‘1883’: Sam Elliott Calls Shea Brennan a ‘Troubled Man for a Lot of Reasons’

by Jonathan Howard

We have seen episode one of the first seasons of 1883 and a lot of that was getting to know Sam Elliott’s character, Shea Brennan.

The former Union captain in the Civil War has a complicated history that is already clear from the get-go. Elliott sat down and talked about Shea and all the things that make him gruff and at times hostile. The man is troubled but principled. A complicated mix of emotions and experiences much like many others in real life.

Check out the video below from the official 1883 Instagram account.

The number one thing that Elliott’s character is concerned with is getting to Oregon. However, he has a responsibility to guide others as well.

“Shea is on a mission to get back to Oregon,” the actor says in the video. “And at the same time, he has something in him that wants to help these other people get there as well. He’s a guy that’s got a lot of issues, he’s a troubled man for a lot of different reasons.”

We know a few things about Shea just from the first episode. He is a Civil War veteran and that has clearly not aged with him very well. Also, in the first episode, as soon as we see Shea, he is dealing with the death of his family. Smallpox claimed their lives and we see the war veteran burning his own home down.

“First off he was in the war, you know, he suffers from PTSD,” Elliott continued. “He loses his family and I think that’s the biggest burden that he carries with him. Yeah, he’s hard-handed, but I think he deeply cares on some level.”

‘1883’ Fans Can’t Stand to See Sam Elliott Cry

This first episode was filled with a lot of action and death and drama. The show has gotten off to a solid start and we have been somewhat introduced to many of our main characters. However, 1883 fans just can’t stand to see Sam Elliott cry.

While it is hard to see the things that Shea deals with early on, there is likely going to be a lot more of that moving forward. Shea, Thomas, as well as James Dutton are all Civil War veterans. Each of them deals with that in their own way. Thomas still wears his Buffalo Soldier uniform. Shea and James both suffer from PTSD. Emotions are going to run high, but that means fans will have to get used to seeing tears shed.

“Sam Elliott crying breaks my heart,” one Twitter user said. The 1883 account tweeted out, “When Sam Elliott cries, we cry.

The frontier is no place to be overcome with emotion. However, it might not be something that these men can actually prevent from happening given what they are dealing with internally as well as externally.