If you’ve already seen the Season Finale of the Yellowstone prequel series 1883,you’re probably neck deep in a box of tissues right now. If you haven’t, you might want to scroll on through to the next article…
Our worst fears have been realized
In Episode 9 of 1883, the penultimate episode, we see the Dutton clan making their way to Oregon when they stumble across a camp of slain Lakota Indians… just women, children and horses.
Slain by wannabe “deputies,” Shea Brennan (Sam Elliott) and Thomas (LaMonica Garrett), know the Lakota men will think they are responsible and hunt them down.
And that’s exactly what happens.
Shea, Thomas and James Dutton (Tim McGraw) go to hunt down the bandits before the Lakota catches up to their wagon train, but it’s too late.
Prior to their arrival, we see Elsa Dutton (Isabel May) change into that white dress from the very first episode… you know, the one with the wagon’s burning, the Indians attacking, and Elsa starring down the head of an arrow.
The End Of Elsa Dutton
That opening scene comes to fruition…
Elsa takes a dirty arrow through the liver and infection sets in, fever sets in it doesn’t look good… Tim takes a slap to the face telling Faith Hill, who plays his wife Margaret Dutton, that she’ll die.
The the beginning of Episode 10, titled “This Is Not Your Heaven,” her father and Shea are able to get her and the rest of the camp to a nearby fort, but it’s already too late… there’s no doctor and she isn’t gonna last much longer.
With winter looming, the crew makes the decision to head to Montana to hunker down until spring when they can continue on to Oregon. Of course, it’s pretty obvious by now how this is all coming together. Elsa doesn’t make it to Oregon… and the Duttons settle in Montana.
And while we might’ve seen Elsa’s death coming after the last episode, her narration reveals a similar fate for the rest of the crew, who opt to separate at the fort.
The rest of the wagon train will die soon, killed by bandits. Colton and Wade will also die during their journey on the Oregon trail. Risa dies, Josef’s leg needs to be amputated.
They finally it to Montana and settle in the Bozeman Valley, where Elsa dies and is buried under a tree on the modern day Dutton Ranch property.
But then… there’s one more devastating twist.
After Shea makes it to Oregon, and finally gazes upon that beautiful ocean, fulfills his promise to his wife, and shoots himself.
But, that’s life on the Oregon Trail, life in the American West at the time… if falling off a wagon, disease, hypothermia, or starvation didn’t kill you, bandits, Native Americans, dehydration, or rattlesnakes would.
Or maybe, the weight off it all would crush you, and like a number of people we saw throughout the show, including Shea, you’d just off yourself.
Either way, 1883 fans were GUTTED:
@1883Official is a masterpiece. Brilliantly written and and shows the real toils, struggles, and breakdowns of back then. I knew the finale would be emotional but it was more emotional than I thought. The show should win all the awards. #1883finale #1883
I’m a puddle after watching the finale of @1883. It’s amazing what the people who settled this land endured & we have people crying over wearing a mask now. Bring plenty of tissues to watch this one. You will need them. #1883TV
We know that Paramount+ has ordered more episode of 1883 but it’s unclear if that means a full second season or just a few more episodes. They just announced plans for a follow up Yellowstone prequel titled 1932,that will presumably join the timeline when James and Margaret’s kids (with or without Elsa) are grown with their own kids.
“The show will follow a new generation of Duttons during the time of Western expansion, Prohibition and the Great Depression.”
So even though Elsa Dutton has died, the Dutton story is just getting started.