‘1883’: Opening Scene Clue Suggests Elsa Knows the Man Who Shoots Her

The opening scene of Taylor Sheridan’s 1883 seemingly shows Elsa Dutton’s death — but fans still don’t know how exactly the teen gets to that point. In 1883 episode 8, fans saw Elsa fall in love with Sam and vow to return to him after seeing her family gets to Oregon safely. But going back to the opening scene, some fans think a clue suggests Elsa knows the man who shoots her.

What happens to Elsa Dutton in ‘1883’? The opening scene may show her death

Elsa Dutton in '1883' Episode 8 sitting in a field with a blanket covering her
Elsa Dutton in ‘1883’ Episode 8 | Emerson Miller/Paramount+

1883 episode 1 begins with Elsa Dutton crying on the ground. As she awakens from an attack, she looks around to see wagons set aflame. These wagons seemingly belong to the immigrants she and her parents, James and Margaret Dutton, traveled with in hopes of reaching Oregon.

The opening scene doesn’t show James or Margaret, though. Instead, fans only see Elsa on the ground — and she communicates with one of the Native Americans who attacks her group.

“Will you let me go?” Elsa asks the Native American man.

“I will sell you, or I will kill you,” he says to her while on his horse.

“You speak English,” Elsa says to him. “How can you do this?”

“You speak English — and no, your people did this,” the Native American answers.

Then, Elsa shoots him with a gun as he shoots her in the stomach with an arrow. From there, Elsa continues to shoot her attackers with the gun. It’s unclear if Elsa dies, but many fans assume as much.

Some fans think Elsa knows the man who shoots her

Martin Sensmeier as Sam and Isabel May as Elsa Dutton in '1883.' Sam and Elsa sit beside each other on the ground.
Martin Sensmeier as Sam and Isabel May as Elsa of the Paramount+ original series ‘1883’ | Emerson Miller/Paramount+

Elsa’s interaction with the Native American man in the 1883 opening scene has fans wondering if she knows him already. She seems surprised by the fact that he speaks English, but some fans find it suspicious the way she asks him how he could attack her people.

“Also, the fact that Elsa asked, ‘Why are you doing this?’ makes me think she knows this person and it isn’t just a random attack,” a fan on Reddit noted.

With only two episodes left of the current season of 1883, fans expect to see the events leading up to the opening scene unfold soon. Also, given the way Elsa’s dressed and with the beads in her hair, some fans believe the attack takes place on her wedding day. It’s possible that Elsa travels back to marry Sam, and that’s where she encounters the Native American tribe that attacks her and her people.

It’s also possible viewers will meet this attacking tribe prior to Elsa getting shot. Perhaps on the Dutton family’s travels to Oregon, they encounter the tribe who issue a warning to them not to cross their land. If Elsa and other immigrants travel back to Sam while Margaret and James stay in Oregon, this could possibly anger the tribe, causing the attack.

What will happen in ‘1883’ Season 2?

Fans anticipate Elsa’s death at the end of 1883 Season 1. But what about 1883 Season 2? According to Variety, Paramount+ ordered new episodes of the series, but it’s unclear if the episodes will serve as a continuation of season 1 or a new season altogether.

If 1883 Season 2 does happen, we anticipate connecting more dots between James and Margaret Dutton’s time settling in Oregon and the beginning of Yellowstone. Many fans noticed Elsa is suspiciously absent from Yellowstone flashbacks, which leads more fans to believe she dies. Additionally, fans noticed Margaret and James likely have another son. A second season of 1883 could focus on their grief of losing Elsa while also bringing another child into the world.

1883 Episode 9 airs Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, on Paramount+.

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