‘1883’ Fans Believe Viewers Should Stop Nitpicking Show on Historical Accuracy

by Leanne Stahulak
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Pictured: Coverage of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2021 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.

“1883” fans have taken sides in the eternal debate between a TV show’s historical accuracy and its need to entertain.

You can tell that Taylor Sheridan put a lot of care and thought into recreating the atmosphere and culture of the 1880s in the show. But pieces are bound to slip through the cracks, and certain facts might need to be changed for the sake of telling a good story. History is not clean cut with a beginning, middle, and end. It’s messy and chaotic at best, which makes it difficult to translate exactly into a fictional show.

One “1883” fan griped about people “nitpicking” the show in a recent Reddit post. “Y’all are killing me. This is not a Ken Burns documentary. Do not rely on a fictional work to take into account every single detail that should be 100% accurate,” the original poster wrote. “Do you know what other show is also not accurate? Yellowstone. On many levels.”

Fans took to the comments with jokes about how “1883” betrays historical accuracy. “I dunno, there’s no way Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were alive in 1883. Hard to overlook an error that obvious,” one person commented. Someone else joked, “Sam Elliott on the other hand…”

Another fan wrote, “But…the horse bit color isn’t authentic. And technically the sky was a different hue because of the ozone layer!”

More people made more hilarious references to historical inaccuracies. And someone else brought up a fair point: Try writing your own 100% accurate but wildly popular fictional show. It might be harder than it looks.

How ‘1883’ Depicted That Dangerous River Crossing

Speaking of historical moments from the show. This week’s episode of “1883” focused on one of the most dangerous aspects of traveling via wagon across the country: River crossings.

Back then, few bridges existed that could safely transport a caravan of wagons. Instead, people had to wade through the river themselves, lightening the load as much as they could to get across more easily.

In the episode, many people struggled to cross and ended up drowning. If their animals bucked or the waters got to them, the people who didn’t know how to swim soon got swept under the current. According to FrontierLife.net, the way the show depicted these big river crossings wasn’t too far off from the real thing.

“Crossing rivers on the Oregon Trail was one of the most dangerous parts of the journey,” the post read. “Back in the Oregon Trail days pioneers would have had to contend with much larger rivers with much higher volumes. While smaller streams didn’t present much of an issue, larger rivers were more challenging.”

“1883” took the time to depict that harrowing part of the journey in an emotional and heartwrenching way.

Outsider.com