The first season of Yellowstone spin-off 1883 aired it’s finale in February of 2022, and fans were shocked at several deaths that occurred during the episode. One person who wasn’t shocked by the episode’s outcome was supporting star Sam Elliott, who’d been warned by series creator Taylor Sheridan that he might not like how his character’s arc came to an end. Join Facts Verse as Sam Elliott shares his harsh words after 1883 season finale.
Taylor Sheridan Warned Sam Elliott Before 1883
According to Sam Elliott, 1883 creator Taylor Sheridan had some strange words for him when trying to entice him to star in the Yellowstone spin-off series. Sam clams that Taylor warned him before he even signed on that the actor might not like all the places that the show went over the course of it’s first season. Sam ended up signing on anyways, as starring as one of the supporting leads in a popular streaming series proved too lucrative of an opportunity.
Now that the first season of 1883 is over and done with it’s not hard to see why Taylor Sheridan presented Sam Elliott with words of caution as he was trying to entice him onto the series. Not only did Sam have a lot of heavy material that he had to perform over the course of the show’s first season, but his character also went out with a bang during the season finale. As fans of the show will already be well aware of, Sam’s character ended up killing himself at the end.
Sam Elliott played the character of Shea Brennan over the course of 1883’s first season. The series revolve around the Dutton family, which is the central family from the series Yellowstone. 1883 showcases a previous generation of the family, headed by a patriarch and matriarch played by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, respectively. There characters are James and Margaret Dutton, and the show depicts the Dutton family trying to make it to Oregon with Shea Brennan’s help. James and Margaret had a daughter by the name of Elsa. However, like Sam Elliott’s Shea, she didn’t end up making it out of 1883’s first season alive.
1883 Was Meant to Be Gritty and Realistic
Taylor Sheridan wanted 1883 to be a challenging look at the dangers settlers faced back in the day, and that meant that no character deaths were off of the table. It seems that one of the reasons that Sam Elliott signed onto the series was because he empathized with the creator’s goal of bringing a more realistic depiction of settler times to the screen. It’s arguable that being told how trying the filming of 1883’s first season would be only made Sam Elliott more eager.
Besides the fact that his character was going to commit suicide by the end of the first season, another thing that 1883 creator Taylor Sheridan had to warn Sam Elliott about was how harsh filming was going to be. In order to make the series as realistic as possible, the first season of 1883 was actually filmed on location across the Oregon Trail. This meat that the cast and crew of the show were essentially taking the Oregon Trail for themselves, though they had a lot more resources and support than the Duttons did.
While Taylor Sheridan was afraid that Sam Elliott was going to hate him by the time that the filming of 1883’s first season was finished, Sam actually grew to have a great deal of respect for the series creator. Taylor wrote all of 1883’s first season, and he directed the first couple of episodes. Sam knew that Taylor took his craft seriously, and he developed a lot of respect for the man throughout the show’s production.
The Finale of 1883 Rocked Audience Members
The finale of 1883’s first season premiered towards the end of February 2022. As fans will already be aware, Sam Elliott’s character of Shea Brennan wasn’t the only notable character that was killed off over the course of the episode. In the second-to-last episode of the season, a Native American arrow had shot Dutton daughter Elsa. The episode ended with a glimmer of hope that Elsa might end up okay by the season’s end. However, this didn’t end up being the case! Taylor Sheridan knew exactly what he was doing while providing false hope for the audience that Else would make it through to the end of the season. Once again, it was the creator’s goal to showcase just how hard it was to be a settler back during the 1800s.
Elsa Dutton’s Death Was Tragic, but Realistic
The death of Elsa Dutton at the end of 1883’s first season was made all the more shocking by the fact that the character was the show’s narrator! Even as Elsa was succumbing to the arrow shot that eventually killed her, few in the audience believed that series creator Taylor Sheridan was going to have the gumption to go through with the death of the show’s narrator. Though Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were the headlining stars, it’s arguably that the main character of 1883’s first season was truly Elsa herself.
After being shot by a Native American arrow during the second-to-last episode of 1883’s first season, Elsa seemed like she was going to be okay. Her parents pulled the arrow out and sealed the wound, and it appeared as if the young woman was on the way to recovery. However, when Tim McGraw’s character of James Dutton went to go examine the arrow that had punctured his daughter, he realized that there was something off about it. Series creator Taylor Sheridan put a lot of research into creating his account of settler times, and one of the tidbits that he picked up along the way was the fact that some Native American tribes dipped their arrows in filth in order to infect people.
When James Dutton picked up the arrow that had punctured his daughter and realized that it was covered in filth, he came to an incredibly disturbing epiphany. The filth that was on the arrow was no inside of his daughter’s body. Even though her wound had been sealed without much issue, there was no way for the Duttons to do anything about the filth that was likely already starting to cause a serious infection. James pulled his wife aside and told her that Elsa was going to die from the filth-covered arrow.
The Finale Teased That Else Might Not Die
Though James Dutton clearly spelled out to his wife that their daughter Elsa was going to pass away from an infection, most audience members likely refused to believe that 1883 was truly going to do away with it’s narrator. Most that were watching the finale of 1883’s first season likely thought that the Duttons were going to find a way to save their daughter. There were certainly attempts, as much of that final episode was spent following the Duttons as they sought out the powers of a Native American healer. There are plenty of shows from the past that would’ve used the introduction of this Native American healer to make everything okay for the Dutton family. However, 1883 had other intentions.
The death of Elsa Dutton was seen as necessary to convey this, and giving her character an easy out by having a Native American healer bring her back to life would’ve gone against the values of the series. Though the Native American healer tries his best to use his methods to cure Elsa’s ailment, she ends up passing away regardless.
Besides Shea Brennan and Elsa Dutton, numerous other characters also passed away by the end of 1883’s first season. Elsa passed away in her father’s arms, and James vowed that he would make the location of her death the new Dutton family settlement instead of continuing to head onward towards Oregon. Of course, that location would be Yellowstone’s setting of Montana. The death of Shea Brennan wasn’t nearly as shocking as the death of Elsa Dutton, as most already suspected that it was Shea’s plan to commit suicide as soon as he got to the West Coast.
Sam’s Favorite Moment from 1883 was with Elsa
According to Sam Elliott, one of his favorites moments from 1883’s first season was when his character of Shea Brennan shared his backstory with doomed narrator Elsa Dutton. Shea had tragic reasons for wanting to accompany the Dutton family to the West Coast. Shea’s wife had passed away, and all she ever wanted was to see the ocean. After her passing, Shea then vowed that he was going to head out to the ocean and show it to his deceased wife via his own eyes. Once he got to the ocean, Shea shot himself.
It’s not everyday that a popular show kills off two of it’s main characters during it’s first season. According to series creator Taylor Sheridan, 1883 was only meant to last for a single season. However, it has recently been renewed for a second. Another Yellowstone spin-off has also been announced, with that spin-off going by the name of 1923. Like 1883, 1923 will follow the Dutton settlers over the course of it’s titular year. Taylor claims that 1923 was originally supposed to be the “second season” of 1883. However, the news that 1883 is going to get it’s own second season means that the creator is now planning on fleshing out the past of the Duttons even more than before.
Though 1883 creator Taylor Sheridan was afraid that star Sam Elliott was going to hate him by the time that filming of the show’s first season was over, this didn’t end up being the case! Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that multiple main characters died at the end of 1883’s first season, and that creator Taylor Sheridan was afraid that this outcome was going to piss off supporting star Sam Elliott?