Sam Elliott: What was ‘1883’ Star’s First-Ever Role?

by Anna Dunn

Sam Elliott is slated to star in 1883 and has an impressive resume under his belt, but where did the critically acclaimed actor get his start?

According to IMDB, Sam Elliott’s first credited role was on a TV series called Judd For The Defense in 1969. The actor played a man named Dan Kenyon in an episode called The Crystal Maze. Judd For The Defense was a TV show about a defense lawyer named Clinton Judd and his assistant, Ben Caldwell. The IMDB page for the show states that the drama often dealt with subjects that were taboo for the time.

While this was his TV debut, his official film debut was in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. Elliott would primarily work in westerns when he had the chance but branched out later on in his career. Recently, Sam Elliott was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. This was for his work on the Oscar-winning film A Star Is Born.

Sam Elliott has come incredibly far since simply appearing as a side character for a single episode of a show. Now, it’s clear he’s an award-worthy star. It’s what makes Yellowstone and Taylor Sheridan fans so excited about Sam Elliott starring in 1883.

1883 is a prequel to the series Yellowstone, but it follows its own unique story. The show will follow an early generation of Duttons as they head west in search of a better life. Sam Elliot has grown his hair out for the rugged role. He’s playing as the Dutton’s guide on the dangerous journey west.

The ‘1883’ Star Loves the Western Genre

Sam Elliott seems excited to get back to his acting roots in the western genre. Taylor Sheridan, the writer and creator of 1883 and Yellowstone, has brought a ton of passion to the project and is revitalizing the western genre in a more realistic way. Elliott seems very on board with this.

“It all starts with the writing, and Taylor Sheridan is a brilliant writer. I think the western genre speaks clearly to both of us. The classic struggles of man against man, man against nature, and man against himself. It’s all there, in 1883, and I’m honored to be a part of it,” Elliot said in a statement when news broke he’d star in the series.

Sam Elliott stars alongside two major names: Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. McGraw and Hill will play Margaret and James Dutton. All three stars are working on a project with a huge budget and a powerhouse creator ready to make the whole experience as authentic as possible.

From a small role on a drama in the 60s to being an academy award nominee starring in a highly anticipated western series, Sam Elliott has certainly come a long way.