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Now that Paramount network’s Yellowstone wrapped up its dramatic ending of Season Three, it seems like a good time to take a look at some fun facts and history of the Dutton ranch.
Set in the beautiful state of Montana, near Yellowstone National Park, the real-life Dutton Ranch is actually the Chief Joseph Ranch in Darby, Montana.
In June 2020, Paramount announced that all filming for the Yellowstone series would take place in Montana beginning with Season Four.
The property on which the ranch sits is located on lands that were inhabited by the Salish tribe for hundreds of years. When Lewis and Clark entered the upper Bitterroot Valley in September 1805, they followed a trail used by the native tribes.
This very trail traversed through the ranch just west of the main lodge and right past where the barns now sit. Chief Joseph led his people through the valley in his flight from the U.S. Army during the Nez Perce War in the summer of 1877. The ranch property was homesteaded by settlers in 1880 where it was originally known as the Shelton Ranch.
In 1914, the 2,500-acre ranch was purchased by glass manufacturer William S. Ford and Federal Judge Howard Clark Hollister. The ranch during this time was a thriving apple orchard. Using both log and stone native to the grounds, William Ford began a three-year endeavor to build the iconic log structure that is the centerpiece of the ranch – the Ford-Hollister Lodge.
Designed by the architectural firm of Bates & Gamble, the 6,000 square foot lodge has been featured in such publications as Architectural Digest and American Log Homes. Along with the lodge, Ford built three massive barns. He then replaced the apple trees with the largest herd of Holsteins west of the Mississippi.
In the early 1950s, the Ford and Hollister Ranch was sold and renamed the Chief Joseph Ranch, in honor of the great Nez Perce chief and his journey through the property.
For a closer look into the Chief Joseph Ranch, watch the video below.