‘Yellowstone’ Season 2’s Stunning Scenes Were Filmed in Utah & Montana, Including a 100-Year-Old Ranch

Yellowstone Season 2


Kevin Costner’s amazing series, Yellowstone, is known not just for its complicated and compelling storyline, but for its beautiful scenery that truly created a modern wild west feel. Season 2 of the series was filmed in both Montana and Utah, just like Season 1. Montana is mostly used for exterior shots, while many interior and studio shots are in Utah. Read on for more details.

More than 20 locations in Utah and Montana are used during filming for both Season 1 and Season 2. These include locations in Summit, Salt Lake City, Weber, Wasatch, and more.

Dutton’s Family Ranch Is a 100-Year-Old Ranch in Montana

John Dutton’s beautiful ranch home is filmed at the Chief Joseph Ranch in Darby, Montana, located at 125 Appaloosa Trail, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The ranch is more than 100 years old. (The owner of the ranch reached out to Heavy to clarify that the lodges and barns are 100 years old, and the ranch itself was homesteaded in 1880.)

The main living room of the lodge was decorated for the filming, including adding Navajo rugs to the balconies and Remington bronzes to the tables. Costner referred to the series as a “postcard for Montana.”

Rocky Mountain Homes, a local company, was hired to add a front porch to the log home before Season 1, in order to change the main entrance to the lodge to the north side for the series. They dug a trench six feet down and built the deck on top of that. They finished the entire project in just nine days.

You can sometimes book visits at Chief Joseph Ranch, according to Trip Advisor. It’s not currently listed with booking options, but it has three 5-star reviews from people who stayed there in 2011-2013. One person wrote in 2011: “The main highlight was our time spent at the Chief Joseph ranch. Bob and Janet were the best hosts and we felt very lucky to have this opportunity. We stayed in the Ben Cook cabin, great amenities. The ranch was so peaceful. We enjoyed walking around the property, looking at the deer…”

According to Visit Bitterroot Valley, you can still book stays at one of two log homes on the property during the summers when Yellowstone isn’t filming. The website address for booking visits is down, but Horse and Rider also wrote about the option as recently as October 2018.

Chief Joseph Ranch is 2,500 acres, according to a Missoulian post from 2004, and overlooks Bitterroot River with magnificent views of mountains. One guest said that the home used to be surrounded by white bushes in the spring that looked like it was sitting on snow. The home is 6,000-square-feet and was heavenly. The family home was turned into a dude ranch after the father died and guests could ride horses for $70 a week. The ranch passed through different owners over the years. 

Ken Clark shared the following post publicly on Yellowstone’s Facebook page before Season 1 debuted. He wrote: “Looking forward to the debut of Yellowstone on the Paramount Network tomorrow. We actually lived in the Chief Joseph Ranch Lodge (pictured below) for a year (in 1979) as caretakers and from what I can tell from the trailer it is the set of Kevin Costner’s home in the show. I spent most of that year working on my truck in one of those white barns (see trailer) and it’s pretty surreal to see all of this on TV. I have a very embarrassing picture of me in front of this house in 1979, with my truck, that I’m not quite sure I want to post ;-. But in the meantime, I found this pic from a 1997 visit with my daughter on the left, my mom, and my niece on the right. My bedroom was on the far upper right. It has a little outside balcony where I used to sit at night listening to the crickets, the sprinklers and the Bitterroot river flow by while playing my guitar. And yes, I vividly remember appreciating the moment, and that it wasn’t normal to live in an epic log mansion in Montana.”

Facebook/Ken Clark

Chief Joseph Ranch was once called the Ford-Hollister Ranch, Missoulian shared, and it’s now more than 100 years old. It was built in 1917. The ranch was even once an apple orchard. It was first owned by William Ford and Judge Hollister of Ohio, but the city men weren’t ready for country life. Ford built a summer home there over three years and for $50,000. He was going to transform it into a dairy property and built three white barns, but soon the dairy farm was replaced with horses. After Ford died in 1953, his wife converted the home into a guest ranch and new owners named it Chief Joseph Ranch later. According to Horse and Rider, Chief Joseph was a Nez Perce chief who led his people through the area in 1877 during the Nez Perce Indian War.

Chief Joseph Ranch’s full history is detailed on the ranch’s website here. The ranch was designed by the architectural firm Bates & Gamble.

(Note: An early version of this story incorrectly listed the owner of the ranch.)

Cast & Crew Alike Have Wonderful Stories To Share About Filming

Brennan Lee, whose family member works on the set, shared some excited posts and behind-the-scenes photos about Season 2 of Yellowstone.

Here are two behind-the-scenes photos that she shared:

Part of the filming takes place near Park City, Utah, which includes using three soundstages at Utah Film Studio. Some of the rooms at Chief Joseph Lodge are recreated at the Park City soundstages, including shipping in trees from Montana. Kevin Costner told Salt Lake Tribune that working in Park City is very pleasant, allowing you to get a routine going and still live your life.

The Utah Filming Commission hosted a premiere screening of Season 2 with some of the actors.

Costner told The Salt Lake Tribune that he loves Utah, which stars as Montana for many scenes in the series. Overall, four months were filmed in Utah, mostly in Summit County. (This story originally noted that a couple weeks were filmed in Montana, but the owner told Heavy that 13 weeks for Season 1 and 12 weeks for Season 2 were filmed at the ranch.)

In the premiere, you might notice Salt Lake City Hall and the City-County Building, along with the downtown city library subbing for Montana State University.

Some tipi lodges used in the filming were provided by a A’Shii’Be’To chapter. You can see their post about it below.

But filming won’t stop for Season 2. The Utah Film Commission has already announced that Season 3 of Yellowstone will be filmed in Utah too.

Here are some behind-the-scenes photos from the filming. In March, one of the dolly grips for the show had open heart surgery and needed help with medical expenses. Cast and friends came together to help and the grip’s needs were met.

Here’s another beautiful photo from Season 2.

April Girard, who worked on production, wrote about the show: “Working on this production is by far one of my favorites. I am SO grateful for the opportunities season 1 & 2. Kevin Costner is so gracious. Great cast and crew. Utah Film Studio Yellowstone set is something to see. Very fascinating. Congratulations moving on to filming season 3! Looking forward to the season 2 Premiere tonight on Paramount Network.  Marshall Moore thank you for all you do!!!!!!”

We can’t wait to see what’s next for the Dutton family.