The Paramount+ series will be a prequel to the enormously popular Yellowstone.
The Yellowstone universe is expanding — with the help of some high-octane star power.
Paramount+, the streaming service from ViacomCBS, and MTV Entertainment Studios, announced Wednesday that country music power couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will be joining Academy Award nominee and C&I reader favorite Sam Elliott to headline 1883 — an original series that will serve as a prequel to the enormously popular Yellowstone starring Kevin Costner as rancher John Dutton.
According to Paramount+: “1883 follows the Dutton family as they embark on a journey west through the Great Plains toward the last bastion of untamed America. It is a stark retelling of Western expansion, and an intense study of one family fleeing poverty to seek a better future in America’s promised land — Montana.”
Elliott will play Shea Brennan, a hard-bitten cowboy with sadness in his past, and little patience for suffering fools. He shoulders the challenge of guiding a group that includes James (McGraw) and Margaret Dutton (Hill) from Texas to Montana. It’s a role that should fit Elliott like a glove, considering his experience playing a similar character in The Quick and the Dead, a 1987 HBO-produced western (based on Louis L’Amour’s novel of the same title) in which he memorably warned a pioneer couple coping with outlaws: “If you gotta shoot, shoot to kill. Wounds won’t impress ‘em — they’ve all been shot before.”
The prolific and prodigious Taylor Sheridan is billed as creator of 1883, which was a major selling point for Elliott. “It all starts with the writing,” he said, “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.”
McGraw, whose previous acting credits include The Blind Side and Friday Night Lights, and Hill, last seen on screen in the indie drama Dixieland, echoed Elliott’s words of praise while discussing their involvement with 1883.
“This is truly a dream job,” said McGraw. “Taylor has found a way of storytelling that brilliantly creates these epic dramas and family sagas with so much depth and creativity. The Duttons are tremendous characters and it’s so thrilling to be able to bring them to life. As a kid growing up riding horses, you think about dream jobs like this and I am just so excited to work with this amazing cast and crew.”
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Hill agreed. “The Duttons are a formidable family and it is an absolute dream to bring such a strong female character like Margaret Dutton to life. I am humbled and honored to work with Taylor and his entire team.”
1883 is expected to start production later this year. And as for Yellowstone: According the entertainment website Deadline.com., it will kick off Season 4 in November on the Paramount Network.
“Yellowstone is a massive hit show with tens of millions of fans,” said Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of the MTV Entertainemnt Group. “With 1883, we are taking those fans back to the origin story, and in the process, turning the Yellowstone world into a global hit franchise to fuel the growth of Paramount+. We are thrilled to have Sam, Tim and Faith as the stars of Taylor Sheridan’s new series exclusively for Paramount+ around the world.”