‘1883’ Star Tim McGraw Described the Bitter Cold Conditions Filming in Montana

by Caitlin Berard
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A difficult, yet seldom-appreciated, aspect of acting is that actors are frequently tasked with either feigning reactions to weather or ignoring harsh conditions because the scene doesn’t call for discomfort. For example, there might be a summer beach party scene, but in reality, it’s the dead of winter. Shivering would ruin the scene, so actors have no choice but to pretend they’re comfortable in a bathing suit in 30-degree weather. The set of 1883 is no exception, and in a recent interview with Variety, Tim McGraw gave fans some insight into what it was like to film in the unforgiving conditions of Montana.

“…It was such a grueling shoot. I mean, we were shooting six days a week most of the time and very long hours. Everything was in the elements. I told Faith [Hill] before we started shooting that we were never going to be comfortable. I remember shooting scenes in the first couple episodes, and it was probably 110 degrees out there. We’re out there for 10 hours and being very physical. There was a lot of sweating going on. I’ve probably still got dirt in places I haven’t found yet.”

‘1883’ Star Tim McGraw Says the Boiling Conditions of Summer Were Just the Start

The filming of 1883 stretched from August to January, meaning the stars of the show filmed during both the hottest and coldest months of the year. And as difficult it was to manage the boiling conditions of summer in Montana, Tim McGraw says filming 1883 in the winter was arguably worse.

And it makes sense, Montana winters are notoriously tough, with temperatures dipping well into the negatives. Certain areas of Big Sky Country are so treacherous in the winter months, they’re virtually unnavigable until the snows melt.

1883 star Tim McGraw recalls the intense winter conditions. “It was freezing cold,” McGraw begins. “We probably had, I would guess, maybe five days that were nice in the entire shoot, and the rest of the time was extremely uncomfortable. It tended to give us a more real-life experience as characters, in a very minute way, of what these people went through traveling the Oregon Trail, facing these dangerous things every single day.

“There were a few times where, in Montana, it was just so cold and bitter and the wind was blowing and the horses didn’t react well. We were trying to get our teeth not to chatter and not to shiver while we were doing our takes. There was a couple of times where it took hours to get your core temperature back up.”

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