One of the big things that 1883 has promoted about itself is the historical accuracy of the show. One detail has fans asking questions.
Episode 4 was great. It was dramatic. And, it was deadly. The crossing of the Brazos River did not go according to plan. There were those that drowned for a variety of reasons. However, there was one detail that Josef shared with the Pinkertons and James Dutton.
The fact that Josef and his people weren’t allowed to swim back home. By law. The German immigrants were coming from an area where it was illegal to swim in the public waters. This has shocked many fans and there are some on the 1883 subreddit that have taken issue with it. Is it true that there was a place in Europe that banned swimming?
After u/Matt1823 asked, “Was it actually illegal to swim in Germany at this time in history?” Replies flooded below the question. There were some explanations given and others that stuck up for the writers and the show.
“Only in one town really,” u/RyanDanielst said. “And it was lifted by 1883.”
Another reply went into further detail.
“It was dramatic license taken for the show… there was one instance of it being known to be banned in ONE city Ingolstadt, on the Danube river… in the 1600s,” u/Kurgen22 replied.
While the group prepared for their journey, this was a big point of contention. So, Josef wasn’t sure what to tell his people that couldn’t swim. Besides, river crossings were difficult for any group of people. Deaths happened often while out on the Oregon Trail.
1883 does a good job of being accurate. After all, the show is historical fiction, not a documentary.
Another Issue Fans Had With ‘1883’
One f the best characters through the first half of the series has been Ennis. The cowboy is hilarious, complex emotionally, and a young life out on the frontier. Of course, he fell in love with Elsa Dutton. Then, the 1883 character met his unfortunate end in Episode 5 to bandits.
While fans loved Ennis, there was one thing that stuck out on screen. His teeth. The actor was generally covered in dirt and grime. He looked the part of a cowboy out on the trail. However, his teeth are nice, white, straight, and very healthy. Eric Nelsen tried to get that changed, but Taylor Sheridan shot it down. It wasn’t part of the vision.
Viewers thought that Ennis and his smile stuck out quite a bit. And perhaps, that was the point. Sheridan wanted the look to be set up like this. So, who is to question him? When Nelsen came out with dulled teeth once on set, he was immediately told to change it back. Unfortunately, viewers won’t be seeing Ennis’ pearly white smile anymore this season of 1883.