Tom Selleck may entertain audiences these days on TV shows like “Blue Bloods” for instance. But he also starred in a number of westerns. In fact, the genre ended up being one of his favorite to act in, thanks to the camaraderie.
In an interview with Cowboys and Indians in 2016, Selleck revealed he picked up the cowboy hat early in life. The future actor grew up watching westerns on TV. But when Selleck started his career, he had the opportunity to star in “The Sacketts” opposite Sam Elliott. That film was based on a novel by Louis L’Amour.
“I was raised in tract housing but grew up watching westerns, and those movies had a deep-rooted influence on me. I was very lucky to get cast in The Sacketts,” Selleck told the outlet. “My pal Sam Elliott – we started out in the business together — was already cast as my brother, and this was a big plus, as I was pretty nervous.”
Like a gateway drug, “The Sacketts” ended up opening the genre to Selleck. He ended up greatly enjoying his time on the set.
“I got hooked on the genre, and although I’d ridden before, I really learned how to ride during that project because the director was a stickler for his actors looking authentic on horseback. I didn’t want to look like a slacker,” Selleck said.
Tom Selleck Befriends a Western Great
While filming “The Sacketts,” Selleck befriended western author and literary great Louis L’Amour. In fact, the author ended up writing a book, just so Selleck and Elliott could star in the movie adaptation.
“After ‘The Sacketts,’ the creative team made a pact to work together again. But another Louis L’Amour project almost didn’t happen,” Selleck said. “The rights to make a ‘Sacketts’ sequel got tied up in legalese. So Louis wrote a new book with a movie in mind. I’m proud to say that Louis and I became friends on the set, which meant a lot to me. He knew that we were all going to do another project together one way or another, so he created ‘The Shadow Riders’ for us.”
These days, Selleck’s western era seems behind him. But the actor hopes it won’t be for good. Selleck confessed that he missed the genre and wanted to star in another western.
“I hope I’m not done doing westerns, though, as they are now very hard to get off the ground,” Selleck said. “I so miss it, and more than any other experience I’ve had in film, these movies create a sense of place. Everything in a western can work for you if you allow it — not spending time in your trailer. Perhaps if you’re just sitting on your horse between takes and staying on the set, you can still kind of experience that lifestyle. There was a real sense of unity between cowboys.”