Is Billy Bob Thornton in 1883 and Who Does He Play?

Billy Bob Thornton is in 1883. In the Yellowstone prequel series, he portrays the character of Jim Courtright, a Marshall in the Texan town of Fort Worth who assists the Dutton family and their group of fellow travelers on the journey that would eventually see them settle down in Montana and establish one of the largest ranches in America.

Though 1883 and Yellowstone are both works of fiction, the stories do incorporate some real-life personalities from western American history, and the character that Thornton portrays is one of them. Courtright was a legendary lawman and outlaw in his days. He was also a skilled shooter but ultimately died during a gun battle.

Was Billy Bob Thornton in Episode 2 of 1883?

Billy Bob Thornton was in episode 2 of 1883. The award-winning American actor, producer, and musician is one of the Hollywood stars that made an appearance on the western drama series, which is a prequel to Yellowstone. Yellowstone is a drama series that premiered in 2018. It centers on the Dutton family, who is billed as owners of the longest contiguous ranch in America.

The drama focuses on their internal family squabbles as well as their efforts to fend off people who want to carve off portions of their land, such as the government and private developers, Yellowstone National Park, as well as a nearby Indian reservation.

Yellowstone has proved very popular with the viewing audiences, and this has led to the creation of multiple spin-offs, one of which is 1883. 1883 chronicles the long journey that the ancestors of the Dutton family (i.e. the great-grandparents of their father – John Dutton) undertook before they eventually made it to and settled down in Montana.

1883 is a limited series and debuted in December 2021. It has ten episodes, and Billy Bob Thornton appeared in only one episode, and that is episode two. It aired on December 19th, 2021, and is titled Behind Us, A Cliff.

Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton as Jim Courtright in 1883 Image Source

Who Did Billy Bob Thornton Play in 1883?

Billy Bob Thornton played Jim Courtright in 1883. Jim Courtright is a lawman who serves as the deputy Marshal of Fort Worth, Texas. He is responsible for making sure that citizens obey the law and is quite good with a gun. Courtright helps James and Margaret Dutton when they pass through his town during their travels.

The Duttons travel with a large group, and when they are near Fort Worth, a confrontation ensues between their group and a group of bandits after James Dutton’s sister named Claire, throws a rock at them. The bandits fire shots at the group and kill multiple persons, including Claire’s daughter named Mary Abel.

James Dutton and some other males in the group, namely Shea, Thomas, and Josef head into the town of Fort Worth, where they meet Marshall Jim Courtright. He helps them go after the killer bandits ad delivers justice in a swift fashion.

Who Was Marshal Jim Courtright in 1883?

Marshal Jim Courtright in 1883 is a lawman who served as a Marshal in the town of Fort Worth, Texas. The Duttons and their traveling group rely on his help to gain revenge on the bandits that attacked and killed some of them.

The character of Marshal Jim Courtright is actually based on a real-life figure named Jim Courtright. His real name was Timothy Isiah Courtright, and he lived from 1848 to 1887. He became a legendary figure in the town of Fort Worth, Texas, thanks to his gun-fighting skills.

A Look at the Real Jim Courtright 

The real-life Jim Courtright was a native of Illinois and hailed from a family of seven. He enlisted in the union army, the army that fought to keep the United States as one entity during the civil war. After his time in the army, he traveled around various parts of America and eventually settled down in Fort Worth, Texas.

At the time that Courtright arrived in Fort Worth in 1876, he was just in his late 20s, but he was formidable with his shooting skills. He, therefore, held several positions in the town, including Marshal, Deputy US Marshal, Deputy Sheriff, Jailer, etc. He spent three years there and held sway as their lawman. He was essentially in charge of maintaining law and order and ridding the town of criminal elements, including from their red light district christened Hells Half Acre.

Jim Courtright did a good job as a lawman. He helped to bring down the rate of killings and other crimes in the town. However, he also demanded protection money from some local businesses, some of whom may have even been engaged in illicit activities that he should have tackled. It is believed that he killed some who did not pay him much as the mafia would do.

Jim Courtright
Jim Courtright Image Source

Jim Courtright, therefore, acquired an ironic reputation as both a lawman and an outlaw. He left Fort Worth in 1879 and moved on to places such as New Mexico. He worked as a security officer and a ranch foreman. He remained a trigger-happy person and was involved in the killing of some persons, ostensibly on security grounds.

At some point, he was wanted for murder, and he ran away. He successfully fought attempts to extradite him back to New Mexico and eventually returned to Fort Worth again. Back in Fort Worth, Courtright resumed his protection racket. He also worked as a lawman and a private detective. He did this for some years until he eventually died in 1887 in a gunfight with a gambler and bar owner named Luke Short.

The exact account of the feud and events that transpired between the two is unknown, but by the end, Courtright was dead, and Short successfully pleaded self-defense in court. Courtright was buried, and his funeral procession was one of the longest that Fort Worth had ever seen.

1883 is right in their brief portrayal of Jim Courtright, but the timeline is inaccurate. 1883 is set in the year 1883, but by that time, Courtright was no longer living in Fort Worth, Texas, but in New Mexico. He only returned to Fort Worth in 1884.

Tom Hanks 1883
Tom Hanks (R) as General Meade comforts James Dutton in 1883 Image Source

Who Else Made a Cameo Appearance in 1883?

Tom Hanks and Graham Greene are the other superstar actors that made a cameo appearance in 1883. Hanks plays the role of General George Meade and appeared in Episode two. His character was an army major general who played a key role in many of the battles witnessed in the eastern theater during the American civil war.

Meade led his men to victory at the battle of Gettysburg. He also oversaw the troops at Antietam. In 1883, Hanks’ character comforts James Dutton after many of his soldiers die.

Graham Greene is an indigenous Canadian actor famous for the 1990 movie, Dances With Wolves. Graham Greene cameoed in 1883 as Spotted Eagle, a native American elder of the Crow tribe who helps direct James and his group on the right path as they make their way to Yellowstone. He appears in episode ten, titled This is not Your Heaven.

Another guest star in 1883 is Rita Wilson. Wilson is a singer, actress, producer, and the real-life wife of Tom Hanks. She plays the role of Carolyn, a storekeeper that shares a drink with Margaret Dutton.


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