1883

‘Everything's About His Family': Tim McGraw and the Cast of ‘1883' Open Up About This Epic Prequel to ‘Yellowstone'

“1883” streams Dec. 19 on Paramount+.

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

If you’ve been wondering how the Montana mafia-like family in “Yellowstone” was able to get so much power and a stronghold on their land, then saddle up to watch “1883.” This series starring Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Sam Elliott, Isabel May and LaMonica Garrett is from the same creator and producer of “Yellowstone”, Taylor Sheridan. 

Emerson Miller/Paramount+
Pictured: Tim McGraw as James of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2021 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.

“1883” starts in Ft. Worth, TX and takes you on an epic journey with the Duttons, the most infamous family in “Yellowstone.” McGraw is James Dutton, the great-grandfather to Kevin Costner’s John Dutton. James is a tough as nails Civil War veteran searching for a better life for his family and ventures out in a covered wagon across the Oregon Trail. 

NBC sat down with the cast at a press event before the premiere at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas to talk about the Dutton family legacy, singing on set, and the empowering story from Sheridan.

“Everything’s about his family. He certainly has these dreams and expectations of what he wants and where he wants to settle his family down,” McGraw explains. “They come from Tennessee, he fought in the Civil War, and he didn’t like any of that, and he didn’t like what happened after reconstruction. So I think part of that was his driving factor to just get out of there and find a fresh place. I think he was trying to outrun some memories and trying to outrun some trauma.”

Sarah Coulter/Paramount+
Pictured: Faith Hill as Margaret and Tim McGraw as James of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Photo Cr: Sarah Coulter/Paramount+ © 2021 CBS Interactive . All Rights Reserved.

And for the first time, McGraw will star alongside his real life wife, fellow country music star Faith Hill. She plays his on-screen wife  Margaret Dutton, a woman who knows what she wants and doesn’t suffer fools. Hill said she and McGraw loved the script and couldn’t turn it down.

“It was the chance of a lifetime,” Hill said. “We’ve been offered to work together on screen before but you know it has to be something really special and this we just couldn’t say no to because the story is so beautiful.”

Emerson Miller/Paramount+
Pictured: Tim McGraw as James and Isabel May as Elsa of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2021 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.

In fact, all of the women of “1883” are strong female characters. The story is narrated by Elsa Dutton played by Isabel May. Between Margaret and Elsa fans will easily see where “Yellowstone’s” Beth Dutton gets her grit.

“In the beginning she’s not necessarily free. She feels confined to this kind of civilized way of life that she is supposed to live,” May said.  “But once they go on this trek, that all changes. And I think anyone can watch this and feel empowered or feel captivated by the scenery and her experiences.”

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

Elsa’s experiences are shared with Academy Award nominee Sam Elliott. He plays Shea Brennan, a rough cowboy with a dark past. It’s a role that feels tailor-made for him in a genre he knows all too well. 

“It’s a genre that I love. Maybe more than most,” Elliott said. “You know it’s a very complicated piece. There’s a lot of moving parts. We’re working with a huge cast and crew. We’ve got some of the best cinematographers in the television world, maybe even the motion picture world. This thing looks mythic. It looks epic. It doesn’t look like a television series and certainly not like anything I’ve ever been involved with.”

Coral your friends and watch this Wild West story unfold when it premieres Dec. 19 on Paramount+.

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