Josh Brolin started his career in TV movies and guest spots on TV shows before getting a more notable role as Brand Walsh in the Richard Donner-directed movie The Goonies (1985). He was then offered the role of Tom Hanson in the series 21 Jump Street but turned it down to star in the series Private Eye (1987), which lasted half a season. The role of Hanson instead went to Johnny Depp. Brolin guest-starred in an episode of the show in its first season.
One of Brolin's more prominent roles early in his career was that of Wild Bill Hickok in the ABC western TV series The Young Riders, which lasted three seasons (1989-92). Although an ensemble piece, his character increasingly received significantly more screentime than his co-stars.