‘1883’ Stars Sam Elliott and Tim McGraw Open Up About the Dynamic Between Shea and James

by Megan Molseed
Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2022 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The first season of the hit Yellowstone spin-off series, 1883 has come to an end. The series focuses on the origin of the Dutton family’s Yellowstone Ranch, following the Dutton clan in their journey west. However, viewers of the hit series know that the storylines go much deeper, beyond simply telling the story of the Dutton family.

Among the all-star cast featured in the Yellowstone spin-off is country music superstar Tim McGraw, McGraw’s wife – and fellow country music singer – Faith Hill as well as Sam Elliott, Billy Bob Thornton, and LaMonica Garrett. Even big-screen stars Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have made cameos in the hit series. With the impressive cast of characters in 1883, there are many dynamics at play. Including the relationship between Sam Elliot’s Shea Brennan the captain of the wagon convoy, and McGraw’s James Dutton, who is headed west with his family.

The Relationship Dynamics Between Sam Elliott and Tim McGraw in 1883 Come to Light In ‘River’

While Tim McGraw and Sam Elliott are core to the storyline of the entire 1883 series, the dynamic between the two cowboys becomes clear in the third episode of the show’s premiere season. In this episode, James Dutton and Shea Brennan find themselves at odds as the caravan approaches a river.

Brennan insists the group head east. While Dutton is determined the group head westward. Brennan’s reasoning is to head in an eastbound direction along the river, waiting for a better – and less dangerous crossing point. However, James doesn’t want to add extra time to the journey. The winter weather is on its way, and the faster the group can continue heading west, the better.

“Shea and James just have different ways of looking at it,” says Sam Elliott of the way his Shea Brennan character and McGraw’s James Dutton operate with each other.

“James doesn’t care about anyone else but his family,” Elliott explains.

“And I don’t think that’s the case with Shea,” the 1883 star continues. “I think he cares equally about everybody.”

James Dutton and Shea Brennan Often Find Themselves At Odds During Westward Journey

Shea Brennan and James Dutton may regularly be butting heads in their journey west. Both are leaders, no doubt. However, Tim McGraw is quick to point out that the disagreements the men face are in no way a sign of disrespect; from either direction.

“[As] Shea and James, we were in arguments all the time early on,” Tim McGraw explains of the two men’s dynamic in 1883.

“But even in the contentiousness, there wasn’t a lack of respect,” the 1883 star continues. “I think it was about who was just gonna lead.”