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Where You've Seen The Cast Of 1883 Before

Fans are all in for "1883," the period western adventure spinoff of the hit Paramount Network primetime epic "Yellowstone" starring Kevin Costner. Things have gotten off to a strong start for the new series, as "1883" has assembled a team of big-name movie stars of its own, with a cast that may outdo its parent series' already impressive star power. From Hollywood vets to fresh new faces, including western movie icons to musicians turned actors, the roster of talent assembled by creator Taylor Sheridan for "1883" is formidable, to say the least.

The premiere of gritty western set viewership records for the Paramount+ streaming service, assisted mainly by the strength of its cast. However, since the show features a roster of actors who have incredibly diverse careers, or maybe just a handful of credits to their names, you may be watching and wondering where you've seen these faces before. Beyond that, some stars are unrecognizable as they are buried under the grit and grime of the 1880s rough riding frontier, while others are the journeymen character actors who you may have only seen in small supporting roles on other shows. 

So who exactly are the actors that critics like Variety are applauding? Scroll on to find out where you've seen the cast of "1883" before.

Sam Elliott as Shea Brennan

Sam Elliott's career is a long one, and if you're a fan of pretty much any genre, you're likely to have seen him around, as he has experience in comedies, dramas, and even family movies. The actor is no stranger to playing western heroes like Shea Brennan, an old cowboy haunted by the recent death of his family to smallpox who helps guide a wagon train of German settlers north to start a new life.

Elliott got his start playing minor roles in the '60s and the '70 in cowboy classics like "The Way West" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." He enjoyed a steady career and eventually established himself as a leading man in westerns like "The Quick and the Dead," "Gettysburg," and "Tombstone," where he played Virgil Earp, brother to legendary gunslinger Wyatt. The latter was released shortly after the film "Wyatt Earp," starring "Yellowstone" star Kevin Costner, and proved the financial winner, as Elliott remembered while speaking with Entertainment Weekly.

Of course, he was also well known for playing unique supporting parts in movies like "The Big Lebowski," where his experience as a cowboy served him well when he played a mysterious stranger who narrates the film. He also appeared in key roles in a pair of early Marvel superhero movies, as well. In "Ghost Rider," he plays the titular hero's predecessor, a demonic cowboy on a flaming horse, while in "The Hulk," he played General Ross, a role he would eventually hand over to William Hurt. 

Tim McGraw as James Dutton

If you hadn't paid attention to the press before the premiere of "1883," you might not recognize the actor playing James Dutton at all, even though he's arguably the biggest name on the series. Played by superstar country crooner Tim McGraw, the singer and part-time thespian donned a scruffy beard and dirty hat to play the original patriarch of the Dutton family heading north to found what will eventually become the Dutton ranch.

McGraw was already a hit country singer when he made his acting debut in an episode of "The Jeff Foxworthy Show" in 1997, and over the two decades that followed he appeared in movies like "Flicka," "Friday Night Lights," and "Tomorrowland." However, if you recognize him, it's almost certainly from his musical career, where the three-time Grammy award-winner has become a superstar with singles like "It's Your Love," "Just to See You Smile," and "Live Like You Were Dying." He's also the husband of fellow country sensation singer Faith Hill, his "1883" co-star playing his on-screen wife.

As series creator Taylor Sheridan explained to Deadline, McGraw first played James Dutton in a flashback sequence in an early fourth season episode of "Yellowstone," which led to Paramount immediately asking for a spin-off based around McGraw's character. "1883" marks McGraw's first significant acting role on a series, and he leads "1883" with a cool swagger.

Faith Hill as Margaret Dutton

Country singer and occasional actress Faith Hill has had an even shorter Hollywood career than her husband Tim McGraw but is every bit as talented in front of the camera as she is behind a microphone. Her first major Hollywood appearance came in the 2004 Nicole Kidman thriller "The Stepford Wives," while she'd have a bigger role in the 2017 film "Dixeland" before she joined the cast of "1883."

Like her husband, Faith Hill is far better known for her singing career. Regardless of whether you're a fan of country music or not, you're likely to recognize some of her many hits, which include the 1998 country single "This Kiss," which had crossover success as a mainstream chart topper, or the 1999 single "Breathe." She also contributes memorable songs to movie soundtracks like Michael Bay's "Pearl Harbor," the 2000 holiday feature "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and the Disney animated classic "Lilo & Stitch." In 2007 she became the voice of NBC's "Sunday Night Football" theme and sang the national anthem at the 2009 Super Bowl. The Los Angeles Times notes that she even performed at the Obama White House in 2010 and at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony for ABBA that same year.

After nearly a decade off from recording, she released "The Rest of Your Life" in 2017, an album made with her husband Tim McGraw.

