‘1883’ Star Sam Elliott Reveals Why He Was ‘Blown Away’ Reading First Script

by Leanne Stahulak

“1883” star Sam Elliott has already delivered a fantastic performance on the new Taylor Sheridan show in the “Yellowstone” universe.

But it wasn’t Taylor Sheridan’s previous credibility or the success of “Yellowstone” that got Elliott on board. It was reading the opening scene of the script, where Elliott’s character loses his family, that convinced the Western star to join “1883.”

Elliott recently sat down with TV website Bleeding Cool, where he talked about his first reaction to reading Sheridan’s script. The creator wrote the entire script himself for the prequel series.

“Well, it was the first few pages of that script, there was no dialog in them. It was just painting the picture,” Elliott explained. “As you know, I assume you know Taylor’s work or you wouldn’t ask that question, he’s quite the poet.”

So, it sounds like Sheridan spent a lot of time just describing the scene in a way that resonated with the “1883” cast (and eventually audience members). It clearly struck a chord with Elliott, who couldn’t believe that his character Shea Brennan experienced such brutal loss so quickly.

“It’s a powerful beginning for this character of mine in which he loses his family right off the bat,” Elliott continued. “I was pretty blown away just by that because I happen to have a family. Shea has a wife and daughter,  and I have a wife and daughter as well, so it caught me right away.”

‘1883’ Star Sam Elliott Says There Was ‘No Way’ He’d Say No to the Show

While the first script that “1883” star Sam Elliot read clearly had a ton of impact, so did the future scripts. Sheridan sent them to Elliott each time he finished writing a new episode.

“In the ensuing scripts that kept coming my way as Taylor wrote them, he sent them on to me. I knew right away that there was no way that I was not going to do this project,” Elliott revealed to Bleeding Cool.

But Elliott also admitted to some initial doubts about signing on to the project. Namely, the fact that it was a physically taxing project requiring him to do tons of stunts and fighting. Although he has lots of cowboy experience, the man is 77 years old.

“I had a lot of reservations for different reasons. Most of them physical,” Elliott admitted. “But there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to do this.” 

And we couldn’t be happier that he did. As soon as Elliott appears on-screen in “1883,” the show sharpens and really captures audiences. Not that the other cast members don’t put on impressive performances too. But it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Elliott undoubtedly steals the scene every time.