‘1883’ Star LaMonica Garrett Opens Up About Playing a Cowboy in the New Western

by Liz Holland

According to “1883” star LaMonica Garrett, his role is a tough one–but he likes it that way. Widely known for his work in the Arrowverse, Garrett is broadening his horizons with his role in a new western. The actor takes on the role in “1883” of the rare black cowboy whose storyline doesn’t revolve around racial tension. The show is still in the beginning of it’s life so we don’t know a ton about Garrett’s character yet. However, we can’t wait to get to know him. 

Garrett’s character Thomas is along for the cross-country journey “1883” is all about. He’s badass, intelligent, and ready to handle whatever comes his way. In a Cinemablend interview, the actor explains the importance of featuring in a western that handles race differently than expected. Garrett says,  “Yeah, it’s significant because we weren’t around if you let Hollywood tell it.” 

Approaching Tension In a Refreshing Way

The performer continues, “In different television shows and films, like, Black cowboys weren’t around, but they were. One in every four cowboys was a Black cowboy, and they’re stories that need to be told. And the one thing I loved about these scripts and Taylor’s writing for this Black cowboy, slavery was never mentioned. You know, the N-bomb was never dropped. It was just, what you think a Black cowboy would have to go through in this era, he was just a cowboy. And that’s what these Black cowboys were back then. They were just cowboys, but they had stories. We just don’t know those stories.”

Garrett certainly brings up a good point. We often see storylines for people of color (POC)  characters that take place during this time period heavily revolving around race and racism. It’s as if that’s their character’s main draw, and they hardly touch on what life was like day to day. Hollywood undoubtedly sensationalizes historical events. So, it seems Garrett is refreshed to break away from cliches that come with a POC western-era character.

‘1883’ Star Says These Stories Need To Be Told

Garrett also points out that the show’s writer knows how important it is to normalize the experiences of black cowboys. The actor continues,  “And every once in a while throughout the series, Thomas might reference his past, but he doesn’t lean into it. It’s not a woe is me thing. He’s just a cowboy with a story being told, just like millions of others. And, you know, I hope [for more like it]. They’re starting to be shown more now – The Harder They Fall came out. There are movies and projects featuring Black cowboys. Bass Reeves, I heard they’re going to do a show about that. So hopefully it’s the beginning of it. At the end of the day, they’re all cowboys, and these cowboys just happened to be Black, but they did have stories, and they need to be told.”

You can watch “1883” on Paramount+.