1883′s LaMonica Garrett and Eric Nelsen Prep New Viewers for Yellowstone Prequel’s Paramount Network Run

If you missed out on Yellowstone‘s prequel 1883 when it debuted on Paramount+ in 2021, good news: The wagon train is coming ’round again, this time on your TV.

Taylor Sheridan’s Oregon Trail-set period drama is getting an encore on Paramount Network, starting with a two-episode premiere on Sunday at 8/7c. (One new episode will follow weekly.) The hour-long series stars country singers/actors/real-life married couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill as James and Margaret Dutton, aka the first members of Yellowstone‘s central family to put down roots in Montana.

The adventures — and tragedies — that the Duttons encounter along the way make up the bulk of 1883‘s 10 episodes. (On that note: When Sheridan eventually confirmed that the spinoff wouldn’t go beyond a single season, viewers were not happy.)

Ahead of the series’ Paramount Network launch, we chatted with two members of the Duttons’ western expedition: LaMonica Garrett (Arrow), who plays former slave/current Pinkerton detective Thomas, and Eric Nelsen (The Bay), who plays charming cowboy Ennis. Read on for their (mostly) spoiler-free thoughts on the very popular show’s run.

TVLINE | Did you guys know 1883 was a one-season deal when you started making it? Because that was a shock to the rest of us.

LAMONICA GARRETT | We did. We knew going into it. My reps told me it was a 10-episode, kind of one-off thing. I think some of the confusion came, or you know, when you catch lightning in a bottle, I don’t know if they knew it was going to be as big of a hit or it resonated with as many people as it did. And then they’re like, how can we keep this going? And Taylor’s like, “This is the story. It stops here, and we move on to the next.” And I think that’s a good place, too: You leave people wanting more and leave on a high note. Like for the actors, we wish we can get a second season, but story-wise, it hits home.

ERIC NELSEN | I didn’t initially [know]. When I got the appointment for the audition, I had no idea, And then I ended up getting the job, lost my mind [Laughs] and then found out it was only one season… You know, you read such an incredible script, you’re like, “Man, it’s got to keep going.” But Taylor was very calculated in how he saw this whole thing happening, and he knew from Day 1. So it is what it is. But it would be nice to have seen it go on longer.

TVLINE | Let’s talk about Ennis’ love story with Elsa Dutton for a moment. It sort of floats over the violence and terribleness of life on the trail for a while. Talk to me about playing that flirtation with Isabel May, who plays Elsa. Was a lot of rehearsal involved?

NELSEN | Luckily, we had the time before. We had cowboy camp, which was basically us all living together for a few weeks, training all day long every day to prep for the show. And so we had all of that time to build chemistry, and we didn’t even really need to build any. It was from Day 1. She’s the most lovable, sweet, giving human being I’ve ever worked with in this capacity, and so it was seamless, and it was so much fun. We were always laughing. You know, doing such an intense piece like 1883, to find those moments of levity and to really bring each other up throughout the process was something we really focused on. So I was leaning on her, she was leaning on me, and it just it made for an incredible dynamic on set.


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TVLINE | LaMonica, I want to talk about my favorite platonic couple in the show: Shea and Thomas. We just don’t see friendships like that in this genre. I know you’ve said you instantly got along with Sam Elliott [who plays fellow Pinkerton agent Shea Brennan]. Do you remember the first thing he said to you?

GARRETT | We met during cowboy camp. It was at the shooting range, and I didn’t want to approach him. [Laughs] Like, how are we going to do this? And he kind of looked at me with that wry look, and I’m like, “He’s staring at me. OK. This is about to happen.” And he came over to me and he gave me a hug, and we just hit it off from the absolute beginning and just built on the relationship.

… From that point out, we built on it. But like you said, we haven’t seen that in the genre, especially the time period — the race involved, who these people were, the Civil War. The genre is a gruff, hard [place]. You don’t see a tenderness between people like this, like a brotherhood, you know? They held each other accountable and they were loyal to each other, and they were all each other had, especially after Shea’s family, what happened in the opening scene, Thomas and Shea just grew closer from that, and then I think it resonated.

Are you planning to watch — or rewatch — 1883 on Paramount Network? Hit the comments, and let us know!