'1883' star Sam Elliott explains his love of Westerns

Sam Elliott discussed his Paramount+ series "1883" and his love of Westerns on "Today." File Photo by James Atoa/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/3550ea4b07b4b577f3cc27cbea3f1f89/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Sam Elliott discussed his Paramount+ series "1883" and his love of Westerns on "Today." File Photo by James Atoa/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 23 (UPI) -- 1883 star Sam Elliott is opening up about his love of Westerns.

The 77-year-old actor discussed his love for the genre during Tuesday's episode of Today.


Elliott plays Shea Brennan on the Paramount+ series 1883, a prequel to the Paramount Network series Yellowstone. 1883 explores how an earlier generation of the Dutton family established their ranch in Montana.

Elliott is also known for starring in the films The Quick and the Dead and Tombstone and the series Justified and The Ranch.

On Today, Elliott said the "simplicity" of Westerns speaks to him, along with the "classic" struggles his characters face.

"I think on some level, it's the simplicity of that form. Things are pretty black and white in Westerns -- at least they always have been for me -- there's not a lot of grey area," Elliott said.

"It's a classic struggle on some level ... it's man against man, it's man against himself, and man against nature," he added. "I just think that those three struggles have spoke to me since I was a little kid and fascinated me. I think they make for great entertainment."


Elliott's Shea and the other characters face many challenges in 1883, including the hardships of traveling the Great Plains and life on the frontier.

"Things weren't that easy on the Oregon trail," Elliott said. "I know for the fact that I'm not tough enough."

1883 premiered in December and will conclude its first season Sunday. The series is created by Taylor Sheridan and also stars Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Isabel May, LaMonica Garrett and Marc Rissmann.

Paramount+ renewed 1883 and ordered a second Yellowstone spinoff, 1932, last week.

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