Before any of our favorite 1883 actors even stepped in front of the camera to film the hit Paramount+ series, they had to take part in something that is quickly becoming a tradition in Taylor Sheridan-led shows…cowboy camp. Cowboy camp is an intense crash course that is intended to familiarize actors with the ways of the west. And, in the case of this cast, the old-west. From learning how to deal with horses, drive – and ride – wagons, handle guns, or any of the other authentic 1883 pieces of equipment, cowboy camp touches on it all.
“Everything that we have done, we have learned how to do it properly by the best of the best,” says 1883 star Faith Hill of how her cowboy camp experience helped her when portraying Margaret Dutton. And, the country singer’s 1883 costar, LaMonica Garrett who portrays Thomas in the hit series, agrees.
“A lot of what we’re doing now is day in and day out,” LaMonica Garrett explains.
“So this becomes second nature so when we’re going to the script,” the 1883 star continues of “cowboy camp.” Garrett adds that the lessons learned while in “cowboy camp” help the actors to be able to focus on their lines while filming. Rather than the intricacies of the “cowboy way.”
Showrunner Taylor Sheridan’s ‘Cowboy Camp’ Puts 1883 Actors Right Into the Thick of Things
Sure, the 1883 set is full of some big-time talent. I mean, two of country music’s most iconic stars are the center of the series. However, despite the uber-talent brought to the screen, many 1883 actors were new to a lot of the skills they display in the series.
And, for the 1883 creator, it was important that his stars not only learn how to do things like ride and handle horses; drive wagons; and fire the old-fashioned weapons. Not only this, notes showrunner Taylor Sheridan, but the actors need to get to a point where each one of these skills becomes second nature.
“There’s no way for me to inform them what this way of life is, you just have to do it,” Taylor Sheridan says of his 1883 stars.
“I just take them out and put them to work,” the showrunner adds. “The purpose of cowboy camp is to get actors comfortable enough on the horses that they weren’t nervous when they were riding.”
Giving A Sense Of Realism To the Series
The stars of 1883 do admit that “cowboy camp” is certainly full of hard work. Especially when the actors are learning to use old-fashioned equipment such as saddles commonly used in the era in which the show is based. However, the actors are quick to say that the hard work is all worth it in the end.
“You must know how to do it the right way,” Faith Hill says of learning the unique cowboy skills for her 1883 role.
“Otherwise it’s just kind of, it’s watered down and it just feels wrong,” she adds.