Tim McGraw Describes Playing Cowboy on the Set of ‘1883’

"It's every kids dream to play a role like this."

Written by Chris Parton
Tim McGraw Describes Playing Cowboy on the Set of ‘1883’
Tim McGraw; Photo credit: Robby Klein

Tim McGraw stars as the man who made the Yellowstone ranch possible in the gritty new Western series, 1883, and earlier this week (December 14) the country star checked in from the set.

Chatting with the CBS Mornings crew of Gayle King, Tony Dokoupil and Nate Burleson, McGraw describes returning to acting for the highly-anticipated action drama, which serves as the origin story of Kevin Costner’s popular Yellowstone and will premiere on Paramount+ this Sunday, December 19.

Chatting from a filming location in Guthrie, Texas, and still sporting the thick black beard he wears in the show, McGraw opened up about what it’s like to play James Dutton — a tough-as-nails family man taking his wife and daughter into the untamed American frontier in search of a home.

“It’s a dream,” McGraw says proudly, wearing a dusty cowboy hat and ranch jacket. “I grew up in Louisiana riding horses my whole life. I’ve gotten way from it for a while, but it was fun to get back into it and get back on a horse, and we’ve done some pretty crazy things on horses.

“It’s every kids dream to play a role like this,” he goes on. “To be out on a horses and shooting bad guys, it’s been quite an adventure.”

During the interview, McGraw also shared a preview of the show. Along with his wife, Faith Hill, who co-stars in 1883 as James’ wife, Margaret Dutton, the scene takes place in a hotel room just before the family heads out on their journey north. McGraw explains that it took time to separate real life from the job.

“It took a bit to see Margaret and not Faith,” he admits. “It was interesting to do that scene together because we felt like we were giving up a little part of our life, but once we realized that we were in character and sort of fell into character, speaking our lines, it became pretty natural as Margaret and James.”

Later, the country superstar also explains how he brings a little levity to the set of a super-intense show, and offers husbands a little advice:

“Say ‘yes ma’am’ a lot,” he says with smile.

1883 premieres on Paramount+ this Sunday, December 19.