‘Yellowstone’: How Much Is the Dutton Ranch Really Worth?
Yellowstone tells the story of John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and his family’s ranch — one of the largest ranches in America. Of course, that makes it an extremely valuable piece of property. But how much is the Dutton ranch really worth?
How big is the ‘Yellowstone’ ranch?
According to Yellowstone canon, the Duttons are a ranching dynasty in Montana who have lived on their property for generations. Located in Big Sky country, the fictional Dutton ranch shares a boundary with a local Native American tribe. There’s also another border with Yellowstone National Park.
During the first three seasons, it was never made clear exactly how big the Dutton’s Yellowstone ranch is. But, there have been a few clues. During season 1, Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) made the comment that the ranch was 200,000 acres larger than when he first took over as the attorney.
There was also a scene where Chief Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) tells John that “you own a ranch the size of Rhode Island.” That may have been a bit of an exaggeration. But if the Dutton Ranch is anywhere near the size of that state, that means it’s close to 776,900 acres.
John Dutton does have some real-life counterparts
John Dutton and the Yellowstone ranch may be fictional, but there are a couple of real-life counterparts. Montana ranch kingpin Bill Galt has been known to fly around in a helicopter so he can attend all of his important meetings with the rich and powerful. The Galt family owns the third-largest plot of land in Montana, approximately 248,023 acres in White Sulfur Springs.
There’s also Texas ranching legend W.T. Waggoner. He owned the 525,000-acre North Texas Waggoner Ranch, which is actually the real-life largest ranch in the United States. Like John Dutton, W.T. Waggoner was successful for years when it came to keeping the land in his family.
How much is the Dutton Ranch worth on ‘Yellowstone’?
According to Bustle, Los Angeles Rams and Denver Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke bought the Waggoner Ranch in 2015 for approximately $725 million. That gives Yellowstone fans the best estimate they are going to get when it comes to the worth of the fictional Dutton Ranch.
Of course, having land worth that much money doesn’t necessarily make John Dutton a rich man. One of the main conflicts in Yellowstone is developers and rising property values, which in turn means higher property and inheritance taxes for ranch owners.
There’s a difference between net worth and available cash
John Dutton may own the largest ranch in the United States, which features hundreds of thousands of acres. And, that property may be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But, John has made it clear that he is cash poor due to the expenses of running the ranch and the rising taxes.
“I’m not a rich man despite what people think,” John tells Jenkins in season 2 when he asks him to buy him out.
This is one of the stories creator Taylor Sheridan wanted to tell about cowboy and ranch life in the United States. He says he put the white rancher in the position that Native Americans were in more than a century ago.
The ‘Yellowstone’ creator says his western is a reflection of real life
Sheridan explained to Deadline that the way he framed his drama is accurate to what’s taking place right now. He called it the “gentrification of the west.”
“It is the most American of us, the West, and land developers sell that fantasy,” Sheridan said. “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.”
Seasons 1 through 3 of Yellowstone are available on Peacock. Season 4 is expected to premiere in November on the Paramount Network.