Report: ‘Yellowstone’ TV Series Production Injects $70M Into Montana Economy

The cover of the report, which says The Economic Contributions of the Film Industry in Montana: The Production of YellowstoneMISSOULA – Filmed in and around the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, the fourth season of the hit television series “Yellowstone” brought more than $70 million in additional spending to the state, according to a study conducted by the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

The study found that because of “Yellowstone,” the Paramount global hit TV series starring Kevin Costner, there were:

  • 527 permanent jobs in the state, not including the 624 Montana residents who were employed during filming as extras.
  • $25.3 million in annual personal income for Montana households.
  • $85.8 million in additional gross receipts for Montana businesses and non-business organizations.

Additionally, annual revenues of state government were higher by $10.6 million, according to BBER Director Patrick Barkey.

 “The production activities of ‘Yellowstone’ season four in Montana supported jobs and income well in excess of its own economic footprint, making Montana’s economy larger and more prosperous than it otherwise would have been,” Barkey said. “The high-paying nature of the production-related jobs, and the considerable demand for locally produced goods and services, are the main reasons why the economic impacts were so sizable.”

The report found that Montana has experienced growth in television and film in the last 10 years, with 122 productions filmed in 2019. Some of those films qualified for tax credit. More than 30 states, including Montana, currently offer some form of tax credit, often transferrable, to studios in return for locating activities within their states.

The BBER study on “Yellowstone” was sponsored by the MEDIA Coalition of Montana and Paramount.

“We felt it was important to have accurate data as to the impacts of the media industry in Montana,” said Steve Grover, CEO of Montana Studios and co-founder of the MEDIA Coalition of Montana.

During five months of filming in western Montana, the studio’s significant spending on everything from lodging and rental cars to veterinary and animal services benefitted a broad spectrum of Montana businesses. “The business we got from ‘Yellowstone’ really helped our bottom line,” said Lynn-Wood Fields, owner of the Montana Media Center, a locally based services provider.

Barkey said economic gains should continue if Montana becomes a more regular site for large-scale film productions with a similar scale and scope to “Yellowstone.”

To view the full study findings, visit the Bureau of Business and Economic Research website at Based in the UM College of Business, BBER was founded in 1948 to monitor Montana’s economic and business conditions.


Contact: Patrick Barkey, director, UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research, 406-243-2723,