Tim McGraw is one of the stars with the biggest workload on 1883, and he does not take that responsibility lightly — in fact, far from it. In an interview prior to the show's launch in December of 2021, the country superstar and actor revealed that he goes to some extreme lengths to prepare for his role on the Yellowstone prequel.

McGraw plays the role of James Dutton on 1883, and his wife, Faith Hill, plays Margaret Dutton. Their characters are the great-great-grandparents of Yellowstone patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner), and the show follows their family's difficult journey West by wagon train from Texas to Montana, where they will later establish the Dutton Yellowstone Ranch that serves as the setting for the smash hit show.

McGraw's role involves a lot of horseback riding, shooting and other strenuous physical activity, as well as some emotional scenes with his family. He has as many lines as any actor on the show — but he doesn't stop at just memorizing his own role.

Speaking to a roundtable of media outlets including Taste of Country in advance of the show's debut, McGraw shared that his days during the shooting of the Paramount+ show begin at 3AM, when he starts his workday with an arduous workout before his 5AM call time.

"I'm sort of a gym rat," McGraw says with a chuckle. "I have to be in the gym every morning. The toughest part is being up at 3 in the morning every morning in order to make your call times. That's probably the hardest part of it, is getting up at 3, getting your workouts in. Because there's been a couple of days that I didn't do that, and the energy is not the same on set."

McGraw also uses that time to prepare mentally, and he takes that a step beyond, too.

"My workouts are sort of like my meditation in a lot of ways," he states. "That's the time when I go over my lines in my head, and I prepare for the day and try to be ready for what's going on. And I try to know everyone's lines in the show; that way I can sort of feel the moment and be in the moment."

New episodes of 1883 stream every Sunday via Paramount+.

Stay tuned to Taste of Country as we provide ongoing coverage of both Yellowstone and 1883, including episode analysis, news on the shows, cast interviews and more. As part of our comprehensive coverage, check out the Dutton Rules podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Subscribe to the Paramount+ streaming service to make sure you don't miss out on future episodes of 1883.

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