1883 Season 1 Ending Explained & Future Yellowstone Shows Setup

In 1883's bittersweet ending, the pioneers reach the end of their arduous journey, as they come upon lands fit for settling and raising families.

1883 ended in a mix of tragic death and hopeful optimism for the show’s settlers. Indeed, the finale paints a stark picture of how those who were part of the Westward Expansion of America survived, loved, and died while braving the Oregon Trail. The caravan splits up as what remains of 1883’s cast of characters seek out their respective fortunes, hoping to scratch a living in the more verdant and comparatively less hostile parts of the American frontier. In the 1883 season 1 finale, the caravan’s long journey finally ends.

Elsa Dutton surrenders to death and picks the spot in Paradise Valley where he wants James to bury her. After a year since Josef’s wife died and his leg had to be sawed off to save his life from a rattlesnake bite, he finally removes his wedding ring and gets ready to build a house. Meanwhile, Thomas and Naomi’s family have also found a spot where they can build a home and settle in Oregon. As for Shea Brennan, he finally reaches the beach, and there, he ends his own life.

1883‘s season 1 finale successfully fleshes out the story of how the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch was founded – with the blood of pioneers. Despite the Duttons having no exact plan or map to aid in their journey north, they finally make it to the valley called Paradise in Montana, the future site of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. However, it came at the cost of James and Margaret losing their beloved daughter Elsa and the caravan losing most of its members to the frontier. Here’s everything else that you might have missed in the ending of 1883 season 1.

Why Elsa Dutton Had To Die

Elsa’s death signals the end of the first chapter in the story of the Duttons of Yellowstone Ranch. Elsa wasn’t just the protagonist, but also the narrator of the show – the very heart and soul of 1883. In short, it was simply time for Elsa to die, signaling the beginning of an entirely new chapter for the Duttons. It’s also important to remember how Elsa died: gravely wounded in a violent misunderstanding between 1883‘s caravan of white settlers and a band of Lakota warriors. As James and Margaret agree to settle the land wherever Elsa decides to die, Elsa’s death foreshadows the tensions between Indigenous American communities and the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch in the present time. While Indigenous Americans have lived and survived in Paradise Valley thousands of years before 1883‘s settlers even set foot in Montana, Elsa’s death shows what the Duttons gave up in order to claim their property – a long, lingering look into the roots of the conflicts that drive Taylor Sheridan’s Neo-Western universe.

What The Hummingbird That Joins Shea Means

In the end, Shea Brennan fulfills his personal quest to see the ocean before he dies. Amid the crashing of the waves, Shea admires the ocean while remembering his wife, who died of smallpox during the pilot episode of 1883. A hummingbird then appears and hovers around Shea for some time before flying away, perhaps implying that his wife is there to enjoy the beach with him. After that, Shea follows through with his plan to shoot himself. Although Shea’s death is tragic, it’s a rare moment of true peace and fulfillment in 1883, as the tormented character finally gets what he wants. In Indigenous American culture, the hummingbird is a symbol of good luck, which is likely why Shea was moved by the bird’s presence, especially as it appeared during his last moments on Earth. While Shea won’t be needing any luck, the hummingbird’s presence could foreshadow good fortune for the surviving members of the caravan, who each have found their own plots of land to settle in Oregon and Montana.

How 1883’S Ending Sets Up Yellowstone Spinoff 1932

The next Yellowstone series spinoff is called 1932, and it’s set around 50 years after 1883. According to Paramount, 1932 “will follow a new generation of Duttons during the time of western expansion, Prohibition, and the Great Depression.” This means that John and Spencer Dutton (James and Margaret’s kids) will be in their ’50s, face financial hardships, and possibly come into conflict with the law. They could be joined by a teenage John Sr., the father of Yellowstone‘s John Dutton. As the migrant Josef boasted about German drinking culture when he got blind drunk before his leg surgery, Josef could appear as a brewer or bootlegger in 1932. Meanwhile, Naomi and Thomas could still be alive, and their kids could be all grown up in Oregon.

Did 1883’S Season 1 Finale Spoil The Ending Of Yellowstone Season 5?

The Indigenous man who helps Elsa is also the one who tells James about Paradise Valley. Moreover, James and the man’s conversation also potentially foreshadows events in Yellowstone season 5. While the man points James to the future site of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, he follows up by saying, “but know this: in seven generations, my people will rise up and take it back from you.” James replies, “In seven generations, you can have it.” In Yellowstone, the Dutton Ranch is called a seven-generation ranch by Governor Lynelle Perry. The implication here is that John Dutton’s children, or possibly even Tate Dutton – Kayce and Monica’s half-white, half-Indigenous son – could end up giving their land back to the Broken Rock Indian Reservation in Yellowstone season 5.

1883 Season 2? How Season 1’S Ending Sets It Up

1883‘s season 1 ending has laid the groundwork for a promising second season. 1883 season 2 will reveal how the Duttons started what would become the largest contiguous cattle ranch in the U.S. Following the stellar success of 1883 on Paramount+, the show has been renewed for a second season. Just as 1883 season 1 was inspired by true stories and real people from history, so would 1883 season 2 continue to show the struggles of pioneers at the turn of the century. The story could also include how Josef, Thomas, and Naomi have survived in Oregon while the Duttons begin to build their empire in Montana. 1883 season 2 will likely be set several years after the first season, which would give ample time for the surviving characters to settle their respective lands, setting the stage for another compelling story about life in the frontier.

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