The first season of Yellowstone origin story 1883 has come to an end. It follows the Dutton family as they embark on a journey West through the Great Plains toward the last bastion of untamed America. However, the show’s storylines go much deeper than telling the story of the Dutton family.
The season had an all-star cast, including Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Sam Elliott, Billy Bob Thornton, and LaMonica Garrett. Even big-screen stars Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson made cameos. With the impressive cast of characters in 1883, there are many dynamics at play. This includes the relationship between Sam Elliot’s Shea Brennan, the captain of the wagon convoy, and Tim McGraw’s James Dutton, who is headed West with his family.
While Tim McGraw and Sam Elliott are core to the storyline of the prequel, the dynamic between the two cowboys becomes clear in the third episode of the season, “River”.
In the episode, James Dutton and Shea Brennan find themselves at odds as the caravan approaches a river. Brennan insists the group head East, but Dutton is determined the group head Westward. Brennan’s reasoning is to head along the river to wait for a better, less dangerous crossing point. However, James doesn’t want to add extra time to the journey. The winter weather is on its way, and the faster the group can continue heading West, the better.
“Shea and James just have different ways of looking at it,” says Sam Elliott. “James doesn’t care about anyone else but his family, and I don’t think that’s the case with Shea. I think he cares equally about everybody.”
Shea and James may regularly be butting heads in their journey West. Both are leaders, no doubt. However, Tim McGraw is quick to point out that the disagreements the men face are in no way a sign of disrespect.
“[As] Shea and James, we were in arguments all the time early on,” he explains of the two men’s dynamic. “But even in the contentiousness, there wasn’t a lack of respect. I think it was about who was just gonna lead.”