This special edition of PERC Reports uses the hit television show “Yellowstone’s” portrayals of the Rocky Mountain West to examine real-world western issues. Explore the full issue here.
When you spend time in Montana riding horses, moving cattle, and acting out the occasional gun fight, it’s hard not to fall in love with Big Sky Country. After four seasons playing the role of Kayce Dutton in the show “Yellowstone,” the towering landscapes and the rivers and wildlife that run through them have become part of me—it’s why I’ve made Montana my home.
And just like the show, it’s the people—the ranchers, farmers, and local communities—that make these places special. That’s why, after learning about PERC last summer, I was excited to be invited to their “Yellowstone” workshop to explore the natural resource challenges faced by land managers in real life.
As I stepped foot in PERC’s office, I immediately saw that they’re an organization rooted in western ways of life and understand conservation on a practical level. And I learned that “Yellowstone” had apparently provided plenty of fodder for their research on topics such as water disputes, wolf reintroduction, fencing laws, and everything in between. Their approach of bringing together conservation with property rights adds up to a distinct and thoughtful perspective to issues involving land, water, and wildlife. Even in Paradise Valley—the setting for our on-screen home, the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch—they are creatively resolving conflicts between livestock and migratory elk.
Now that I’m a Montana resident, I appreciate PERC’s support for landowners and ranchers who conserve the West’s natural resources and keep special places intact. As someone who grew up hunting, I also value their recognition and support of sportsmen and the stewardship they make possible.
My experience at PERC was unique and thought provoking, and it’s clear they back up their work with substance over stereotypes. I hope readers enjoy the insights in this special edition and walk away, as I did, with a deeper understanding of the issues of “Yellowstone” and the Rocky Mountain West.
— Luke Grimes
Photo: Brian Yablonski (left), Luke Grimes (center), and Cody Hyde (right) at PERC.