Is Yellowstone based on a true story? All you need to know about the origins of the dramatic series

Viewers are halfway through season five and some are wondering, is Yellowstone based on a true story? Here's what we know...

Is Yellowstone based on a true story?
(Image credit: Paramount)

Some viewers are wondering if Yellowstone is based on a true story, and what inspired the writers of the Dutton family drama.

Following the launch of part one of Yellowstone season 5, fans have been obsessed with finding out more about the Dutton family and the whether the series is based on a true story or real people. Here is what we know about the origins of Yellowstone and what the show was inspired by.

Yellowstone starring Wes Bentley and Luke Grimes

(Image credit: Paramount)

Is Yellowstone based on a true story?

No, Yellowstone is not based on any real events or people that exist in real life. However, the creator of the show explained that the issues that are explored in the show are inspired by problems that exist in western mountain states in the US.

The show's creator, Taylor Sheridan told The Los Angeles Times (opens in new tab) in 2018 that Yellowstone is inspired by the changes he's witnessed. "These issues of land development, resource mismanagement, oppression and extreme poverty and inequity in government — they exist here,” he said. 

"But when it happens in a small area, in a rural area … and because there’s fewer people, the consequences seem much more acute.” The creator added, "When you start seeing Costcos in a landscape of farms and ranches, it’s much more dramatic than if they jam one in the San Fernando Valley." 

Yellowstone

Taylor Sheridan

(Image credit: Paramount)

The creator reiterated this sentiment in an interview with Deadline (opens in new tab) in 2018 as he said that the show was based on the 'gentrification' he's watched take place in the Western states.

"I placed the white rancher in the position that the Native Americans were in 100-plus years ago because that is accurate to what’s taking place in what you can call the gentrification of the West right now," said Taylor.

"It is the most American of us, the West, and land developers sell that fantasy. And people who can afford the fantasy are very, very wealthy people from LA to New York, Dallas, and Florida. They buy their slice of it and use it for a weekend getaway. In the process, those land values and inheritance taxes are killing a way of life," he said.

Yellowstone starring Wes Bentley

(Image credit: Paramount)

While Yellowstone may not be based on a real story, the Yellowstone Ranch is real and is located in Darby, Montana. The ranch is actually called the Chief Joseph Ranch (opens in new tab). The key set locations featured in the series which are located on the Chief Joseph Ranch include the Armory, Rip's cabin, Lee’s cabin, and Trapper cabin. 

The Montana-based ranch has a number of cabins that guests can stay in - and many of them were actually featured in the show!  The cabins available include Lee Dutton's Cabin which is also known as the Fisherman cabin, and Rip's Cabin known as the Ben Cook Cabin in real life. 

The second part of season five will return on Sunday, January 8, 2023, at 8pm ET/PT on Paramount Network.

Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.