GUTHRIE, Texas — Hollywood has come calling for West Texas cowboys.
If you’re a fan of the show ”Yellowstone,” you know just how legendary the Four Sixes Ranch is — even to the Dutton family in Montana.
But the ranch isn’t fabricated for a TV show — it’s real-life Texas ranch royalty, and it’s about 90 minutes east of Lubbock in King County. Over the last month, a prequel to Yellowstone called ”1883” has been filming at the Four Sixes Ranch, featuring stars, such as Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Sam Elliot. Some of the cast and crew have been staying in Lubbock.
The Four Sixes Ranch is known for its 6666 brand, and it takes up 260,000 acres across Northwest Texas and the Panhandle, making it roughly the size of San Antonio. Now, it’s home to a set straight from the Wild West and a crew and cast of 600. The population of nearby Guthrie tripled overnight.
“We are so small, so not a whole lot goes on around here,” said Guthrie resident Amber Long.
Long runs the Farmhouse Coffee Company, and her house is right next door. Her shop is one of the few operations around, along with the Four Sixes Ranch Supply House and a historic courthouse.
The coffee company opened its doors on November 11, just before the show’s cast and crew and descended on the scene.
“They have been more than gracious and super nice, and I hate to say it, kind of surprisingly cool,” Long said.
With coffee, sweet treats and wifi — not so easy to come by in cattle country — their business has been booming among the locals and the new Texas transplants.
“It’s nice to see a show that actually portrays a real cowboy and not a dime-store cowboy. My husband is a cowboy and has trained horses his whole life, and I have as well so it’s nice to see real people portrayed correctly,” said Becky Taylor, who owns Ranch Gal’s Goodies and helps Long run the shop.
”1883” has traded a studio for the South Plains, and Hollywood has headed straight to the source. Taylor said that means a lot to her.
“I watch [‘Yellowstone’] religiously. I stay up late at night so I can watch it after I put my kids to bed,” Taylor said laughing.
Jodie Reel, the superintendent of Guthrie Common School District with 135 students, is also a fan.
“It’s pretty addictive,” Reel said.
In his 10 years in Guthrie, he said he’s never seen anything remotely like this.
“I think it’s pretty special. From our perspective, it’s a good opportunity for us to see part of what goes into [film production], it’s unbelievable to us … also just to have it showcase the beauty we see every day and take for granted,” Reel said.
But not everyone feels as excited. Some Guthrie residents said they’re concerned about the traffic, and others are cautious around the sudden influx of strangers and lookie loos.
Guthrie is so tiny you can’t even call it a town. It’s not a town at all — it’s an unincorporated community with a population somewhere under 300.
“I had a teacher the other day say she needed to find the key to her house because she hadn’t locked her house in years and had no clue where the key was,” Reel said.
The show has booked up nearly every hotel room in a 90 mile radius, and about 120 crew members are staying in RVs in Guthrie — a first for Viacom that’s producing the series.
But a number of the extras and crew are local, like Vince Valdez who is from Lubbock and works in production.
“As you’ll see in the show, there are some scenes that you can only do in West Texas,” Valdez said.
He discussed how they were filming a tornado scene, training horses to play dead and using giant fans and helicopters to simulate the wind.
“We’ve been to Montana, and we’ve been to other locations, but specifically coming back home to West Texas was an honor … You can’t replicate this location,” Valdez said.
But other than the beautiful Texas backdrops, Reel hopes that the viewers will also take away a sense of rural Texas.
“Just the genuineness and the quality of the people in the community and that is largely reflected in cowboy culture, and if that comes through, I think they succeeded,” Reel said.
”1883” is out now on Paramount Plus. The producers are planning another series set at the Four Sixes Ranch to begin production sometime next year.