findings to really help embellish and make sense of the dollars and cents the show has sent.

While using 2021 numbers, this study combined a 2022 study, also conducted by the BBER, to better grasp the overall magnitude of "Yellowstone's" total economic impact. That is in essence the summary of its findings, presented by Dr. Patrick Barkey, UM BBER Director, and a frequent guest on Townsquare Media/Missoula's KGVO Radio.

According to Dr. Barkey, when the 2022 study was extended to include the impact of visitor spending, that hybrid evaluation was a game changer. Dr. Barkey was quoted by UM News Service as saying, “Extending our previous analysis to include the impacts of tourism spending was eye-opening.”

Here are some more of the staggering figures presented in the new study:

$730.1 million in spending to the state’s economy.


$44.5 million in state tax revenues directed in whole or in part to the general fund.


10,200-plus jobs across a wide spectrum of industries, including both tourism-related and other industries.


$376 million in income received by Montana households.


Roughly $1.1 billion in output, or gross receipts, of Montana business and non-business organizations.


2.1 million visitors to Montana in 2021 whose decision to visit was the result of the show.


3,305 more people attracted and retained to the state by the increased economic opportunity.

Now airing Season 5 with its showcase powerhouse star Kevin Costner, "Yellowstone" is centered on the fictional Dutton family ranch. Much of the show has been filmed in Darby, Hamilton, Missoula, and the Bitterroot Valley.

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