Isabel May as Elsa Dutton

Actress Isabel May was not much older than the 17-year-old Elsa Dutton when she landed the part in "1883". According to an interview with Town & Country, she was promised a role by series creator Taylor Sheridan after being turned down for a part on another series, and never expected it to come so soon after her rejection. However, the part of Elsa would find her when the "Yellowstone" spin-off was cast, which gave her the central role of the narrator, as well. 

If you recognize May, you probably know her from just one or two roles, as she does not have a long Hollywood career, her first part only coming in 2018. However, since appearing as a background character in the indie drama "Age of Summer" the actress has had key parts in several high-profile series.

Audiences may recognize Isabel May from her recurring role on "Young Sheldon" as Veronica Duncan, the on-again, off-again love interest of Sheldon's older brother Georgie. As that role wound down, she began starring in the Netflix original series "Alexa & Katie" in the title role of Katie Cooper. The streaming teen drama series followed May as the best friend of a young girl diagnosed with cancer. Following her casting in "1883," the actress has secured roles in several movies, including the Netflix romantic comedy "I Want You Back" and a teen comedy called "The Moon & Back."

LaMonica Garrett as Agent Thomas

Actor LaMonica Garrett may be best known to comic book fans for his role as the Anti-Monitor, a cosmic DC Comics villain who made appearances across five different connecting superhero shows on The CW. Garret, as The Anti-Monitor, would feature in "The Flash," "Supergirl," "Arrow," "DC's Legends Of Tomorrow," and "Batwoman," during the epic crossover event "Crisis On Infinite Earths." In "1883," he plays Thomas, an agent with the Pinkerton Detective Agency, a real-life private security group with a complicated history. In the series, Thomas is brought in when a group of German settlers, which includes the Duttons, needs help making their way north on a wagon train.

Garrett's biggest role before the new Paramount+ western spin-off was as Mike Ritter, the Secret Service agent responsible for Kiefer Sutherland's President Tom Kirkman in the first two seasons of the drama "Designated Survivor." Beginning with some guest appearances on shows like "NCIS," "Suits," and "CSI: Miami" he found a regular recurring role in "Sons of Anarchy" as Deputy Sheriff Cane. He also appears as Adonis in the Hulu series "The Hotwives of Las Vegas," a satirical send-up of soap opera reality shows. Just before taking on the role of Thomas in "1883" he appeared in an episode of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and had a recurring part in the Oprah Winfrey Network drama "Delilah."

He also appears as Commander Bill Cox in the Amazon original drama "The Terminal List" alongside Chris Pratt, Taylor Kitsch, and Constance Wu, about a Navy Seal who struggles with his return home after a covert mission gone wrong.

Billy Bob Thornton as Marshal Courtwright

Based on a real-life historical figure, the character of U.S. Marshal Jim Courtright is played by Hollywood legend Billy Bob Thornton, a man whose Hollywood career is too long and varied to list in detail. His well-known roles are many, and though his only Oscar is for his work as a writer with his award for best adapted screenplay, he's received his share of recognition for his work in front of the camera too. 

Until recently, however, he may have been best known for his role as Karl Childers in the 1996 drama "Sling Blade" — the same film he received his Oscar for writing — or even for his short-lived relationship with Angelina Jolie. However, a string of high profile prestige TV roles have made him famous with a whole new generation, beginning with his role as serial killer and sociopath Lorne Malvo in the 2014 television spin-off of "Fargo."

From there, Thornton took the lead role in the Amazon original series "Goliath," a legal drama where he played Billy McBride, a downtrodden lawyer looking to resurrect his career. You may also recognize Thornton as the titular "Bad Santa" in the 2003 film and its 2016 sequel, or his roles in movies like the remake of "Bad News Bears," the sports drama "Friday Night Lights" and the acclaimed "Monster's Ball." On television, he's had guest appearances on "The Big Bang Theory" and performed voice work on "American Dad!," "King of the Hill," and "CatDog," where he played the title character's father.

Eric Nelsen as Ennis

As Ennis, one of the reluctant ranch hands who helps Shea, Thomas, and James herd cattle before ultimately deciding to stay with the wagon train, actor Eric Nelsen is set up for a significant role on one of streaming television's most talked-about new dramas. It could wind up being a career-making performance for the actor, who's mostly made a name for himself as a guest star on shows like "NCIS," "The Blacklist," "The Following," and "Blue Bloods." 

Nelsen may be most recognized, however, from when he made regular appearances in the popular soap opera "All My Children" in 2013. There, he played the character of AJ Chandler across more than 40 episodes. He has also had recurring roles in web series that include "The Bay" and "FraXtur," but "1883" will be his first time appearing in the main cast of a major network series, even if it is a streaming original.

