Yellowstone Is Making People Move To Montana And Ruining The State

By Zack Zagranis | Published

Yellowstone has done such a great job of making Montana look like a beautiful picturesque landscape that fans of the show are now moving to The Treasure State in droves. As a result of the recent population boom, Montana is becoming too expensive for native Montanans. Essentially, a television show that paints real estate developers as villains is now causing the real-life gentrification of the West.

As readers may or may not know, Yellowstone revolves around the Dutton family and their ranch in Montana. Family patriarch John Dutton, played by Kevin Costner, constantly tries to protect his beautiful homestead from greedy land developers who want to build on it. The show is one of the most popular series currently on the air.

So, with a healthy dose of irony, we report that Montanans are now blaming Yellowstone for attracting several rich out-of-staters to the area. As these Yellowstone fans move in, they are pushing the locals who have lived there for years out of the state. Call it the Hollywood version of Monkey See, Monkey Do.

Yellowstone is hardly the first project to cause such a disruptive migration. The Lord of the Rings trilogy drove a lot of harmful tourism to New Zealand that still continues today. Meanwhile, the popular series Outlander has made the Scottish Highlands a popular tourist destination.

Freelance Journalist Maggie Slepian first moved to Montana in 2012 and has written extensively about the Yellowstone phenomenon. Rather than being inspired by a television show, Slepian moved out West based on a desire to get out of New Hampshire. She describes the town of Bozeman, where she settled, as an “outdoor person’s paradise.”

Maggie was thrilled to find a lot of small businesses, like coffee shops and a local bookstore, in Bozeman as well as “super cheap” apartments. Slepian’s Montanan utopia lasted for a few years until Yellowstone—also set in Bozeman—debuted and caused a tourism boom in the area. According to a study funded by Paramount Studios, the makers of Yellowstone, more than two-thirds of the tourists that visited Montana in 2021 did so because of Yellowstone.

By the time Yellowstone‘s fifth season started in 2022, Slepian’s cozy little Bozeman had picked up 5,000 more permanent residents. During that time period, the median price for a house in Bozeman doubled to more than $700,000. Slepian reports that small businesses are being forced to close due to ballooning leases. Most of those coffee shops and restaurants she found so quaint a decade ago are now gone, replaced by Lululemon and pop-up stores.

Rising costs driven by the Yellowstone-inspired yuppie invasion have forced some families, not unlike the Duttons, to sell farms they’ve maintained for generations. Access to public land is disappearing as real estate investors snap up property left and right.

On the bright side, some realtors have reported that rising home costs have begun to deter out-of-state residents from looking to relocate and live out their Yellowstone dream. Many take that as an indication that the Yellowstone boom might be slowing down, if not ending completely, especially since the show itself is supposed to be coming to an end soon.

Unfortunately, thanks to streaming and several spinoffs, Yellowstone could keep inspiring people to pack up their bags and head out west indefinitely. Where’s a real-life John Dutton when you need him?

Source: NPR