‘1883’ Finale Recap and What It Means for the Dutton Family

A lot happened in the 1883 finale and fans may need a recap to sum up the emotional final episode. The Dutton family approached Montana as Elsa began to succumb to her injury. The 1883 finale was heartbreaking and extremely important for the future of the Dutton family. Here’s everything you need to know.

Faith Hill as Margaret and Isabel May as Elsa in the 1883 finale. Elsa rides a horse and Margaret rides the wagon.
Isabel May as Elsa and Faith Hill as Margaret and Isabel May as Elsa in the ‘1883’ finale | Emerson Miller/Paramount+

The immigrants break away from Shea in the ‘1883’ finale

The 1883 finale begins with Shea Brennan and his group reaching Fort Caspar. Elsa collapses and falls off her horse as the arrow wound in her stomach worsens. A major at the fort looks at Elsa but tells James there is nothing he can do for her because the fort is abandoned.

Shea then tells the remaining immigrants that they will spend the winter in the Bozeman Valley and continue to Oregon in the spring. However, the majority of the immigrants decide to head to Oregon without Shea. Unfortunately, they are all killed by a group of thieves.

Josef and his wife Risa decide to stay with Shea, but they are in bad shape. Josef has his leg amputated as the poison from the snake bite threatens to take his life. Shortly after, Risa dies from the head injury she sustained in the previous episode.

The Duttons settle in Paradise Valley and choose a final resting place for Elsa

As the Duttons continue their journey in the 1883 finale, they run into a group of Crow Native Americans who try to help heal Elsa. However, everyone realizes that Elsa doesn’t have much longer to live.

A Crow elder named Spotted Eagle points James in the direction of Paradise Valley after James informs him that they need a place to settle and bury Elsa. Spotted Eagle warns James of the land, “In seven generations my people will rise up and take it back from you.”

Elsa requests that James let her choose the spot where she will be buried. James knows that Elsa will die before they reach Paradise Valley if they take the wagon. He splits up from Margaret and rides with his daughter to Paradise Valley. Elsa dies under a tree while James holds her in his arms.

A year later, Josef appears to have reached Oregon and is preparing to start his new life alone. Thomas, Noemi, and her sons arrive in the Willamette Valley and celebrate their bright future.

Meanwhile, Shea sits by the ocean as he promised Helen he would. He remarks at the beauty of the ocean before shooting himself in the head. In the finale moments of the 1883 finale, Elsa narrates, explaining what her heaven looks like. She races Sam across the plains in her version of heaven.

What does the ‘1883’ finale mean for the future of the Dutton family?

Taylor Sheridan’s cinematic universe will continue to explore the origins of the Dutton family with additional episodes of 1883 and a prequel series titled 1932. However, the 1883 finale made it clear why the Dutton’s land in Montana is so important. The 19th century Duttons sacrificed everything to reach Montana. Elsa’s death began a tradition of burying Duttons on the land in Montana and John Dutton (Kevin Costner) will not give that up easily.

Additionally, an ominous prediction was made in the 1883 finale. Spotted Eagle warned James that his people would take back the Duttons’ land in seven generations. Although there is some confusion about the Dutton family timeline, many fans believe that the seventh generation falls on either Kayce or Tate. This could mean that the Duttons will lose their land before Yellowstone is over.

All episodes of 1883 are currently streaming on Paramount+.

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