Sure, it can’t be gun slinging and hangings, life and death, fights and non-stop action the entire time, but through the first 4 episodes, the most exciting thing we saw was them crossing a river.
And I know it takes time to set the table, establish the characters, get you invested, etc… but finally, in Episode 5… shit got REAL.
We’re gonna get into some spoilers so if you’re not caught up yet, you might to scroll on through to the next article.
Of course, 1883 tells the story of how the Duttons came to settle in Montana, making their way from Texas across the treacherous Great Plains to settle on the modern day Dutton Ranch property.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill play James and Margaret Dutton, the patriarch and matriarch of the Dutton family, while Sam Elliott has the role of Shea Brennan, the hardnosed cowboy tasked with leading the expedition.
With a group of cowboys for support and a large pack of German immigrants, the group departs Texas and sets out for Oregon… although, between disease, the elements, rattlesnakes, Native Americans, bandits, the threat of starvation, and the sheer willpower this journey requires, the odds are more than stacked against them.
In Episode 4, we saw what a deadly and disastrous task just getting across a river can be, but in Episode 5, Taylor Sheridan introduced a much more dangerous problem… bandits.
Armed robbers on horseback… the Dutton crew is already dropping numbers, numbers they’re gonna need.
The End of Ennis
Episode 5 unfortunately saw the demise of Ennis, a cowboy and cattle herder helping the Dutton caravan along the way, but more importantly, the love interest of Elsa Dutton (Isabel May).
With a marriage in the immediate future, Ennis and Elsa got a little naughty the night before (her first time), however their romance would be short-lived as Ennis died protecting her from the attacking bandits.
“Before I signed on, I just knew it was an epic story by Taylor Sheridan, the prequel to 1883 and I think I only read the first episode. Then I got cast and we went through the process and then I found out.
Taylor sent me the scripts and I read what happens at the end of five and I was heartbroken. I mean, it was just as gut-punching as it’s going to be for the viewers who get to watch, but it’s all so beautiful. And the way it’s told, it’s so emotional and it’s such a pivotal moment in the series so I was grateful to be able to be the one to portray that.”
From the moment they fall in love, to the sex, to the conversation about marriage and babies, to Ennis’ death, we see Elsa grow from a young girl to an adult almost instantly.
But needless to say, the death of Ennis is going to change everything:
“I can say we see almost instantly a major shift in Elsa. When she walks over to that bandit and shoots and kills him, that’s just a glimpse into Elsa’s journey from here on out.
She is completely stripped of innocence from that moment and she goes from a girl to a woman right then and there, and that’s evident. You’re not going to see Elsa like you saw her before going forward.
That’s about all I can tease, but it was a crucial moment for her character arc and the show as a whole. For her to go through this tragedy with Ennis and it gives her the strength and power that she otherwise maybe wouldn’t have had.”
The road was paved in blood, indeed…
Episode 6 is set to air Sunday, January 30th, exclusively on Paramount+.