“1883” is more than just the Oregon Trail

Jenarita Plante

Anchor Staff Writer

Photo via Catcountry1073

Vast barren plains, tumultuous rivers, deadly bandits. These are just a few of the many obstacles faced on the Oregon trail. No, I am not talking about the hit game that so many of us played in our childhood; facing constant broken axles, rotten food, and disease. What I am referring to is the trail that is being faced on the CBS and MTV Entertainment hit television show “1883”. Airing on the Paramount Network in early December of 2021, this show has quickly risen to popularity among its viewers.


“1883” is the prequel to “Yellowstone”, a western drama taking place in the picturesque Montana. “Yellowstone” is full of cowboys, grit, and plenty of drama. Taylor Sheridan and John Linsdon have created a following with their loveable characters and quick witty lines. When Sheridan came up with the idea of the prequel, it was written, perfected, and introduced to the world. Very quickly, “Yellowstone” fans flocked to the television on Saturday nights to watch this new period drama.


The show “1883” would not be what it is without its all star cast; the main characters James and Margeret Dutton are played by none other than country-music star Tim McGraw and his real-life wife Faith Hill. If their chemistry wasn’t enough to draw in the crowd, cowboy legend Sam Elliot has a regular role as Shea Brennan, the head of the wagon train. The audience also observes walk-on roles by writer Taylor Sheridan, Billy Bob Thorton and Tom Hanks.


“1883” would not be nearly as captivating without the narrator of the story, the up and coming actress Isabelle May portraying Elsa Dutton. May’s portrayal of Elsa is nothing short of amazing. In my opinion this part should win her some prestigious awards. Elsa defies everything a woman is supposed to be in the late 1800s. She rides like a cowboy, acts like a cowboy and she even wears pants like a cowboy. She loves like she wants, lives like she wants, and her mouth gets her into trouble on more than one occasion. Her strong spirit is admirable, and her true grit is an inspiration. Elsa narrates the show, painting an image of her world so eloquently with her words.


The Dutton family faces many challenges along the trail. First departing from Texas, they must fight the elements, time itself, and those standing in their way to reach Montana. The Great Plains themselves are challenging and the obstacles the family faces are deadly. Supporting characters are lost in every show; victims to the ferociousness of the trail. Even a member of the Dutton family is put into a life or death situation – on more than one occasion.


The last episode of the season aired on February 27, but fear not. The entire season is still available on the Paramount Network and another season has just been announced. If that is not enough, Sheridan also announced another prequel to “Yellowstone”. A sequel to “1883” is also in the works titled “1923”. This new journey will follow the next generation of the Dutton family. If it is anything like “1883” or “Yellowstone” it is certain to have a cult following of its own.


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