‘1883’ Finale: The Reference to ‘Yellowstone’ You Probably Missed

by Amy Myers

While you don’t have to be a Yellowstone fan to enjoy the first season of 1883, having a current understanding of the Dutton family definitely gives a greater context to the plot that creator Taylor Sheridan has put in motion. And, not to mention, it’ll help you catch little Easter eggs that he implements throughout both shows.

Warning: Major 1883 spoilers ahead. Continue reading at your own risk.

Now that Season 1 of 1883 has officially concluded, fans have started to recognize some similarities between the dramatic finale and the debut episode of Yellowstone. Of course, this shouldn’t be too surprising to fans of Sheridan’s latest franchise, since 1883 is supposed to be a part of the prequel to the original series. However, fans didn’t expect there to be such a parallel between the experiences of James Dutton and his descendant, John. On Reddit, a few fans of the Yellowstone verse gathered to speak to the similarities they saw in these two crucial scenes.

Think back to the moment when James took Elsa on horseback ahead of the rest of the caravan in the 1883 finale. At the time, Elsa already knew her fate, and so did her parents. So, she wanted to be in control of where they laid her body. Once the father and daughter reached Montana, the young cowgirl found a spot where she wanted to “rest for a bit.”

As we know, that’s when James leaned against a tree and held his dying daughter close to him for the last time. And just before she passed, a little songbird pecked at the ground before them.

How Elsa’s Final Moment in ‘1883’ Compares to ‘Yellowstone’ Scene

Now, go back to the very first episode of Yellowstone when John Dutton lost his oldest son, Lee. At the time, Lee was on horseback when the conspirators murdered him. John lowered his deceased son off of the saddle and laid with him against a tree, intending to “rest for a bit.”

During his last moments with his oldest child, a little bird chirps near them, punctuating the emotional moment.

Sound familiar?

Of course, there are several notable differences between the 1883 finale scene and the Yellowstone pilot scene. Unlike Elsa, who was in the process of taking her final few breaths, Lee had been dead for hours when John removed him from the horse. And, while Lee suffered the fatal shot while in a firefight with cattle thieves, Elsa’s wound came from some misinformed members of the Comanche tribe who believed they were responsible for the deaths of their people.

Still, the major components of the episodes’ storylines remain the same, poignantly reminding us of the heartbreakingly repetitive nature of life and death.