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Who Was Yellowstone's Melanie Olmstead & How Did Her Death Affect The Show?

"Yellowstone" Season 2, Episode 10 concludes with a title card dedicated to the memory of somebody named Melanie Olmstead. Fans can safely assume she worked on the hit Western TV series in some capacity, but since she's not an on-camera talent, this dedication is the first time most fans would have heard of her.

Before her presumed role behind the scenes of "Yellowstone" — likely starting with its first season, which premiered in June of 2018 — Olmstead had worked steadily in the filmmaking industry since the year 2000. Olmstead was a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, and her first screen credit was as a location assistant on the film "Primary Suspect," which was shot in her hometown. She also worked as a driver on productions like "John Carter," "Wild Horses," "Wind River," and "Hereditary," among others. Each of these was produced at least partially in Utah, so her biggest asset on films like these — whether as a location assistant or driver — was her familiarity with the state.

While it's not officially among Olmstead's credits, "Yellowstone" is filmed largely in Utah as well, so the work she contributed to the series most likely had something to do with her years of experience working on big-budget productions that shared its filming location. Though it's not listed on her IMDB profile, it's believed that she was in charge of the show's location and transportation needs. In her wake, then, "Yellowstone" has had to proceed without someone who must have brought plenty of local expertise to its production.

Melanie Olmstead was a fan of horses and a trained actor, making her a natural fit for a TV Western

Based on the lack of available information about her life and work, Melanie Olmstead seems to have been a private person. The cause of her death in 2019, for instance, is not a matter of public record. One thing she did share publicly was her love of horses. "My love affair with horses started about the time I learned to walk," she wrote in a Facebook post about the 37th birthday of one particular horse she raised. Given the frequency with which horses appear on "Yellowstone," it's easy to imagine she was a natural fit on-set.

Olmstead's career trajectory, meanwhile, seems to have kicked off during her time at Salt Lake City-based Westminster College. There, she participated as a student in an acting class. Later, after finishing graduate school, she became romantically involved with her former acting instructor.

Although what she brought to the series isn't clearly stated, both her work experience and these details about her personal life make it clear that "Yellowstone" was well within Melanie's wheelhouse.