‘1883’ Star Tim McGraw Called Cowboy Camp the ‘Most Helpful Thing in the World’

by Taylor Cunningham

The stars of 1883 may have looked like seasoned horseback pros, but they didn’t all start out that way. To prepare them for their parts, creator Taylor Sheridan put them through a rugged cowboy camp. And Tim McGraw is thankful for it.

“Cowboy camp was probably the most helpful thing in the world,” he said in a behind-the-scenes clip. “And we all got to spend a couple of weeks together just riding horses and roping and herding cattle.

And the crew of 1883 isn’t the only bunch of actors that Sheridan put through the classes. He actually makes all his western-based actors learn to rope and ride before starting a project.

The famed writer believes that his cowboy classes add authenticity to the screen. But they’re not for the faint of heart. In the case of his Yellowstone prequel, Sheridan warned the actors that they’d probably hate him before they graduated.

In the video, Taylor Sheridan admitted that it’s impossible to verbally express how hard life on the Oregon Trail really was. So he showed them instead.

“I don’t rehearse with my actors,” he shared. “There’s no way for me to inform them what this way of life is, you just have to do it. I just take them out and put them to work.”

“The purpose of cowboy camp is to get actors comfortable enough on the horses that they weren’t nervous when they were riding,” said Sheridan. “The better I can make them as a rider, the more they understand the thing they’re acting out, the better the performance is, the more authentic the scenes look. [After cowboy camp], it looks real.”

Tim McGraw and His Fellow ‘1883’ Actors Loved Attending Cowboy Camp

Taylor Sheridan may have assumed that the actors would hate the experience, but he thought wrong. 1883 star Tim McGraw loved cowboy camp, and so did everyone else.

However, they didn’t come out thinking the camp was a vacation. It was actually hard on everyone, just as the creator warned. But working through the pain made the actors grow as a team.

“Sam [Elliott]’s an icon. Tim [McGraw] and Faith [Hill] as well,” LaMonica Garrett shared in the exclusive. “These are huge celebrities, big stars. We get to cowboy camp, no one wanted any special treatment, it was hard for everyone.”

“At first, you think cowboy camp, it’s fun for a few days, and it was,” he continued. “But it turned into work. It made us all closer. We all bonded from it, and when we started filming it was a seamless transition. We learned how to ride horses, we learned what we needed to do … but it brought all close together, that was the main part.”