Fans of Paramount’s Yellowstone are in for more action. This time in the form of the prequel, 1883, which will air on Paramount+. This December, fans will be able to catch the premiere of the new show. In order to make this the prestige drama it deserves to be, Paramount has invested in a Taylor Sheridan universe that will be coming to life in the best way possible.
When setting up a show that takes place in a historical setting, there are multiple ways to prepare. Of course, costumes and clothing must be believable. A show that takes place in the 1880s is going to need to look a certain way. This prequel specifically is about how the Dutton family from Yellowstone made their way to their Montana ranch in the first place.
So, in order to set 1883 up to be as realistic and jaw-dropping as possible, Taylor Sheridan has had 30, period-accurate wagons made. These wagons will travel across America while filming is taking place. David Glasser, CEO of 101 Studios said to Deadline, “The Duttons travel with other families, and pick up other groups along the way.” While CGI would have made this possible with just 10 real wagons, Sheridan would not have it.
“Taylor didn’t want to do it CGI…he’s recreated everything,” Glasser praised his screenwriter. Filming is going to take place in Texas and eventually up to Montana. “We’re shooting in Palestine and Guthrie, Texas, and then eventually we get to Montana, to the Dutton ranch by the end of Season One,” the CEO explained.
‘1883’ In A Historical Context
So, let’s set the scene for 1883, historically speaking. The 1880s in the United States were a much different time. Western expansion is taking place. The federal government has allowed multiple homestead acts granting farmers and others land of their choosing. Only 38 states were part of the Union and Montana wouldn’t be officially admitted into the United States until 1889.
In the midst of the American Civil War, President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act of 1862 which allowed yeoman farmers to go out west and claim land of their own. Provisions included having to farm the land. Homesteaders also had to fight off Natives. Then the Timber Culture Act of 1873 was signed, which allowed 160 acres of land. The provision here was settlers had to plant 10 acres of trees over several years.
These acts, along with the fallout from the Civil War pushed settlers west. This is a time when many of these lands are territories and not states. There weren’t many towns, caravans often traveled together west, and disease ran rampant. Think the Oregon Trail but a decade or so later. While railroad infrastructure is in place by the 1880s, wagons are the way to go for most. The Duttons are going to be in for quite a trip across Texas and then north into Montana. 1883 is going to bring a great historical story.