LaMonica Garrett on Thomas in 1883, working with Sam Elliott, and recreating the wild west

by W. Andrew Powell

Taylor Sheridan’s 1883 is the prequel to Yellowstone that follows the Dutton family as they moved out west, and the harsh reality of that journey through the Great Plains.

LaMonica Garrett stars in the series as Thomas, a Pinkerton Agent who teams up with Shea Brennan, played by Sam Elliott, to guide the group of travellers across the Oregon Trail.

Garrett had a lot of praise for the epic Western series, especially his time working alongside Elliott.

“Sam is like… there’s not enough words to describe [him],” Garrett said, “but knowing that you’re about to work with a Hollywood icon, you get those nerves and those butterflies, like, ‘okay, I got to bring it.'”

“When I first met him, it was on the gun range during cowboy camp, and he came over and embraced me and all the nerves that I had going into it left right there on the grass in that field”.

“And we were inseparable in front of the camera and we were inseparable behind the camera for the duration. Even still, we still talk and hang out long after we wrapped up and moved on. So it’s yeah, it’s a brotherhood from here on out.”

Filming also felt incredibly authentic thanks to Sheridan’s plan to really immerse the cast in the environment of the series.

“Taylor did a great job with that, and these ranches; every couple of weeks we would pick up and move to a different location, whether it’s Texas or Montana or Oregon. But these locations, we didn’t have cell phone service, really. We didn’t have cable TV. We didn’t have a lot of the rooms, and we weren’t staying in these five star hotels. We were staying on ranches… so we were just in it.”

“It’s hard not to feel a part of it when you’re on these ranches, you’re waking up hearing horses communicate right outside your window every morning, and then you get on your horse and work six days a week.”

“So we didn’t really have a lot of days off. The moment I knew it was special was right from reading the scripts and all the people that were going to be a part of it. But there was an episode, I think it was the first episode we were shooting, me and Sam were sitting on our horses and we were looking at the 26 wagon train that was right in front of us.”

“And Sam said he’s never seen this in his career and he probably we never will again, and this guy has been acting longer than I’ve been on this earth [so] for him to say that, it really set the tone and the magnitude of how big this thing is going to be.”

1883 is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and it’s available to stream on Paramount+. Watch the full interview above to hear more about making the series, Thomas’ fateful story, and Garrett’s hope that the character may show up, even briefly, in a sequel.

Photo: Emerson Miller/Paramount+

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