If you’re a fan of the hit show Yellowstone, it’s time to fall in love with the series prequel, 1883. The newest Paramount+ western series follows the Dutton family from Fort Worth, Texas, on their covered wagon trek north through the Great Plains to the promised land of Montana. 1883 brings the proud pioneer spirit to life on Dutton’s quest for the American Dream.
If you’re fascinated by this period of American history, you’re not alone. 1883 debuted as the biggest new show since 2015, likely drawing on the hype from Yellowstone. Western shows have seen a huge resurgence in popularity, reminiscent of the Little House On The Prairie days. These shows provide viewers the ability to reflect on the determined grit of our ancestors as they navigate very different hardships than that of the modern era. Next time you’re annoyed with your internet loading too slowly, try to imagine what it was like forging a wagon and herd of animals across a river.
The show, created by Yellowstone’s Taylor Sheridan, boasts a prominent cast of characters, including Tim McGraw as John Dutton, Faith Hill as his wife Margaret Dutton, and Sam Elliot as Shea Brennan, one of the cowboys commissioned to guide the group. It was filmed in part at the historic Fort Worth Stockyard District, a part of Texas determined to hold onto its western roots.
Now you, too, can experience this Wild West history brought to life! Fort Worth is the perfect destination for travelers to experience the cowboy lifestyle. Fort Worth Stockyards will instantly catapult travelers back in time, offering 19th-century reenactments, the world’s only twice-daily longhorn cattle drives, weekly town rodeos, and an abundance of western wear square shops and cowboy-esque saloons.
You’ll feel as if you’ve instantly stepped on the set of 1883 while witnessing real Texas cowhands expertly drive a herd of longhorns down East Exchange Avenue. Watch in awe as the expert wranglers navigate the streets on their cow ponies, quick to redirect or rope any longhorn that falls out of order. These longhorn drives occur twice daily, at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The Cowtown Coliseum hosts the Stockyard’s weekly rodeos, where you can experience the exciting competition between modern cowboys and cowgirls. Spectators gather every Friday and Saturday evening to watch gritty events like bull riding, team roping, and barrel racing. If you’ve never witnessed a person clinging to a massive bucking bull in real life, making the eight-second goal feel like an eternity, or a horse galloping at breakneck speed only to turn on a dime around a barrel, you’re missing out. We’re willing to bet 1883‘s narrator, the strong-willed Elsa Dutton, would’ve made quite the barrel racer in her day.
Before attending the rodeo, make sure you’re outfitted for the part. The Stockyards has plenty of western wear shops to instantly transform any city slicker into a cowboy. Make sure to check out Flea Style to pick out and customize your own Stetson cowgirl hat before venturing to Lazy J’s Ranchwear for the perfect plaid top and some Wrangler jeans. Of course, you can’t forget the boots and belt! M.L. Leddy’s instantly envelops shoppers in a sweet-smelling leather aroma and offers handmade cowboy boots, belt buckles, and other leather goods.
No Fort Worth experience is complete without enjoying a drink at an authentic saloon or square dancing the night away on a Texas-sized dance floor. We recommend walking through the authentic wooden swing doors to pony up at the Stockyard Saloon bar before playing a game of billiards. If you’re looking for a bit more excitement, Billy Bob’s Texas is one of the town’s jewels, a 100,000-square-foot entertainment center. The building was once used to house cattle for the Fort Worth Stock Sale and holds strong to its authentic roots. Guests will be greeted with a quick historical video of the building, complete with soothing narration by country music star George Strait. Today, Billy Bob’s continues to host the biggest country names inside its concert venues, boasts tasty Texas barbecue eats, and even offers live bull riding events. Check out their full events calendar here.
For even more ways to experience Fort Worth and live out your own 1883-style experience, check out: