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The Yellowstone prequel 1883 showed a gritty side of American history. The Dutton family journey west was full of peril and violence. Their guide, Shea Brennan (Sam Elliott) was only available because of his devastating family loss. And Shea’s right hand man on 1883, Thomas (LaMonica Garrett) was a Buffalo Soldier. 

'1883': Thomas (Lamonica Garrett) wears his Buffalo Soldier coat
LaMonica Garrett | Emerson Miller/Paramount+

Garrett spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet on Aug. 12 about 1883. Garrett discussed the magnitude of the Buffalo Soldier jacket Thomas wore throughout the Yellowstone prequel. The complete series is now available on DVD and Blu-ray, and still available to stream on Paramount+.

Who were the Buffalo Soldiers in real life? 

Black and Native Americans who fought in the Civil War for the Union were relegated to their own regiments. After the Emancipation Proclamation, the regiments went on to fight in the Indian Wars.  The Native American soldiers nicknamed their Black partners Buffalo Soldiers. 

According to CNN, The Buffalo Soldiers became official in 1866 during the Indian Wars. They would continue well beyond 1883 into the early 20th century. Indian Wars continued through 1924, but in 1883, Thomas’s military career was in his past. 

LaMonica Garrett got to honor Buffalo Soldiers in ‘Yellowstone’ prequel ‘1883’

Thomas was a fictional character on 1883 but represented the story of many real people. Thomas was old enough to have been a slave. He escaped when he was 12 and served in the military, and later Pinkerton National Detective Agency. The magnitude of the jacket wasn’t lost on Garrett. 


‘1883’: LaMonica Garrett Would Be in ‘Yellowstone’ Prequel ‘1923’ if Thomas Lives That Long

“It was special,” Garrett told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “I knew it when we were going to wardrobe and I was putting it on for the first time, looking in a mirror, how it affected me.”

The ‘1883’ cast reacted to LaMonica Garrett’s costume too

Garrett wasn’t the only one to take the time to reflect on the Buffalo Soldiers. While filming 1883 in Texas, Garrett recognized the impact his costume made on other actors. Garrett took his own reflections and the reactions of those co-stars into his performance as Thomas. 

“We were shooting in Ft. Worth at Hell’s Half Acre,” Garrett said. “We had about 400 extras and a couple of the Black actors came up to me. A couple of the actors came up to me, it was like, ‘How does that feel to wear the Buffalo Soldier jacket?’ I saw in their eyes what it meant to them and I knew what it meant to me already and I knew when this comes to air what it’s going to mean for a lot of other people. So it was special to me and that didn’t go unnoticed.”