Photos reveal what 8 iconic ‘Yellowstone’ locations look like in real life, from Dutton Ranch to ‘The Train Station’

Season five, episode one of

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  • Although some “Yellowstone” scenes were filmed in Texas, Oregon, and Utah, many of the locations are actually in Montana.

  • As a native of Montana, I decided to visit several filming locations scattered across the state.

  • From Dutton Ranch to the infamous “Train Station,” this is how reality compares to the show.

As a native of Montana, I recently set out to see what “Yellowstone” locations look like in real life.

The author in front of the Capitol Building in Montana.

Several “Yellowstone” scenes were filmed throughout Montana, including at the state’s Capitol Building.Jordan Parker Erb/Insider

I had put off watching “Yellowstone” long enough.

Because I was born and raised in Montana, every mention of my home state for the past five years has been met with questions like, “Is it like ‘Yellowstone’?”

In short, no. Five seasons of blatant and uncompromising lawlessness, this modern western drama is a stark contrast to the sleepy state I grew up in. “Yellowstone” revolves around the Dutton family, led by Patriarch John, and features a cast who will do anything for their dynasty: the largest ranch in Montana. Think “Succession” but with more cowboy hats.

But with the current season airing while I was home for the holidays, I thought it was time to settle in and learn about my culture. And within a few episodes, I realized that there are actually a few things that the TV show and the state have in common: attitudes.

Though some scenes are shot in Texas, Oregon, and Utah, many of the series’ locations are truly scattered across Montana’s diverse landscape – including the infamous Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. So I set off to check out some of the places.

In real life, many of the locations in “Yellowstone” are not close to Yellowstone National Park – or from each other.

Most of the scenes in “Yellowstone” are said to be only a few kilometers apart. Yellowstone Dutton Ranch – the family home and where much of the show takes place – borders Yellowstone National Park, the fictional Indian Reservation Broken Rock, and is located near Bozeman, Montana.

Reality paints a different picture.

Dutton Ranch is nowhere near Bozeman or Yellowstone. The drive to Bozeman would take 3.5 hours, while the nearest entrance to Yellowstone National Park is about 4.5 hours away – making short trips into “the park” a bit more difficult for characters.

And if Patriarch John Dutton wanted to visit his son Kayce at his home on the Broken Rock Indian Reservation — filmed on the Crow Reservation in Montana — it would take him about 6 hours and 43 minutes to drive there.

It took about ten hours from my home in Helena to visit each of the filming locations listed below.

The governor’s office, filmed in the state capitol, is every bit as opulent as it looks on TV.

Side by side photos of the Montana State Capitol Building in "Yellowstone"  and in real life.

The governor’s office, filmed in the state capitol, is every bit as opulent as it looks on TV.Paramount Network, Jordan Parker Erb/Insider

One of the first scenes in season one, episode one takes place in the governor’s office, a setting I immediately recognized as the Montana State Capitol building.

In this scene, viewers are introduced to Jamie Dutton, John Dutton’s adopted son who works as a lawyer. During the early seasons, members of the Dutton family are frequently seen in and around the governor’s office.

Both inside and out I found this place to look exactly the same in person as it does on TV.

Yellowstone Dutton Ranch is a real working ranch in Darby, Montana.

Photos side by side show the Dutton Ranch in "Yellowstone"  and in real life.

Dutton Ranch is visible from the highway – but just barely.Paramount Network, Jordan Parker Erb/Insider

Yellowstone Dutton Ranch is a real place — and cabins on the property can be rented for between $1,200 and $1,500 a night. The real ranch is called Chief Joseph Ranch and is located in Darby, a small town in western Montana.

While renting a cabin was out of budget this time, Chief Joseph Ranch is visible from the road, so I went to check it out.

Pulling off the highway, I was disappointed at how little the ranch was in sight. Behind a large gate I could see a sign welcoming visitors to Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. Beyond that, however, very little could be seen except for the roofs of a few white barns, including one branded Dutton.

The Duttons solve several of their problems at the “train station,” where they commit murder and dispose of the bodies of unruly enemies.

Photos side by side show the "train station"  in

The “train station” is much more eye-catching than it appears on TV.Paramount Network, Jordan Parker Erb/Insider

Throughout the show, the Duttons and Rip, a cowboy at the ranch, dump bodies at the “train station,” an overlook said to be a few miles across the Wyoming border.

