1883 was filmed in primarily 2 states, namely Texas and Montana. Most of the Fort Worth scenes were shot in the neighborhood surrounding West Exchange Avenue and North Houston Street. One of the highlights of the series was a complete remodel of a local business, Hookers Grill. The series reworked the entire two-story outdoor deck to match the design of buildings commonly found in frontier towns which have attracted tourists and fans of the television series. So, if you’re in the Fort Worth area, feel free to drop by Hookers Grill for an authentic 1883 dining experience.
To keep the 1883 locations interesting, the production team of 1883 decided to travel around Texas to showcase a variety of landscapes. Perhaps the most famous filming location utilized within this series was the 6666 Ranch, also known as the Four Sixes Ranch. As the finale drew near, 1883 shooting locations moved from Texas into Montana, with shooting locations being filmed in Livingston, Clyde Park, and Paradise Valley.
The “White Elephant” bar showcased in the series while the family was in Fort Worth, exists to this day. And the actors for husband-and-wife James and Margaret Dutton, played by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, are married in real life.
Shea conveys distressing news scene in 1883
The Alps Building, 222 West Exchange, Fort Worth
A group of immigrants awaits Shea and Thomas as they enter the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in episode 1. While Shea initially has some hope for the group he’s confronted with, little by little his hope diminishes as he realizes that only one person speaks English, the group lacks food, supplies, and guns, but has many heavy furnishings.
Clearly, these immigrants are unprepared for the trek ahead and Shea highlights it by saying “We’re going to have to hire more men. To protect you.” This scene set the tone for how difficult the Oregon trail would be and sets the scene for the series.
This scene was played out in the Alps Building located on the 222 West Exchange in Fort Worth. Currently, it hosts offices for several tenants and isn’t open to the public but luckily the building is in the historic stockyard district of Fort Worth so there are plenty of other attractions that are worth your time. The Alps is a short walk away from the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, roughly 7 minutes, meaning you can take your time as you visit one of the filming locations of 1883.
The bar scene in 1883
Farina’s Winery and Café, Granbury
Looking for help for the arduous journey to Montana, Shea Brennan and his companion Thomas seek the help of James Dutton. Describing the situation to James, Shea mentions that many families are looking for a better future and offers to help James with his situation, to which James Dutton replies “I ain’t looking for help. I’m worried enough about my own family to be worrying about somebody else’s.”
The bar scene in episode 1 of 1883 took place within the interior of Farina’s Winery and Café. This Italian restaurant has an old-timey bar look and was deemed the perfect location for the attempted recruitment scene in 1883. The winery and café is located at 202 North Houston Street in Granbury and is surrounded by all sorts of attractions and other interesting shops. Enjoy the sights and the surroundings that Granbury offers before heading into the restaurant!
James and Elsa have their final conversation scene in 1883
Paradise Valley, Montana
In the heart wrenching finale of the series 1883, which is on episode 10, we follow the remaining members of the wagon train. With the help of Spotted Eagle, an Elder from the Crow Tribe, James and Elsa Dutton can descend to Paradise Valley in time for Elsa to pick her burial location at the base of a tree.
Perhaps one of the best scenes in 1883, James and Elsa Dutton have their final conversation in which they converse on how everyone who’s traveling to these far-off lands has risked their lives for a rumor of a better place. To this, James Dutton replies to a dying Elsa with “Rumors and dreams build this whole world. Every inch of it.” This gives her hope that there will always be dreamers looking for a better future.
With a background that’s not only beautiful but also evokes wistful feelings, Paradise Valley is the perfect location for those that are looking for a place to enjoy natural beauty and perhaps reflect on the final words spoken by James and Elsa. To reach Paradise Valley, you would have to drive south of Livingston, along Highway 89.
The train and railroad station scene in 1883
Texas State Railroad between Palestine and Rusk, Texas
A train ride with the Dutton Family seems like an easy task, but thanks to Elsa, the free-spirited daughter of James Dutton, the train ride ends up becoming more complicated than anticipated for Claire who is the sister-in-law of Margaret Dutton. To outline just how difficult it was to keep the Dutton children in check, Claire remarks to James, “James, your children are feral. Absolutely feral.” Arguably, Claire herself is going through a tough time, having to deal with the loss of her husband Henry, which does explain her harshness in her actions. All of this takes place on the 1st episode of 1883!
The railroad used as part of the 1883 film set was established in 1881 and is a popular destination for tourists looking to take a tour of East Texas’ well known piney woods. The railroad is still being used by a restored train pulled by steam locomotives and can be reached by driving along the US Highway 84 E and then turning down Park Road 76. Make sure to charge your cameras and bring plenty of sunscreen when going out to visit this scenic and sunny location!
The standoff scene in 1883
6666 Ranch, Guthrie
After being catcalled by two men, a clearly distraught Elsa pulls a gun out on the men, to which they reply by also pulling a gun out on Elsa. Challenging her character to shoot at them, the men jeer her on, claiming that although she can pull the trigger, it's more difficult to do than she thinks.
James Dutton comes to diffuse the situation in the nick of time, by pointing the barrel of his gun at the man and saying, “It comes real natural to me.” Phased by a man that has clearly pulled the trigger before, the two men back off, and after they leave, James gets angry at Elsa mentioning that “You don’t point this at anyone unless you plan on using it.”
What better way to portray this scene at Doan’s Crossing than at the famous 6666 Ranch located in Guthrie? The ranch is well known for pioneering Texas ranching and has seen its fair share of films and series being shot on-site, with the 1883 production being the latest addition. To get to this famous location, you might have to drive a bit on US Highway 82 before seeing anything as the ranch has over 250,000 acres of land. However, the ranch is very scenic, and you can see the accumulation of efforts put into the ranch over the course of 150 years.
The mother-daughter exchange scene in 1883
Dixons Creek, 6666 Ranch
In this coming-of-age scene, Elsa stands firm in her beliefs to stay with Sam on his land. Her mother, Margaret Dutton is clearly distressed and pleads with her to stay with the family as they head toward Oregon. However, we see Elsa’s stance on this matter when she says, “I’ll ride with you to Oregon, then I know where to come if I ever need a place to start over. Maybe I’ll just visit, bring your grandchildren.” Clearly, Elsa Dutton is tired of the journey and seeks to raise a family after the journey is over.
This scene was shot along Dixon’s Creek which is in a section of the massive 6666 ranch which was in the Carson and Hutchinson counties near the city of Panhandle. Dixons Creek is a scenic location that features a steadily flowing river that’s easy on the ears and is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. To get to this isolated location, you would have to drive on the Plemons Road leading out of the ghost town of Phillips in Texas, but rest assured, the natural beauty located in this 1883 filming location is sure to be worth it.
From the crime-filled city of Fort Worth to the vast expanse of the Great Plains, 1883 covered a vast area and has a rich range of scenes that feature different aspects of how treks were in the wild west. Many locations were used and it’s not difficult to see why the film shooting may take a lot of time, but as a result, a rich story about the perilous journey to find better land was able to be portrayed by the talented cast. If by chance you happen to drive by Fort Worth, take some time to visit Hooker’s Grill for a little taste of that 1883 nostalgia.