What Was the First Time Tom Selleck Starred Opposite of Sam Elliott?

by Madison Miller

Separated, Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott are iconic all on their own. But, when you put them in the same scene, something even more magical happens. Not to mention, both have some of the most iconic mustaches in the game.

Elliott has had plenty of gritty, cowboy roles over the years. He’s known for roles like “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Ranch,” “A Star Is Born,” and “Conagher,” amongst many others. Meanwhile, Tom Selleck also had quite the past between TV and movie roles and was also known for his Western appearances. He had his breakthrough with “Magnum, P.I.” as well as movies like “Lassiter” and “Three Men and a Baby.” He’s currently playing the role of Frank Reagan in “Blue Bloods.”

These two Western icons first crossed paths during a 1969 episode of “Lancer.” This is listed as Selleck’s very first acting credit, according to IMDb. Before that, the two were also in a Fox program geared at recruiting new talents. A friendship quickly formed off the screen too.

“Sam and I were already good friends. Sam was more formed in those [early] days, [knowing] exactly what he wanted. I was still learning the craft,” Selleck said during an interview with True West Magazine.

The two infamous leading men would eventually cross paths for a longer film in 1982 for the CBS made-for-TV movie, “The Shadow Riders.”

Selleck starred as Mac Traven in the movie. It was a Western that was based on the Louis L’Amour novel. In the film, Selleck and Elliott have a very complicated relationship. Mac fights for the Union and Del (Elliott) fought for the Confederate side. Things get more complicated when the brothers return home.

They discover that their younger brother Jesse and his fiancee have been taken hostage by renegade Confederate soldiers. It’s a group of individuals refusing to recognize the results of the Civil War. In order to bring them home safely, the two brothers and other family members must all team up together.

Tom Selleck’s Favorite Role

Tom Selleck has certainly starred in a wide array of different projects during his long history in the entertainment world. The question is — does he have a favorite?

“I don’t have a favorite. I’ve got ones that stick out for different reasons. I loved ‘Quigley Down Under.’ I love Westerns. I loved ‘Monte Walsh’ because it was not a movie about a gunman or a sheriff, it was about a cowboy at the end of the era of the Western cowboy whose primary thought and role in life was literally to stand athwart history yelling ‘Stop,'” Selleck said during an interview with BUILD Series in 2017.

Besides his role in Westerns, Selleck also looks back fondly at some of his comedic roles. “Three Men and a Baby” was his first real expedition outside of TV. The movie was a massive success and it made him realize just how amazing filming a comedy can be.