Is the Train Station on ‘Yellowstone’ Based on a Real Place?
On Yellowstone, the "train station" refers to a roadside cliff in Wyoming that the Dutton crew use to deposit dead bodies of their enemies. Does such a place exist in real life America?
The answer to that question is: sort of. There is a portion of the Yellowstone National Park that could be viewed as lawless, but more accurately, it's just jury-less. That's important, because the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution promises certain things that, if not possible, would seemingly allow a criminal to escape prosecution. Testing this loophole still feels like a dodgy proposition, however.
So far, Yellowstone viewers have seen two people get shot and pushed off the cliff at the train station ("The long black train," Lloyd explains during Season 1). Fred, a wrangler who fights Jimmy (Jefferson White), and the "Party Planner" who organized the attacks on the Dutton family both add to what viewers learn is a large pile of bones at the bottom of that gorge. In Season 3, Lloyd (Forrie Smith) explains to Walker (Ryan Bingham) that people from all over use that cliff to deposit their dead because it's secluded and absent any human residents. They have this conversation after tossing a few dead bodies over the ledge. Walker, ironically, is the only one who's talked his way out of a train station ticket.
A quick geography lesson may be needed to explain this next part. The Dutton family's Yellowstone Ranch is in Montana, mostly north of the majority of Yellowstone National Park, which is primarily in Wyoming. A sliver of the park extends north into Montana, and another sliver pushes west, into Idaho. This second sliver is known as the Zone of Death, and it's that 50-square-mile plot that many believe Taylor Sheridan had in mind when he created the train station.
Since it's part of the park, it's part of the District of Wyoming, even though it's in Idaho. In 2005, a Michigan State University law professor named Brian Kalt discovered this and started to alert lawmakers of an issue. Under the Sixth Amendment, "the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed." No one lives in that 50-mile area, thus, no jury could be formed. This subject was discussed in more detail during Ep. 3 of the Dutton Rules podcast:
Vox reported on this is some detail in 2016, and other outlets have advanced the story in small ways since, but the loophole remains. It's never been truly tested, however. Despite what you see on television, there's no evidence of crimes committed in the Zone of Death, and many historians and political science experts believe that measures would be taken to assure a jury trial. Long story short, don't get any funny ideas. Like so much of the action on Yellowstone (the Paramount Network TV show), reality was amplified and fantasized for the sake of good television.