'Outer Range' utilized NM businesses to deliver an authentic Western look - Albuquerque Journal

‘Outer Range’ utilized NM businesses to deliver an authentic Western look

From left, Tom Pelphrey (Perry Abbott), Lewis Pullman (Rhett Abbott) and Josh Brolin (Royal Abbott) in “Outer Range.” (Richard Foreman/Prime Video)

Details are of the utmost importance for Rachel Dainer-Best.

As a costume designer, there’s a vision that she brings to life in conjunction with a production.

During her nine months in New Mexico, Dainer-Best was tasked with bringing an authentic Western look to the TV series, “Outer Range.” The series is streaming all eight episodes on Prime Video.

“A big part of the process was doing tons of research into the lives of ranchers in Wyoming,” she says. “I needed to bring to life what the Abbotts would look like in their everyday life. Being in New Mexico doubling for Wyoming, I wanted to get it right.”

The Prime Video series centers on Royal Abbott, played by Josh Brolin, a rancher fighting for his land and family, who discovers an unfathomable mystery at the edge of Wyoming’s wilderness.

At the onset of the series, the Abbotts are coping with the disappearance of daughter-in-law Rebecca. They are pushed further to the brink when the Tillersons (the gaudy owners of the neighboring profit-driven ranch) make a play for their land. An untimely death in the community sets off a chain of tension-filled events, and seemingly small-town, soil-bound troubles come to a head with the arrival of a mysterious black void in the Abbotts’ west pasture. Wild revelations unfold as Royal fights to protect his family; through his eyes, we begin to see how time contains secrets held in the past and unsettling mysteries foreshadowed.

According to the New Mexico Film Office, the production employed 200 to 300 New Mexico crew members and 2,000 New Mexico background and extras. It filmed in Las Vegas, New Mexico and Albuquerque.

With Amazon Studios and the Brad Pitt-owned Plan B Entertainment at the helm, it is reported that each episode will cost around $6 million. Usually, a production will have a direct spend of $1 million every eight days on a TV series.

Dainer-Best faced some challenges with the pandemic, but found a hidden gem in Montecristi Custom Hat Works in Santa Fe.

It was here that she was able to find the cowboy hats for the cast.

“JD at Montecristi helped us get some custom made cowboy hats,” she says. “I went with both Josh (Brolin) and with Lili (Taylor) to the shop in Santa Fe to get their heads measured. To make the custom hats and they have this cool old device called the conformateur from the 1800s. It measures the exact shape of your head.”

Dainer-Best started her career in the film industry working on 2012’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” while she lived in New Orleans.

Working on “Outer Range” wasn’t her first time working in New Mexico.

She was the team behind the feature film, “Dreamland,” which starred Margot Robbie.

“New Mexico is great for shopping for this kind of Western wear,” she says. “The shops cater to that kind of style because it’s prominent in the state. I got inspiration from walking around. I also have to give a shout out to Men’s Hat Shop in Albuquerque for being so helpful to us for the series. Without the two businesses, we wouldn’t have been able to make this an amazing show.”

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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