‘1883’ Trailer Reveals Sam Elliott May Be Playing a Larger Role Than Expected

by Jon D. B.
Photo credit: ViacomCBS Press Express, Paramount Plus

If you’ve been hoping for as much Sam Elliott as possible in Yellowstone spinoff 1883, then the show’s full trailer says you’re in luck.

In the weeks leading up to 1883‘s December 19 premiere on Paramount Plus, we’ve seen quite a bit from the prequel. So far, however, we’ve seen mostly Tim McGraw as the period-correct Western’s protagonist, James Dutton. Through these Dutton-heavy flashbacks and sneak peeks shown as Yellowstone Season 4 airs, however, we’ve seen precious little of Sam Elliott. That all changes today.

In a surprise move, Paramount dropped the first full 1883 trailer Friday. And it shows we’ve but scratched the surface when it comes to the Western icon’s character, Shea Brennan.

Pound for pound, Elliott’s Brennan has as much dialogue and screen time in the trailer as McGraw’s James Dutton. He’s not just popping in for cameos, either. Throughout, we see Brennan – a Pinkerton agent tasked with escorting the Dutton’s through their treacherous westward expansion – as part of integral moments in the family’s history. He’s there when James forms his initial plans to “go North,” and from the look and feel of the narrative, Shea Brennan will be front and center alongside James every step of the way.

From Academy Award nominee Taylor Sheridan, co-creator of Yellowstone, 1883 follows the Dutton family as they embark on a journey west through the Great Plains toward the last bastion of untamed America. Staring Academy Award nominee Sam Elliott and country music stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

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‘1883’s Sam Elliott to be ‘Instrumental’ in ‘Yellowstone’ Prequel

While this is a welcomed surprise, “surprise” may be the wrong word for it. Up until now, Sam Elliott has felt a supporting cast member. But having his name in top billing for any Western is guaranteed to put butts in seats. And that’s exactly what Paramount wants.

Whether Shea Brennan will be as instrumental to realizing the Duttons’ American Dream as the Duttons themselves will only be answered by viewing the first season in its entirety. Until we can do so, it’s also safe to assume that Paramount is simply leaning hard into the star power they have in Elliott.

For one thing, Tim McGraw is a superstar, yes, but not in Hollywood. It’s far from his first time acting (as fans of Friday Night Lights will recall), but this will be the first tentpole television series the county music icon has headlined. Bringing in a star of Sam Elliott’s caliber to anchor him (alongside wife Faith Hill as on-screen wife Margaret Dutton) is a smart move.

After viewing the full trailer, it looks as if Elliott will also be relied on for the narrative as much as he is for marketing 1883, as well. Which is, in short, fantastic news for Yellowstone and Western fans at large.

Color us even more excited for 1883‘s debut come Dec. 19, only on Paramount Plus.