Interview: ‘1883’ Cast Talks Learning the Ropes on New ‘Yellowstone’ Hit

1883 TV series now on Paramount Network

It’s official: 1883 is a massive hit. Again.

Following its premiere on the Paramount+ streaming service in late 2021, season 1 of 1883 debuted on the Paramount Network on June 18. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “the two-episode premiere drew 3.8 million viewers on its first night, including replays and simulcasts on five other Paramount Global cable channels.” THR points out that if 1883 was a new show, that number would make it “the most watched scripted debut on cable since The Walking Dead: World Beyond on AMC in October 2020.” But in an ironic twist, 1883 does, in fact, own that record, thanks to the nearly five million viewers who tuned-in for the 2021 premiere on Paramount Network before the show moved entirely to streaming.

Fans clearly can’t get enough of the show—or the extended Yellowstone universe, more generally. And if any show was going to test the appeal of Yellowstone spin-offs, it was this one. Set more than 130 years before the original series, 1883 tells the story about how the Dutton family settled the land that would become their homestead. Compared to the melodramatic tone of Yellowstone, 1883 is a harsher and more brutal show, but they’re alike in a number of ways. Specifically, the cast—which includes real-life husband-and-wife country stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, along with cowboy icon Sam Elliott—brings a grounded quality to their performances, and the dialogue from creator Taylor Sheridan is as chewy as a mouthful of beef jerky.


With the launch of 1883 on Paramount Network, we spoke with actors LaMonica Garrett and Eric Nelsen about the common themes between the shows, why the world of Yellowstone is so popular, and the preparation required to play cowboys. Check out our interview below. New episodes of 1883 air Sunday nights at 8pm ET on Paramount Network. Not a DISH subscriber? Use this link to find the DISH package that’s right for you!


DISH: What do you see as some of the common themes between the main Yellowstone franchise and 1883?

Eric Nelsen: It follows the journey of the Dutton’s, which is who we know from Yellowstone. And it shows how they got to be in Yellowstone. Both are in the western genre and they’re equally…both stand alone, you don’t have to watch them together. But they both have such incredibly epic, epic, expansive scenery and the stories. You’re crying one second, you’re laughing the next second, you’re sweating watching this. I mean, it’s just, it’s like somebody amped you up with adrenaline, because every other scene, it keeps you on your toes, it’s explosive. 

LaMonica Garrett: Yeah, these strong characters. Strong women, strong men, strong worlds that you have to survive in. And there’s something about being in nature that, I think that’s why a lot of people love watching these shows. We go from our cars, we go to our work, from building to building…[life makes] you want to unplug and check out. And when you unplug and check out just to get peace, you go fishing, you go hiking, you go in nature, you want to be surrounded by nature, and this show takes you to that place. Both shows take you to that place in nature where nature itself is a character in this show. And Taylor does a great job of capturing that.


DISH: When you watch a show like this, it’s impressive how at ease you all look in a time and place most of us can’t fathom. Did either of you have any experience with horses etc. before working on the show?

LaMonica Garrett: I grew up in the city, and I think that’s why cowboy camp was so important. We learn to ride horses, we learn to cut cattle, we learn to ride the wagons, weapons training. A big part of it was us bonding together during this period. And Taylor created this world for us. We all stayed at the same ranch together. It was a herd mentality. If someone was going into town, everyone would jump in the car with that person, whoever was going. And we would eat food, even, that was only allowed in the 1800s, like cornbread, or bacon, or beef. You know, so it was this world that he created, when we started filming, it was a seamless transition. So as you said, it looked like we had been doing this every day our whole lives. It’s the prep work that Taylor made for us to live that.

Eric Nelsen: I had grown up with horses. My dad was a thoroughbred, polo horse trainer, my grandpa trained reining horses, so I knew the world and understood it, and I thought I was a decent rider and “cowboy.” But I had no idea, compared to what I was supposed to be doing on this show [Laughs]. I mean, it humbled me very quickly, and I had never worked cattle before, I had never learned to rope before. So the training, it took us from either 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 to a 20. And now these skills have become us. We’re all still riding, we’re all still living in this world, and we’ve loved absolutely every second of it. And we all want to be ranchers now [Laughs].