‘1883’ Star LaMonica Garrett Describes Filming That Finale Grisly Scene With Josef

by Amy Myers

The season finale of 1883 provided as many twists and turns as it did blood and gore, and one of these gruesome scenes ended up being too real even for the cast.

Warning: Major 1883 spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk.

During the long haul through the plains, between the endless dust and heat, we saw Josef and his wife fall victim to rattlesnake bites. Unfortunately, for his wife, the venom traveled too quickly to the rest of her body. However, one of the cowboys managed to bleed out Josef’s leg in time for the infection to stop at his calf. Thankfully, this meant that he could survive, but as Sam said, he could die with the leg or live without it.

So, an in-field amputation was necessary. And according to LaMonica Garrett, the incredibly talented actor behind Thomas, this scene was as tough to create as it was to watch. In fact, the cast even used a prosthetic that mimicked the anatomy of a flesh leg.

“That was the hardest scene for me to shoot of the whole season,” Garrett admitted. “First of all, the saw that we used was like the size of an emery board, like a nail file. It wasn’t a big saw and whatever the prosthetic leg [was made of], it felt like actual skin and meat and the bone felt like a real bone.”

‘1883’ Cast Had to ‘Gather Themselves’ Following Amputation Scene

As quick as the scene was in 1883, the filming took much longer. The cast involved at the moment, such as Garrett, Faith Hill, Gratiela Brancusi and others, even had to take a break once they finished the scene.

“I don’t know how it looked, but the noise that it made when you were sawing through the bone, after the scene was over, all the actors had to go to their separate corners and kind of take a minute to themselves just to gather themselves,” Garrett explained. “We heard that sound, talking about it a few days later, woke up in the middle of the night, hearing that noise. I don’t know if the camera picked that up or the mic picked that up, for the realness of what we were experiencing on the day. But that was challenging.”

According to Garrett, it took roughly five minutes to actually saw through the leg with the tiny instrument. It was incredibly real to them.

“I don’t know how long it was on camera, but my fingers were numb. My shoulder was going numb. And Sam was saying, physically, I was probably the only one there that could have really sawed through that. It was tough. That was a rough scene,” he said. “I was telling people like that would be one of those scenes where people might have to look away, but it’s real. That’s what happened on the Trail. That’s what happened in war, and Thomas was familiar with it. So it goes back to the authenticity and just the realness of where they were at and the time.”