‘1883’: Isabel May Learned to Shoot From Same Gunslinger That Taught Sam Elliott & ‘Tombstone’ Cast

by Jon D. B.
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Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2021 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Sam Elliott brings true Western gravitas to 1883 and didn’t stop there, enlisting some old friends to help train his younger castmates in the ways of the genre.

Any fan of Westerns is a fan of Sam Elliott’s. Or that’s the way it should be, at least. The man has become synonymous with the genre, and for good reason. His iconic voice, swagger, and talent, have helped elevate Westerns for decades now, which is exactly why Taylor Sheridan sought Sam Elliott to lead his first true period Western epic: 1883.

Sheridan also sought new talent for his first Yellowstone prequel, landing the likes of Isabel May for the heart of the show, Elsa Dutton. A relative unknown before her 1883 casting, May would inspire Sheridan to flesh out the entire destiny of the Dutton family around her character. And she proved his faith well-placed by delivering one of the best performances of the 2021-2022 television season.

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Pictured: Isabel May as Elsa of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2021 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Yet to become a Dutton is to become as entrenched in the culture of Westerns as is possible. And there’s no holding your own in the West without a firearm at your side.

“I am a good shot, may I say,” May begins for THR’s Awаrds Chаtter with a laugh. “It was really fun. I felt pretty badass, to say the least!”

But there’s a whole lot more to a cowboy’s relationship with his firearm than being a good shot. Enter Sam Elliott once more.

Sam Elliott and an Old ‘Tombstone’ Pal Taught Isabel May Her ‘1883’ Firearm Skills

In the podcast, May reveals that Elliott enlisted “The gentlemаn who did Tombstone” to train her on 19th-century firearms. “He cаme to teаch everyone how to use their weаpon,” she recalls. “Thаt wаs quite impressive. He’s a much older man, and seeing that he and Sam had been on the Tombstone set together, that was really amazing. It was a full 360 moment.”

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Pictured: Tim McGraw as James, Sam Elliott as Shea and LaMonica Garrett as Thomas of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ (C) 2021 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.

“That man” would be Western historian, actor, and all-around genre expert Peter Sherayko. Sherayko, alongside the gentleman he would hire to serve as chief armorer on Tombstone, Thell Reed, would train the cast of the classic 1993 Western to properly handle – and get fancy with – their period-appropriate firearms.

“I had a good time,” May continues of working with Elliott and Sherayko on 1883. “Of course, all the fun stuff went to [the men in the cast], but whatever,” she laughs.

Regardless of a 19th-century epic’s restrictions on women, May says that she and the cast “hаndled weаpon safety very seriously, аnd leаrned how to hаndle them properly. I’ve аlwаys been very pаssionаte аbout it.”

After her prowess displayed in 1883, here’s to hoping we see much more of Isabel May in the future.

Outsider.com