yellowstone 1883

Following the sweeping success of Yellowstone, the hit show’s prequel series was released on Paramount+.

1883 dove into the history of the Duttons and how they came to own the ranching land in Montana. Much of the limited series’ success is largely due to the lively makeup of the 1883 cast. 

Quickly proving to be just as profitable as its predecessor, 1883 and its cast shattered the streaming services records, becoming Paramount’s most streamed original show ever.

Likewise, its 6.4 million viewers were logged watching the show between the streaming service and its cable TV premiere, making the show the biggest cable premiere in nearly a decade.

A star-studded lineup helped throttle that success despite the fact that Yellowstone had already built up a large following. Many might have feared that its streaming exclusivity would hinder its chances.

But the lucrative 1883 cast was unstoppable; let’s take a look at how they escalated the limited series into just as powerful of a story as the original one.


Tim McGraw as James Dutton

1883 cast

Tim McGraw is best known as one of the county music scenes’ most celebrated singers and songwriters. But when he’s not wooing fans with his melodic twang, he has been known to make an appearance on the big screen. Before joining the 1883 cast, he was cast roles in popular films like Friday Night Lights, Flicka, and The Blind Side

In 1883, he plays the patriarch of the Dutton clan, James Dutton. He would be Yellowstone’s main character’s great-grandfather. Before setting off on his caravan trek, he served as a captain in the Confederate Army.

In making the decision to travel out west, the 1883 cast lead wishes to find new hope and leave a life of poverty and suffering behind. He is joined by his wife and two children.

A natural leader, he often finds himself quarreling with the caravan’s leaders over how to handle troubling situations along the road.

Faith Hill as Margaret Dutton

Tim McGraw wasn’t the only country star to make up the 1883 cast. Accomplished artist Faith Hill joined the crew as the matriarch of the Dutton family.

Working with McGraw was nothing new, as she has previously written songs with him, and also happens to be his real-life spouse of more than 25 years.

Hill plays Margaret Dutton, John’s wife. She travels from Tennessee to Fort Worth, Texas to start the caravan journey with her husband. She brings with her a sister-in-law, niece, and two children. 

Much like her husband, Margaret also hopes to start anew. As a lead in this 1883 cast, she also wishes to escape the horrors of the Civil War. Like John, she served her role as a nurse attending to wounded soldiers. 

Isabel May as Elsa Dutton

1883 cast

21-year-old Isabel May joined the 1883 cast, marking the role as her biggest yet. Previously, the starlet played parts in the Netflix series Alexa & Katie.  Additionally, she has a recurring role in Young Sheldon

As Elsa Dutton, May plays the Duttons’ 17-year-old daughter. She also narrates the limited series, as it’s told in her voice. From her perspective, the story follows this young heroine, delighted to start a new adventure. 

As a breakout within the 1883 cast, Elsa is curious – almost too much so for her own good. Throughout the expedition, she meets all kinds of people, whom she often grows infatuated with. But overall, the journey strengthens her young, innocent mind. 


Sam Elliott as Shea Brennan

1883 cast

Arguably the most anticipated 1883 cast member, Sam Elliott joined the cast with a tenured career in the genre. The actor is well-known for his Western roles in films like Tombstone and The Quick and the Dead. He was perfectly cast for the role.

Elliott joins the 1883 cast as Shea Brennan, the leader of the expedition to Oregon. Brennan is also believed to be escaping his past, as the former Civil War captain lost his wife and daughter to smallpox just before the journey.

As the onerous leader of the caravan, he tells the members like it is, preparing them for the perils they will face along the trek.

LaMonica Garrett as Thomas 

1883 cast
Pictured: LaMonica Garrett as Thomas of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2022 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.

LaMonica Garrett joined the 1883 cast with plenty of experience in television. He played the role of a Deputy sheriff for three seasons on the hit show Sons of Anarchy. Additionally, he played a supervillain role as Anti-Monitor throughout multiple shows in the Arrowverse

In continuing his TV presence with the 1883 cast, Garrett plays a character known only as Thomas. A Pinkerton agent and army sergeant, he serves as She Brennan’s right-hand man on the caravan.

Throughout the journey, he doesn’t just serve to help on the trek, but he also aids Brennan through troubling times, keeping him from taking his own life at times. 


Part of the anticipation leading up to each and every episode of the prequel series was the addition of big-name superstars. Possibly the biggest guest, Tom Hanks, made an appearance alongside the 1883 cast with his wife, Rita Wilson. Hanks played a general in a flashback, while Wilson played a storekeeper.

Other familiar faces showed up to aid the 1883 cast. Billy Bob Thornton, an Academy Award nominee for Best Actor who has played a plethora of pivotal roles in Hollywood films, may be just as famous for his electric personality as he is for his acting. In the 1883 cast, Thornton plays real-life Marshal Jim Courtright. 


While the future of the Yellowstone franchise is a bit up in the air with Kevin Costner exiting the main series, fans were at least treated to some more of the history with the Dutton clan.

That was in the form of 1923, which starred Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren as Jacob and Cara Dutton. The series premiered in 2022 and in 2023 was renewed for another run of episodes.

It had historical context with the Great Depression as well as Prohibition while receiving considerable critical acclaim.

The series and franchise’s commitment to not pulling any relative punches with its story has made it a fan-favorite, and this series definitely delivered.

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