Sam Elliott Proud of His Work on ‘1883,’ But Admits Filming Wasn’t Easy

When Sam Elliott earned the role of Shea Brennan in 1883 – the prequel to Yellowstone – he knew it very well could be one of the last big roles of his career. While a second season or spinoff of 1883 hasn’t been revealed, Elliott is hopeful that might change in the future – though he knows it won’t get any better.

“I know that at this point in my life, there’s not going to be a better one that’s going to come along than this,” he said of the miniseries, according to the Associated Press. “I feel like on some level, if I quit right now, I will have done what I set out to do when I was 9 years old wanting to be an actor. I’m spoiled.”

In the 10-episode prequel, Elliott’s character helps lead a wagon train from Tennessee to Texas, Oregon, and eventually Montana. He’s accompanied by several members of the Dutton family – played by Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, and Isabel May – who eventually establish the Yellowstone Ranch in Montana. 

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“I’m glad I was there at the beginning and not three or four or five shows down the line,” he said of his role in the film – adding that he had watched a half-hour of Yellowstone with his sister (who is a big fan of the franchise) before he earned the role in 1883. His curiosity has resulted in him watching more of it since.

“I truly feel that Taylor is brilliant as a writer, but it’s another thing maintaining the quality over the long haul,” he said of the franchise’s creator, Taylor Sheridan. Sam Elliott also spoke highly of working alongside actress Isabel May (who plays Elsa Dutton) and actor LaMonica Garrett (who plays Thomas).

“LaMonica and I hit it off right away,” he said of Garrett before praising Isabel for her ‘stunning’ aura. I was so taken with her. I mean, she’s just she’s a lovely girl for starters and she’s just brilliant. I’m eager to see where her career is going to take her,” he added. The three certainly seemed to hit it off while filming. 

No stranger to Western films, Elliott talked about the ‘three classic struggles in Westerns’ that help make them relatable and popular. “It’s man against man, man against nature and man against himself. There’s a lot of people who can feel or understand that,” he said – I mean, who doesn’t love a good Western?

Sam Elliott Says Filming ‘1883’ Didn’t Come Easy

During the last day of filming for 1883 – which premiered on December 18, 2021 and concluded on February 27, 2022 after 10 episodes – the prop master let him keep a badge that his character wore in the series. Considering it’s likely his last big project, it’s a prop he’ll likely keep for the rest of his life. 

While he’s proud of the project and would do it again if he could go back in time, he admits to several challenges and obstacles along the way. For example, filming took place Texas (where they were met with extreme heat and high temperatures) and Montana (where they faced freezing temperatures). 

“It made it more of a challenge but it brought an authenticity to it,” Sam Elliott said of the weather while filming – adding that it resembles what it was like ‘for the people who were on those wagon trains going to Oregon back in the day.’ Of course, there’s also a homesick feeling that comes with filming for months. 

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He described being homesick as ‘a killer’ that was ‘hard on relationships’ – referring to his wife, Katharine Ross – but also revealed he had ‘gone through some health issues and surgeries just before we started,’ which made it difficult for him to get going. Sam Elliott recently celebrated his 79th birthday on August 9.

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