Kevin Costner and Jeff Fahey Have Played Enemies in Two Westerns: What to Know About the On-Screen Nemeses

by Josh Lanier

Kevin Costner and Jeff Fahey have gone muzzle-to-muzzle twice in their career, both times in beloved Westerns. But the prolific actors have a lot more in common than their on-screen counterparts.

The first time they shared the screen was in Silverado in 1985. It was Fahey’s first film, and one of the earliest leading roles for Costner. Costner plays Jake, who is sentenced to hang in the town of Silverado after killing a man in self-defense. But his brother breaks him out of prison, and they go on the run from the ruthless and unfair Sheriff Cobb. Fahey, who plays Cobb’s right-hand man deputy Tyree, rides out to hunt down them down. But the brothers decide to bring justice to these corrupt lawmen, leading to a showdown for the characters.

They’re both stand-out performances, and it’s a testament to both of them that they’ve gone on to do so many Westerns in their careers. They’re believable in the rough-and-tumble terrain of the Wild West. They take the genre seriously, and it shows.

“I love making Westerns,” Costner, who grew up watching the genre, said in 2019. “I know now who I am more than any other time in my life when I’m making ‘em. I understand their importance to our culture and the emotional impact, when done correctly, on men, on women and 7-year-olds.”

Costner, Fahey Swap Roles in Second Film Together

In Wyatt Earp, the men switched positions. This time Kevin Costner played the titular lawman, and Fahey played baddie Ike Clanton in the 1994 film. The famed lawman faces off against Clanton and his fellow gang members before their infamous showdown at the O.K. Corral.

According to True West Magazine, Costner was going to play Earp in Tombstone but left the movie over creative differences with the director. He decided to make his own take on the classic Western hero. He reached out to Silverado director Lawrence Kasdan to direct. Unfortunately, Tombstone, which hit theaters a year earlier, won out with critics and audiences. Kurt Russell starred as Earp, and most people consider it a classic performance.

Interestingly, Fahey and Costner have played criminals several times during their careers. Both are imposing figures on screen, and Fahey has a sinister look about him. He recently showed that off in Netlfix’s Badland. Costner continues to play leather-tough leading men in shows like Yellowstone.