‘1883’ Finale: Tim McGraw Said It Was Difficult Not to Get ‘Too Emotional’

by Courtney Blackann

When Tim McGraw and Faith Hill found out about the conclusion of “1883,” they couldn’t stop crying. Preparing for what was to come didn’t stop the flood of emotions. And McGraw shared that up to that pivotal moment in the show, he struggled to keep it together.

If you haven’t seen the conclusion of “1883,” you should definitely stop reading now.

The poetic, poignant end to Elsa Dutton (Isabel May) comes after speculation the girl might be somehow saved. During episode 9 of the series, the young woman is struck with an arrow through her liver. Though she brilliantly defends the wagon party, her fate seems sealed: she will die.

Fans of the show heavily speculated that Taylor Sheridan wouldn’t let his main character end this way. And yet, the writer did exactly that. In the arms of her father James, after an emotional goodbye, Elsa succumbs to her injuries.

And Tim McGraw says, like so many fans, he could barely get through it. After all, we all fell in love with Elsa throughout the 10 episodes of the brilliantly written Western drama.

The Moment Tim McGraw Knew Elsa’s Fate

Speaking in an interview with Variety, McGraw opened up about learning Elsa’s fate – and then acting through it.

“When we got the final two, we literally couldn’t read them to each other because we were crying so much — I mean, ugly, boohoo crying,” says McGraw.

He continues, adding, “I was a blubbering idiot. It was just so well-written, so devastating and heartbreaking, but at the same time, so on point and poignant for what ‘Yellowstone’ turned out to be. It just gives you all the reasons in the world why they fight so hard for that land and why their family fights so hard for to keep what they have. It just made perfect sense.”

By making this connection, viewers might also have a better understanding of the future generation of Duttons. It’s as if to say, look at all their ancestors lost and look what they fought for…this is why we’re fighting now. If you think about it in these terms, Elsa had to die. It had to be a part of this story. Though it doesn’t make her sacrifice any less jarring.

“1883” Star’s Struggle to Balance Emotions

Tim McGraw further goes on to say where he had to be careful.

“The hardest part for us, I think, was to not be emotional too early. Both of our characters are really strong people and wanted to be strong for our family. So that was the hardest thing for us, because we do have daughters and because Isabella, when we first walked on set and saw her, we said, “My gosh, she looks she could be one of our daughters.”

He adds: “It was great casting. But you do become emotionally invested and you do bring your real-life situation into the way you act. You find that piece of your life or a piece of who you are and you can sort of put it under a magnifying glass. It does expose all those emotions, and it’s hard as a parent, playing that role — you don’t want to go to any dark places in your mind about your kid. So you have to keep trying to block that out and still be in the moment with the character that you’re playing and the characters you’re playing opposite of, but the lines do get blurry.”