‘1883’: Tim McGraw Tells Wild Story About Filming Wagon Scene on 25th Wedding Anniversary With Faith Hill

“I was scared to death for it,” says 1883‘s own James Dutton, Tim McGraw, of the time he and wife Faith Hill crossed a river via 19th-century wagon.

Getting back up on a horse is one thing, but steering a period-correct 19th-century wagon is a whole other beast. And country music icon Tim McGraw knows his way around a horse, sure. This much he’d proven to fans prior to 1883. But embarking on the journey of a lifetime to lead Taylor Sheridan’s grand epic alongside the love of his life meant they both needed to pick up a few extra skills. Chief among them? Driving sad wagons.

Readily, McGraw admits “My wagon skills are average” to USA TODAY while discussing this year’s nationwide tour. Instead, “Faith became the expert,” he says of his wife, who he’s touring “solo” from for 2022.

“She spent most of her time driving the wagon and was pretty darn good at it,” McGraw adds of Hill. But nothing could’ve prepared either of them for filming 1883 Episode 4: ‘The Crossing.’

‘1883’s Tim McGraw on Filming That River Crossing Scene

Pictured: Faith Hill as Margaret and Sam Elliot as Shea of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2021 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.

In the episode, the Duttons’ wagon train must make their first river crossing – a treacherous and unimaginably stressful ordeal that claimed untold lives during America’s Westward Expansion. Not willing to subject weary emigrant travelers to a crossing he himself hasn’t even attempted, James (McGraw) awakens his wife, Margaret (Hill) to attempt the crossing with their own wagon and horses before the crack of dawn.

“The scene where we’re crossing the river, she hauled out on that wagon as I’m swimming on the horse trying to keep up,” McGraw reveals of shooting their harrowing ordeal. “She had more fun doing that than anything. I was scared to death for it,” he recalls.

As intense as both Tim McGraw and Faith Hill portray the scene in 1883, it’s no surprise that it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park to film, either. “We did that scene at 3:30 a.m. in, like, 36-degree weather,” McGraw adds. “We were soaked.”

But the best part, perhaps? “It was our 25th wedding anniversary,” the icon says. What a way to celebrate a quarter of a century together.

As for how the couple celebrated after, “We went home and went to bed as the sun was coming up to get ready for the next shoot,” McGraw offers. “But it was certainly an exciting 25th wedding anniversary.

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