‘1883’: 3 Historical Events That Could Affect the ‘Yellowstone’ Prequel

1883 takes place well over a century before Yellowstone. So far, the journey West has been slow-moving, and fans are quick to wonder how things will turn out for Shea’s group. Although 1883 is a fictional series, it takes place during a historical period of time. It’s possible that Taylor Sheridan will intersect some events of the 1880s with his characters’ journey. These historical events in 1883 could potentially have some significance in the show.

Sam Elliott as Shea of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Shea rides his horse in front of the wagon train. The 1883 characters lived during a time when important historical events took place.
Sam Elliott as Shea of the Paramount+ original series ‘1883’ | Emerson Miller/Paramount+

The United States was in the middle of an economic recession

From 1882 to 1885, the country entered a period of economic recession. According to medium.com, the recession began with a decline in railroad construction, and the supply of money for banks gradually began to lower. Eventually, the economy went into deflation. This period is the third-longest recession in U.S. history and culminated in the Panic of 1884.

Although it may not have decimated them, the recession could have affected farming families like the Duttons. Perhaps this served as a catalyst for James deciding to sell his property and move his family West. The recession could also make things more difficult for the immigrants and the Duttons once they finally reach their destinations.

Krakatoa erupting in 1883 was a huge historical event

On August 27, 1883, a huge historical event took place. The volcano Krakatoa erupted in the Indonesian archipelago, killing thousands. Live Science states that the force equaled a blast of 200 megatons of TNT. Of course, that wasn’t enough to harm anyone in the United States, but the eruption still affected the country.

For example, the blast had atmospheric effects that made the temperature more than a degree cooler on average for the next five years, Live Science reports. This might seem insignificant, but Shea and his group are already concerned about traveling through the winter. In 1883 episode 8, Shea agreed to let James lead the group to Oregon. However, they could be in trouble if the winter of 1883 proves colder and longer than they expected.

Additionally, Live Science reports that the blast caused sunsets in the United States to be deeply colored for days following Krakatoa’s eruption. The group may witness these effects of the explosion on their journey.

President Chester A. Arthur traveled to Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone was officially established as a National Park in 1872. The park is located in Wyoming and parts of Montana and Idaho. According to Looper, in 1883 construction of the Northern Pacific Railway reached the north boundary of the park, which is located in Montana. The railway helped connect United States territories, and perhaps it inspired the 1883 Duttons to settle in Montana instead of Oregon.

In August 1883, President Chester A. Arthur embarked on a fishing trip in Yellowstone National Park along with several of his cabinet members, according to WyoHistory.org. The expedition brought national attention to the park, which could have also served to influence the 1883 Duttons.

New episodes of 1883 release Sundays on Paramount+.

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