Taylor Sheridan Discuses His Western Drama 1883 and Portraying That Era with an Accuracy We’ve Never Seen Before — GeekTyrant

By | December 21, 2022

Taylor Sheridan‘s Yellowstone prequel series 1883 is a western drama unlike anything that I’ve seen before. It portrayed the pioneer’s trek across America in an accurately brutal way. These people looking for a new life for themselves crossed the beautiful yet unforgiving landscape in wagons, and they faced all kinds of dangers and horrific hardships including disease, weather, bandits, and more.

When Sheridan developed this series, the reason why he wanted to go all the way back to 1883 was to show the story of pioneers like this in a way that has never been done before. He wanted to do it right and not in the same way that Hollywood has portrayed it over and over again throughout the years.

Taylor talked about this in an interview with the New York Times saying:

“The pioneers have never been portrayed accurately. Many of the pioneers came from Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Asia, and they hired guides to take them West. They didn’t speak the language. They’d never seen a horse. They’ d never held a gun. And they had no idea that this land actually belonged to another group of people.”

These pioneers were determined to make a new life for themselves and they were not prepared for what they faced when they started their journey, and it made it even harder for them when they couldn’t understand the instructions for survival that they were given! This is all explored in the series, and it’s heart-wrenching to see these stories play out.

With all of the things that these pioneers faced, all the other Hollywood movies would make you believe that Native Americans were the number one threat, but that wasn’t the case at all. There were several other things that were more of a danger to these Pioneers and Sheridan explained:

“Native Americans were not the greatest threat to the wagon trains. If you look at the leading cause of death along the trail, No. 1 one was falling off the wagon. No. 2 was disease. No. 3 was bandits. Native Americans were, like, sixth.”

The 1883 series put a focus on pioneers from Germany, and in a featurette for the series that shared on Instagram, Sheridan explained what inspired these people to sacrifice everything they had to come to America for a new life:

“Most people who went west saw ads in Croatia and in Poland and in Germany and answered those ads. America was unique in the fact that, wherever you were when you failed, you could simply move west to reinvent yourself. And reinvent your life. … They saved up all their money, sold everything they had, hired the equivalent of a nineteenth-century travel agent who booked them passage on the ship, and got them to a group that would take them on these wagons.”

My great great grandpa was in this group of people from Croatia. He traveled to America and ended up settling in a small coal town in Utah, named Helper, which was a melting pot of people from all over the world trying to find their American dream. He, like many other sacrificed everything, and Sheridan wanted to portray all of this as accurately as possible. He said:

“History is doomed to repeat itself because it’s never taught accurately. To be able to go back and look at a slice of time and study it accurately — it’s truth through fiction.”

If you haven’t watched 1883 yet, you need to! It’s such a wonderful series and one of the best of the year.

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