Filmmakers will return to the Bitterroot Valley this spring for the production of the fifth season of the popular television series "Yellowstone."
Current plans call for pre-production work to begin in mid to late March, with filming to get underway May 15 and run through the middle of August.
The production is now seeking housing in the Bitterroot Valley for the film crews.
With much of the filming set for the Chief Joseph Ranch near Darby and the stages in Bonner, a news release from the series travel department said housing locations between Lolo and Darby are “highly attractive.”
Housing must be able to accommodate one person to one bathroom, with the uncertainty over future COVID restrictions. Sharing lodging will only be approved if the crew works closely on one set.
“Some crew bring spouses and families and some have a dog,” the news release said. “Outdoor living space and views are highly prized. Laundry facilities are a must, as is air conditioning. High-speed internet is preferred. Cleanliness is a must.”
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Anyone interested can reach out to Jacqui Popelka at YS5Housing@gmail.com with property details.
“You may also send along pretty photos of the exterior and interior for our files,” the news release said.
While there has been a slight easing in the valley's tight rental market this winter, housing in the Bitterroot Valley continues to be a challenge for many who live here, said Cardinal Properties owner Cindee Jessop.
It’s difficult to quantify the impact Yellowstone has on that market since it seeks properties that are furnished for a short period, Jessop said.
“There is a potential for some available rentals to transition during the time Yellowstone is here,” she said. “We did see that a couple of years ago when they were here last.”
At the same time, Jessop said some rental property owners have taken advantage of rapidly rising real estate prices in the valley and sold their properties.
“Our rental market got really tight at the beginning of COVID,” she said. “It’s hard to know what impact Yellowstone played. With people being able to get better prices than ever for their properties, a lot of owners made the decision to sell.”
Cardinal Properties doesn’t work in the short-term rental market or with furnished units. Therefore, Jessop said the company didn’t work with Yellowstone in helping to find housing for its crews.
At this point, Jessop said most potential properties that they manage have multiple applications for any openings.
In 2020 — the last year that Yellowstone filmed extensively in the Bitterroot — the location manager for Fire and Ice Productions told the Hamilton City Council the filmmakers moved over 400 families to the Bitterroot Valley.
Dustin Daniels told the council the company leased a 30,000-square-foot office, paid owners of a privately owned property about $375,000 for filming and parking, and spent over $500,000 with local Hamilton vendors.
The company hired local off-duty officers for security and other locals as production assistants and extras. At the December 2020 council meeting, Daniels said the people who moved to the area during the filmmaking also spent money on housing, groceries, restaurants and other local businesses.