It’s not uncommon for directors to ask their actors to complete certain tasks in preparation for their roles. Many actors are so committed to their careers, in fact, that they go the extra mile all on their own. That said, Taylor Sheridan takes it up a notch when it comes to his Yellowstone universe. In preparation for 1883, every member of the cast (even six-year-old Audie Rick) was required to attend cowboy camp.
Now, when you hear “cowboy camp,” you might think, “Okay, so they had to learn to ride horses?” Well, yes and no. Learning to ride horses was a part of cowboy camp, certainly. However, it was only a fraction of what would be a grueling two-week test of endurance for the cast.
Noah Le Gros, the actor behind 1883‘s Colton, recalls that cowboy camp was so tough, he was completely drenched in sweat by the end of the day. “They’re grinding us into the ground. I mean, by the time we finish riding horses, I’m like, completely soaked through…it’s kind of gross. I feel bad for everyone who has to smell us,” Le Gros says with a laugh.
Stars of ‘1883’ Reflect on the Cowboy Camp Experience
Though every member of the 1883 cast remembers cowboy camp as a demanding experience, they all do so with a smile. “I’ve been to hell week and camps for football and…this is a whole different beast,” laughs LaMonica Garrett.
We all know that Taylor Sheridan demands authenticity in his creations. It only makes sense, then, that the actors would be required to learn to be cowboys without any modern comforts. “In 1883, you didn’t have nice cushiony saddles,” says 1883 star Eric Nelsen. “You didn’t have all the fancy modern equipment that you have today. It’s bare bones, it’s bare knuckles. This training creates an authentic cowboy because, you know, the blisters are real, the cuts are real. I’m running into barbed wire fences on my horse.”
Rex Peterson, a horse trainer hired to help with training the 1883 cast to be cowboys, recalled talking to the actors after a long day at camp. “When they get off at night, they feel like their legs are melted,” Peterson says. “They’ve got cramps in their thighs, they’ve got cramps in their calves. [They’ll say] ‘My butt’s sore.’ Yeah, probably is. You ain’t ever sat in a saddle that long.”
All the hard work paid off in the end, as fans across the country marveled at how realistic 1883 appeared. Taylor Sheridan‘s creation was so incredible, it even converted some viewers into Western fans!