‘1883’ Star Sam Elliott Says He Wouldn’t Be ‘Tough Enough’ to Survive Oregon Trail

by Leanne Stahulak

After watching the first nine episodes of “1883,” viewers can’t deny that making the trek West along the Oregon Trail was a harrowing experience.

We’ve watched these poor cowboys and pioneers get killed by all kinds of things. Bandits, rattlesnakes, tornadoes, Native American warriors, rivers, and plenty of other threats along the way. Only a few have survived to even continue heading west toward Oregon, including Sam Elliott’s character Shea Brennan.

Earlier this week, Elliott sat down with the TODAY Show to talk about what he would do if he was in Shea’s situation. Specifically, if he thinks he would’ve lasted on the journey west. In real life or in “1883.”

“I know for a fact that I’m not tough enough to go up the trail,” Elliott shared. “I think there’s a number of people out there, however — between the key cities so to speak — that could make that trek pretty easily.”

And just who would voluntarily decide to journey on horseback or wagon across thousands of miles of plains?

“There are horsemen out there. The people that can survive in the outdoors, the people that are used to being in the outdoors,” Elliott explained. “I think it’s an easier trip today than it would’ve been back in those days.”

That’s an understatement. “1883” barely even features roads for these pioneers to use, let alone cars to drive on them. Many of the creature comforts we’re used to today have been stripped away for the characters on the “Yellowstone” prequel series.

But that’s also part of what makes it feel so authentic. Taylor Sheridan and the showrunners don’t rely on special effects to depict these struggles. Most of the cast and crew are really out there, struggling with real animals, equipment, and costumes that people used back in the day.

Paramount Orders More Episodes of ‘1883,’ But Not a Season 2 Renewal

Last week, Paramount announced several new projects for “Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan. One of those projects was a new batch of episodes for “1883.”

For clarification: This is not a renewal for Season 2. Paramount or Sheridan could’ve decided this for any number of reasons. For one thing, a season renewal means a raise for most of the actors in the series. Other costs also come with renewals, while added episodes can be treated as part of Season 1.

But it seems like the network decided on more “1883” episodes for creative purposes. Maybe there’s just a little but more story to tell, concerning this generation of Dutton. Maybe they thought Season 1 laid enough groundwork for us to go into “Yellowstone” Season 5.

Now, however, Sheridan has another prequel show in the works. “1932” focuses on a different generation of Dutton, likely John Dutton Sr. and his son, John II (aka, modern-day John’s dad). Perhaps these new “1883” episodes will tie in the new storyline better, especially as we watch John Dutton Sr. settle into his new Montana home.