As a rancher, do I watch Yellowstone on TV? I’ll bet I’ve been asked more than a hundred times. 

The answer is no, I really don’t. When the series first started, I was curious because like most breathing women in America, I like Kevin Costner. I tuned in once, and thought the show was pretty dark and violent. I can remember remarking to whoever was in the room, “this isn’t about ranching “. That was it for me. 

My family are fans of the show and I’ve walked through the room while they were glued to it. Patrice and I drove by the place they film it coming back from South Dakota with a stud colt. Thought it was amusing that the property is less than 125 acres in reality. That is pretty much my whole experience with the series. 

Anyway, if you are interested in what this real rancher likes to watch and read, I’ll give you a quick rundown. Before I get out of bed, I usually take some quiet time to stretch, think, pray and read my bible. Once I come downstairs, I like to look at the news and weather, sometimes I catch it on the TV, sometimes on my phone. I admit to enjoying subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Caller and Fox News, although since I only allow myself the time it takes to drink some tea or coffee and take my vitamins, the cost of all that information coming my way might be wasteful. Still, I do love knowing what is happening in our world. I’m generally outside for the rest of the day, so no media for me. 

In the evenings after supper, I like to watch at least part of Tucker Carlson on fox, and I’m a big fan of Jeopardy. As for regular programs, we like Forged in Fire, How it’s Made and stuff on the History Channel. Like everyone these days, we’ll record shows we like and end up watching the same thing for weeks. We’ll kind of go in streaks. We enjoy shows like Law and Order, Bonanza, NCIS, Antiques Roadshow, Everybody Loves Raymond, Andy Griffith and the Goldbergs. We are also longtime fans of the Simpsons. 

Generally speaking, we read in the evenings as much as we watch the tube. I catch up on the local paper and industry news while I’m still pretty fresh, and both Patrice and I always have a couple books either next to our chairs or bedside. It’s rare that we are up past 8:30, and most nights we are in bed before that. My guilty pleasure at bedtime is to watch an episode of the Great British Baking Show, while Patrice loves Game of Thrones and shows like that. I usually don’t check the news again at night, because it makes my mind race as I’m trying to fall asleep. 

I was thinking the other day about my life and career in Cable TV before I moved here 30+ years ago. TV, movies, celebrity…all seemed more important. Now it’s all a side note. There are days when the TV never gets turned on here, and that is okay. 

I had to ask a friend who Beth Dutton was after I kept seeing TV shirts about her at rodeos and barrel races. I really got laughed at for wondering if she was someone I should know, as I assumed she was a real person. 

Well, I’m sure plenty of my ranching friends do watch Yellowstone, but I’m equally sure that a lot don’t. 

I guess my final word on the Yellowstone phenomenon is never, ever confuse a show like that for real life. We probably share more things in common with older westerns than we do with the current depiction of our industry, because I can’t think of many of us who have scores of hired help, palatial mansions, barns full of fancy cutting horses or grand political connections. Nope, we are pretty much just like you, except we feed cattle and horses along with dogs and kitties, our drive in to get groceries usually involves a dirt road and takes most of an hour, clean wranglers are our Sunday best, eating out during the week usually means salami and crackers on the porch or in the truck, and the smell of a barn or sagebrush make us feel right at home.

Kris Stewart is a rancher from Paradise Valley, Nevada.