Sam Elliott Explains Why Westerns Appeal ‘To A Massive Audience’


There seems to be a film niche for pretty much anything you can think of or anything your little heart desires. That doesn’t mean they’re all popular. But time and time again, one genre continues to draw in audiences across all ages and all walks of life. It’s a genre that Outsiders know and love: Westerns.

Outsiders can’t get enough of Sam Elliott in “1883” where he stars alongside the likes of Tim McGraw. And others probably know him for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Either way, he’s a bit of a Western expert.

Ultimately, those two works only scratch the surface of Elliott’s career and he really solidified his place in the world of Westerns through additional TV works. Three shows, in particular, highlight that. The Sacketts (1979), The Shadow Riders (1982), and The Yellow Rose (1983). But what makes Westerns so popular anyway? Well, according to the man, the myth, the legend himself, this is why they appeal to such a “massive audience.

Sam Elliott Talks About the Importance of Storytelling and Relating to Audiences

In a brand-spankin’-new interview with Fox, the Oscar-award-winning actor spoke to the popularity and longevity of Westerns. Here’s what he said:

“I just think that there’s something about that kind of a classic struggle depicted in a lot of westerns that appeals to a massive audience,” he begins. “It speaks of where we all came from. The peaks of that journey from the east to the West, what we did along the way, both the good and the evil, most of the evil. Taylor Sheridan writes about all the history and I think that’s what’s going to be most appealing about this [show].”


Perhaps that’s why “1883” blew Paramount’s viewership numbers out of the water with 4.9 million viewers tuning into the premiere.

“The day 1 streaming numbers coupled with the results of the linear sampling effort, and social response from our audience show the tremendous promise for this series. We look forward to continuing on this epic journey with our subscribers,” said the Chief Programming Officer for ViacomCBS Streaming, Tanya Giles.

And you know what else appeals to a wide audience? Sam Elliott’s mustache.

Mustaches & Cocktails

Now, Sam Elliott isn’t really a social media guy and Hollywood isn’t really his thing. But with a great mustache like that comes a lot of recognition and great responsibility. And that’s exactly why it’s no surprise at all that the legend once sipped on a mustachioed cocktail in Oregon. He even shared the iconic moment with his Instagram fans back in the day.