‘Yellowstone’ Creator Taylor Sheridan Never Mentioned ‘1883’ Spinoff To Tim McGraw

by Liz Holland
(Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images for Wynn Las Vegas)

Tim McGraw is a longtime “Yellowstone” fan. So, when he got the call from the show’s creator, Taylor Sheridan about getting involved with the show via a flashback scene, McGraw was all ears. However, he had no idea it would turn into a spinoff series of its own. 

During an interview with Deadline McGraw details how it all began, and how “1883”– the new prequel series for “Yellowstone”– came to be. 

McGraw says, “I always thought I’d love to do a Western, if something good ever came along. “The way it worked with Taylor was, my agent said Taylor wants your number. Yes, give it to him. He asked if I was a fan of Yellowstone, and I said of course I was. He asked if I would like to be on the show.”

Tim McGraw Had No Idea About ‘1883’

McGraw explains that he was on board, but only if it wasn’t a blow-off role or something boring and seemingly insignificant. He didn’t want to play a “singing cowboy” who gets taken to the train station (*cough*, Walker). Sheridan told him to wait because he had an idea. Soon enough, McGraw got another phone call from Sheridan. McGraw explains, “…he called me back, and he told me the idea that he had, to do a flashback scene with me as the original Dutton who founded the Yellowstone Ranch. And I thought, now, that’s interesting. I really like that. And that is how the whole ball started rolling.”

According to McGraw, no mention was made of James Dutton’s potential to bear a spinoff. 

Creator Taylor Sheridan Weighs In

“I didn’t know if he knew then or not, but he didn’t tell me he knew that,” McGraw explains. “But knowing Taylor, I’m sure he had that idea cooking in the back of his head. So we shot the flashback scenes, and a couple months later, I got a call from him. He says, you know, dude, I just showed these scenes to the studio, and they want to do a prequel of all of this, if you’re interested in it. I’m like, well, yeah, I’m interested. And then he started sending the scripts, and I was just blown away. This is one of the best things I’d ever read. Faith and I, we both kind of became obsessed with them. And then Sam got involved.”

And Thus, “1883” was born. However, creator Taylor Sheridan remarks that his approach isn’t a typical one for TV. Sheridan tells Deadline, “I don’t know how to make a TV show. I don’t have any idea and don’t really care to learn… Don’t do pattern budgeting, or write act breaks into things. I write 10-hour movies, and go shoot them. I don’t have a writers room, I’ve written them all myself. It’s not for lack of effort, I’ve tried three times.”

It seems Sheridan’s approach to writing is doing wonders, as both cast and fans alike love Sheridan’s work. 

“1883” is available now on Paramount+.