‘1883’ Drops Stunning Plot Twist That Upends Everything [Spoiler Alert]
1883 just keeps getting more and more intense as it approaches the end of its first season. The show has made a habit of killing off characters at every turn, but Episode 9 of the hit series left the fate of one of the main characters all but decided as Elsa Dutton (Isabel May) ends the episode convinced that she is going to die.
Episode 9 began streaming on Sunday via Paramount+, and it opens with what's left of the ragtag wagon train crossing through extremely inhospitable land that, as Elsa says in a dramatic voiceover, "hates us, and everyone can feel it."
The episode starts with Josef (Marc Rissmann) and Risa (Anna Fiamora) both at serious risk after a rattlesnake bites her horse, resulting in her being thrown, while he is bitten directly when he dismounts to try to help her. The situation goes from bad to worse quickly when Shea (Sam Elliot), Thomas (LaMonica Garrett) and James Dutton (Tim McGraw) come across an indigenous family that's been attacked and killed by horse thieves. The men realize that they've left their tracks everywhere, meaning that when the other members of their tribe find their dead, they will think the wagon train was responsible for the gruesome deaths and come after them.
They decide they have to personally hunt down the real killers and set off to do so, but before they can get too far, the Lakota warriors whose family were brutally killed attack the wagon train in reprisal, first killing Cookie (James Jordan), then setting upon the others as Elsa attempts to draw them away.
She succeeds to a degree, but viewers finally get to see how the flash-forward opening sequence of 1883 plays out as she kills one of the warriors and simultaneously takes an arrow through her midsection. Elsa ends up confronting the attackers and explaining to them that she is married to a Comanche warrior, and that her father is currently hunting down the real killers, putting an end to the attack, but it's clear that she's gravely wounded.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (Margaret Dutton) play their most emotional scene to date in Episode 9 as James realizes the arrow that struck all the way through Elsa is not only "filthy," it also penetrated her liver. "She's gonna die," he softly tells Margaret, who lashes out in a panicked fury. They decide that they will let Elsa have the last little bit of her life without telling her that she is dying, and James vows to find a proper place for her to die, which will become the family's new home.
But that plan doesn't quite come to fruition, as Elsa is able to see right through her father. At the end of the episode, she realizes he's looking at her "as if he's already in mourning ... as if I'm already gone."
"That's when I knew I was going to die," she intones to end the most emotionally impactful episode of 1883 to date.
With just one more episode to go in the season, 1883 has presented a twist that is sure to leave fans clamoring for what happens next. Will Elsa really end up dying to finish the season? Will her family give up their quest to settle in Oregon and make a home wherever she's buried? And if they do, how does that tie into Yellowstone, since we know they eventually establish the Montana ranch that serves as the setting for that show.
New episodes of 1883 stream every Sunday via Paramount+.
Stay tuned to Taste of Country as we provide ongoing coverage of both Yellowstone and 1883, including episode analysis, news on the shows, cast interviews and more. As part of our comprehensive coverage, check out the Dutton Rules podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Subscribe to the Paramount+ streaming service to make sure you don't miss out on future episodes of 1883.