James Landry Hébert as Wade

James Landry Hébert is no stranger to westerns, though it's been a while for him since he suited up in a cowboy hat. In 2012 he appeared in an episode of neo-western "Longmire" and had a three-episode stint a year later as a cowboy in the artificial wild west theme park of "Westworld." He recently starred in "Not So Wild West" and "Sunset Cowboys," where he played a Hollywood cowboy stuntman.

Fans of "Stranger Things" may recognize Hébert as the character of Axel from the series' second season, the mohawked member of the gang that Eleven hides out with while in Pittsburgh. He later appeared in "Taken," the television adaptation of the popular Liam Neeson-led film series, where he got his first shot as a member of a series' main cast, playing Rem, a member of the OPCON team.

Crime drama fans may recall his part as Miles Hewitt in the Frank Darabont event series "Mob City," which also starred Jon Bernthal of "The Walking Dead" and Neal McDonough of "Yellowstone." Other memorable parts for Hébert include former Soviet officer Sasha Demidov in Marvel's "Agent Carter" and a small role as Clem in Quentin Tarantino's 2019 film "Once Upon A Time in Hollywood."

Marc Rissman as Josef

The leader of the group of German settlers in "1883" is Josef, and he's well cast. Josef is played by German actor Marc Rissmann, who got his start in a string of German films. However, audiences stateside should know him well from his small but important role in the HBO fantasy series "Game of Thrones," where he played Harry Strickland, head of House Strickland. He appears in the Battle of King's Landing, where he clashes directly with Jon Snow, Davos, Tyrion, and their armies, although he is quickly dispatched by Grey Worm, who arrives under the command of Daenerys. 

Audiences may also recognize Rissmann as Wilhelm Goertzmann from "The Man In The High Castle," leader of the Greater Nazi Reich after he overthrows Heinrich Himmler. However, it may have been Rissmann's role in the film "Overlord" that secured him the part as Goertzmann, as he played the part of Scherzer, a twisted Nazi officer operating in occupied France. You'll be forgiven for not recognizing Rissman from these roles, though, as his part in "1883" as Josef disguises him under a large beard and long hair, a far cry from the clean-shaven look he's sported in "Game of Thrones" and elsewhere.

Dawn Olivieri as Claire Dutton

Playing Claire Dutton, sister to protagonist James, Dawn Olivieri appears in a new kind of role for her. Claire is prim and proper, not used to the rough living of a woman on the western frontier, and displeased by the boorish behavior of her brother and his new family, let along the German settlers who know little of American living. 

Previous parts for the actress include her stint on "House of Lies" as Monica Talbot, the career-minded consultant and sexually aggressive ex-wife to "Iron Man" star Don Cheadle. Speaking of superheroes, Olivieri once voiced Iron Man's girlfriend, Pepper Potts, in the animated series "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes," and had a recurring part in a "Heroes" webisode series in 2009. She's also played several law enforcement roles in shows like "Lucifer," "Secrets and Lies," and "Rosewood." In 2017 she appeared in the CBS drama "SEAL Team" alongside David Boreanaz as Amy Nelson, a private security specialist working out of Afghanistan in the series' first season.

 Just before "1883" she had a recurring role in the miniseries "The Hot Zone: Anthrax," a scripted drama on National Geographic that starred Daniel Dae Kim, Tony Goldwyn, and Dylan Baker. Though her "1883" character doesn't last beyond the first pair of premiere episodes, Claire Dutton was the unforgettable type of character that audiences love to hate, and it would be a shame if that were the last we saw of her. A show that's already seen a handful of flashbacks surely could make room for Olivieri to reappear as James' uptight sister.

Audie Rick as John Dutton

Not much is known of little Audie Rick, the newcomer to Hollywood who has taken on the role of the first John Dutton, the great-grandfather to "Yellowstone" patriarch and namesake to the character played by Kevin Costner. With the only earlier part to his credit on IMDb being a "Star Wars" fan film that saw him play a young Luke Skywalker, "1883" seems to mark his professional acting debut. Whatever the case, the child actor now appears on one of the biggest new streaming releases of the year. Should the "Yellowstone" prequel series run for more than a few seasons, fans may get to see Rick, and his character John Dutton, grow up on screen.

We know that the first John Dutton is an essential part of the Dutton family tree. We've already seen another actor play him during his teenage years in a flashback sequence in the fourth season of "Yellowstone," and we've also seen his son nearer to the end of his life on the family ranch too. Should Rick continue in the role of John, the part he plays will likely only increase, and we may see him become more of an important figure, much like Kaycee's son Tate in the show's parent series.