‘1883’: Tim McGraw on How Playing ‘Badass’ James Dutton Was ‘Every Little Boy’s Dream’

by Amy Myers
Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2021 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Just like almost every little boy that grew up on a farm, 1883 actor and country music icon Tim McGraw dreamed of becoming a real cowboy that tangled with crooks and rode beside Native Americans.

Lucky for the young farmer boy, he would become the epitome of a western traveler once he met a man named Taylor Sheridan, where he could finally live out his dream of riding horses, firing pistols and conquering new and dangerous land.

“It was fantastic, an inspiration,” he shared during an interview with Bobby Bones. “I’m grateful I got to do it. I grew up riding horses, so to bae on horses every day, and roping and chasing bad guys. And you know, wearing the chaps on the cowboy hat and carrying the pistols around and it was every little boy’s dream, I guess to do something like that. And I got to play a badass. So that was pretty cool.”

Of course, portraying this lifestyle came with his challenges, as he explained during The Bobby Bones Show. As a hardworking man, it wasn’t anything he couldn’t handle, but Tim McGraw did admit that by the end of 1883, he’d grown a bit tired of the Old West lifestyle.

“The TV series was probably was the hardest job I’ve ever had,” McGraw said. “I mean, I grew up working on a farm, moving irrigation systems and driving tractors and so that we did fit in to be able to do it with faith was fantastic. But we spent five or six months, 14 hours a day, six days a week, probably three, three hours of sleep a night, just to do this thing and out in the elements every day.”

Listen to the conversation below.

Tim McGraw Realizes the Dark Reality Behind ‘1883’ Dream

While Tim McGraw and his co-stars certainly had a blast portraying a crew of rough-and-tumble men and women, as we know, that lifestyle was far from all glitz and glamour. In fact, in McGraw’s opinion, many of the characters would have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with how much pain, death and tragedy they witnessed and experienced.

“I think there’s a lot of PTSD going on with James, Margaret, Shea, Thomas — everybody who experienced that war and then all that went on at Reconstruction,” the 1883 actor shared with TV Line.

“Part of the reason James wanted to get out of there, he was trying to run from it,” McGraw continued. “I think he was constantly reminded of it. He was constantly shell-shocked from it. But it steeled them both in a way. It bonded their love and their characters in a way that nothing was going to shake it.”