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'Yellowstone' tourists spent $730 million in Montana in 2021, report says

Camera operators film horseback riders for the 'Yellowstone' tv show.
Camera operators film horseback riders for the 'Yellowstone' tv show.

A new report from researchers at the University of Montana estimates that the popular Yellowstone TV series drew more than 2 million visitors to the state in 2021.

According to the report, tourists inspired to visit the home state of the fictional Dutton family spent an estimated $730 million in 2021 and helped generate more than 10,000 jobs across industries like food, hospitality and entertainment.

Patrick Barkey of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research co-authored the report.

“2021 was a big visitor year, and that was for a lot of reasons,” Barkey says, “but this research suggests one of those reasons was a television show.”

The show’s production company, Paramount, commissioned the study. Yellowstone shot the majority of its fourth and ongoing fifth season in Montana. The series moved production from Utah in 2020 after it maxed out the state’s film tax credits.

The new report indicates that Yellowstone received more than 75% of Montana’s total film tax credit allowance as it shot season four. The Legislature raised the annual cap on the credits during the last session to $12 million, and lawmakers are set to consider more than doubling that limit this session.

The report notes that income tax alone generated by the show exceeds the tax breaks it’s received so far.

Austin graduated from the University of Montana’s journalism program in May 2022. He came to MTPR as an evening newscast intern that summer, and jumped at the chance to join full-time as the station’s morning voice in Fall 2022.

He is best reached by emailing
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