Sam Elliot blowing kisses to his fans in Granbury, TX.
Photo by Austin Miller

“I don’t care if you live or die. But should you live, you tell them about me…” booms the trailer for the Paramount TV show, 1883. The show began filming in Fort Worth, Texas on August 24th and will make its much anticipated debut on December, 19th 2021.

“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,” according to Paramount Network.

1883 is a prequel to the successful TV show, Yellowstone which stars Kevin Costner. Both shows were created by Taylor Sheridan, who also produces, directs and writes the pilots and many of the episodes.

More than a few truck loads of dirt have been added to the city streets of the historic Fort Worth Stockyards to transform it to a 19th century Texas town. The series features many big name stars such as the legendary Sam Elliot and country music singers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

Lights, Camera, Action! Granbury Square. Photo by Austin Miller Imagery

Elliot plays Shea Brennan, a cowboy who guides the Duttons from Texas to Montana. Hill and McGraw play John and Margaret Dutton. The series has also been filming in the Granbury town square. If you’ve been driving past Silverado Ranch located between Weatherford and Granbury, you may think the dozens of trailers parked around the arena is nothing out of the ordinary. Take a closer look and you may just spot a celebrity or two.

The production team is based at Silverado where rehearsals for the series have taken place. There have been a few Sam Elliot sightings in the area. Some people posted about their lucky encounters on the Weatherford Community Facebook group after spotting him around town.

Austin Miller, a local photographer, was able to see Elliot shooting a scene. He knew they were filming in Granbury so on his lunch break he headed out to see if he could catch a glimpse.

“As I shot hundreds of photos during these few minutes, the actors made their way back into the building. With all the excitement happening, I didn’t want to leave! I stuck around for a few more minutes to once again see the same two cowboy actors come out of the front of the building…

Stepping back into the 19th century. Photo by Austin Miller Imagery

“Realizing that they were reshooting the same scene, I got prepared for Mr. Elliott to make a second appearance. Then just as I suspected, a minute later, Mr. Elliot walked out and made his way to the street corner. The crowd once again clapped and cheered his name as he waved and kissed towards everyone.”

Stepping back into the 19th century. Photo by Toni Lewis

“My day, week, month or even year was made! I finally saw and photographed a man I’ve seen in so many classic western movies, right here in my town!” Miller said.

Paramount+ and MTV Entertainment Studios are developing the series together and will distribute and market the show. 101 Studios and Bosque Ranch Productions are production partners making the prequel. The show is currently under contract for five years. According to various sources, 1883 has a massive budget of $10 million per episode, surpassing Yellowstone’s budget of $3.5-$5 million per episode.

The production has been a big financial boon to the local communities of Fort Worth, Granbury and Weatherford. Many locals have been employed in the crew and even landed jobs as extras on the set.

Taylor Sheridan, who has become very involved in the cutting and cow horse industries, owns the Silverado ranch, near Weatherford where many cutting shows are held. He has been a big supporter of equine performance sports by sponsoring many cutting and reined cow horse shows and has even produced the new, Run For A Million reining event in Las Vegas, NV,

The cast preparing for the next scene at the Calhoun Hotel, Restaurant & Saloon. Photo by Austin Miller Imagery

which was held in August this year.

Sheridan also is part of a group of investors that recently purchased the historic 6666 Ranch.

“This legacy is so important to me I chose to highlight it in the upcoming season of Yellowstone and will continue to further the legacy and preserve its operations in a manner consistent with that great vision,” Sheridan said.

According to an article in Deadline, “Sheridan hustled to make a living as a working actor on series including Sons of Anarchy and Walker, Texas Ranger before he quit as he neared 40 and grew tired of seeing his name descend on the call sheet, realizing he might not be able to support his family on that paycheck. So he began writing screenplays, furiously, basically trying not to repeat the plotting mistakes and clichés he would see in the scripts he had acted in over the course of his career.”

Sheridan has a passion for preserving ranching and western heritage and culture.

The Stockyards with dirt roads. Photo by Toni Lewis

David Glasser, CEO of 101 Studios said, “Taylor Sheridan is a master at world-building and has a singular voice that makes him one of today’s standout creators making must-watch content. Our mission at 101 is to produce content that provokes culture conversations with renowned creators at the helm of our projects, and that is exactly what we envision for this collaboration…”