1883 stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill talk about the arduous working conditions on the set of the Yellowstone prequel. The series also co-stars Sam Elliott and Isabel May and is written by Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan, who directed the pilot in addition to penning every episode of the limited series. McGraw and Hill also briefly played their characters, James and Margaret Dutton, on Yellowstone, appearing through flashbacks.
1883 follows the aforementioned Dutton family as they make the journey to Montana in the titular year to establish the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, the primary setting for Yellowstone. 1883 is just the first of several planned Yellowstone spin-offs from Sheridan, with 1932 and 6666 in development. It’s likely Sheridan will write for the spinoffs along with continuing to write or co-write every episode of Yellowstone, establishing a writing output on the level of Aaron Sorkin of The West Wing.
On a panel with Deadline, McGraw and Hill talked about the difficult working conditions that came with shooting on location. McGraw recalled he and Hill never had a comfortable day on the 1883 set, dealing with fluctuating temperatures and a lack of sleep due to the tough shooting schedule. Hill talked about how everyone who worked on the show would say the same, and it was the passion for the project that kept the cast and crew motivated. Read McGraw’s quote below:
As a musician you don’t see a lot of sunrises. I think I’ve seen a few sunrises for a while. When Faith and I sat down to sign the contracts, I said, ‘We are no longer the boss anymore. We are hired hands. We will never have a comfortable day.’ We were burning hot or freezing cold. There weren’t a lot of showers until I was forced every now and then. It was hard work.
It was also in this panel that Elliott apologized for his comments about the Oscar-winning movie The Power of the Dog that were widely criticized. He apologized to those who might have been bothered or hurt by his comments. Despite its connection to 1883, Elliott has also previously criticized Yellowstone for its perceived melodrama and compared it to Dallas, a long-running Western soap opera.
Actors and film crews have to go through some pretty rough conditions to make a project, just going to show that the passion for quality storytelling is unmatched in any other field. McGraw and Hill knew what they were getting into when they signed on, and their drive to make the series happen is reflected in their performances. Though some may think 1883 fails to add anything new to the Western genre, some tropes are tropes for a reason, and the Western’s established power has lost none of its edge for modern audiences. 1883 is no doubt a success, and the hardships the cast and crew had to endure make it all the more impressive.