In reality, according to Montana’s Glacier Country blog, the train station is a freeway exit near Sula, a small town about 15 minutes from Chief Joseph Ranch — which would make it more time-efficient for body dumping, albeit less discreet.

The setting is the same as any freeway interchange, making it much more eye-catching than I imagined. When I got there, a couple of other cars were parked there and hammered into my head that this wasn’t an ideal place for the Duttons to commit murder.

However, with a river running underneath and mountains on either side, the “Bahnhof” offered a beautiful view.

In season four, a group of activists hold a rally outside the Livestock Association’s Livingston Field Office.

Photos from the protest site in "Yellowstone"  and in real life.

A protest is taking place outside the Livestock Association’s Livingston Field Office in a building in Missoula.Paramount Network, Jordan Parker Erb/Insider

In reality, the “branch office” is a building at the intersection of Woody Street and Railroad Street in Missoula, about 3.5 hours from Livingston.

I noticed that the real building was missing a sign that was present on the show. Other than that, the location looks almost identical to how it was portrayed on the show.

In the fourth season, a robbery occurs at Ruby’s Cafe in Missoula, followed by a shooting.

Photos of Ruby's Cafe in "Yellowstone"  and in real life.

Ruby’s Cafe in Missoula looks just like it did in “Yellowstone”.Paramount Network, Jordan Parker Erb/Insider

In season four, John Dutton and Cowboy Rip arrive at Ruby’s Cafe to find robbers blocking the place. A shootout ensues after the two sneak in the back, leaving the robbers – and the sheriff – dead.

When I stopped at the Greasy Spoon for bottomless coffee and a stack of buttermilk pancakes, I found a coffee shop that looked essentially identical to its fictional counterpart. The decor was the same, right down to a chalkboard with the breakfast specials and dessert menu.

Ruby’s is the kind of joint you’d expect from a hometown diner: cozy and intimate and buzzing, even on a weekday morning. In fact, one waitress told me that she’s noticed a drastic difference in patronage since the episode aired.

John Dutton buys Jamie’s paternal father a steak at Glen’s Cafe in Florence, Montana.

Photos side by side show how Glen's Cafe in "Yellowstone"  and in real life.

Glen’s Cafe looks almost exactly like it did in “Yellowstone”.Paramount Network, Jordan Parker Erb/Insider

In season four, John Dutton meets Jamie’s biological father, Garrett, at Glen’s Cafe. In the episode, John urges Garrett to “enjoy the best of Salisbury State in Montana because you never know what your last meal will be.”

I stopped at Glen’s in Florence, a small town about 20 miles west south of Missoula. And while I didn’t order a steak to validate its awards, the cafe has started selling t-shirts modeled after those on the show — so I bought one for $30.

The cafe looks exactly as it was portrayed in the series, with a few patrons munching on breakfast. Glen’s even boasts a shelf of “Yellowstone” memorabilia on one wall: a framed photo of Kevin Costner sitting at the bar and a framed Glen’s Cafe T-shirt.

John Dutton is sworn in as governor at the start of season five. But his inauguration isn’t taking place in the Montana State Capitol Building; it was actually filmed at the Missoula County Courthouse.

Photos side by side show the capital in "Yellowstone"  and in real life.

John Dutton is sworn in as governor in season five — but not in the state’s actual Capitol.Paramount Network, Jordan Parker Erb/Insider

In the first season, the governor’s office is filmed in the real Montana Capitol. In season five, however, “Yellowstone” filmed its gubernatorial scenes at the Missoula County Courthouse — which is just a few blocks from the fictional Livestock Association’s Livingston Field Office.

In the first episode of the current season, we see John Dutton being sworn in before the “Capitol”. The frames are tight so non-Montana natives wouldn’t notice the discrepancy. But what you can see – the front of the building – corresponds to real life.

The Governor’s House in season five is filmed at the Daly Mansion outside of Hamilton, Montana.

The governor's mansion in "Yellowstone"  and the filming location in real life.

The governor’s mansion in the final episode of “Yellowstone” season five is filmed outside of Hamilton, Montana.Paramount Network, Jordan Parker Erb/Insider

During the season five midseason finale, we are taken to the governor’s house, where John Dutton is watching a news report about the wolves being killed on his land.

This scene was filmed at the Daly Mansion, a building outside of Hamilton in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley. The mansion was built in the 19th century and has 50 rooms spread over 24,000 square feet, according to its website.

The Daly Mansion now serves as a museum – and the Victorian-style home looks just as real in real life as it did on the TV show.

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