According to Sheridan, getting his actors cowboy ready is a non-negotiable:
“I don’t rehearse with my actors; there’s no way for me to inform them what this way of life is. You just have to do it.”
He’s got that right. There is no way to prepare or portray the realities of ranching unless you get out to a farm and experience the work yourself.
In a behind-the-scenes video, the cast of 1883 gives their stories about what Cowboy Camp really is.
“The purpose of cowboy camp is to get actors comfortable enough on the horses that they weren’t nervous when riding.
The better I can make them as a rider, the more they understand the thing they’re acting out.”
Activities of cowboy camp include learning to rope and ride, herd cows, sort cows, swimming horses, and drive wagons… all of which are, for the most part, essential aspects of the day to day of ranching.
Would it be cowboy camp without a few fun games? Cast members would play fun games of egg and spoon, where you have to balance an egg on a spoon while riding on horseback.
And while Taylor himself naturally excels beyond the skills of the cast he’s training, Tim McGraw isn’t so sure there isn’t a little foul play:
“I heard Taylor cheated when he does it. That he puts his thumb on the egg. Now, I’m not saying that it’s true… I’m just saying I heard that Taylor cheated.”
Through the help of industry professionals, these actors get a crash course in cowboying. Taylor Sheridan has a method to this madness because clearly, this acclimation makes the difference on screen.