‘1883’: Isabel May Says Elsa Dutton’s Narration Brings ‘New Perspective’ to Westerns

by Jonathan Howard

Outsider’s own Jon D.B. talked to the cast of 1883. Isabel May broke down what she thinks about her character, Elsa Dutton narrating the show.

Of course, 1883 viewers know that the story is told from the perspective of Elsa. The character is a young woman, a teenager at the start of this journey. Where she ends up, no one really knows. Faith Hill has played a big part in her development.

Here is what Isabel May said to Outsider about why she thinks that her narration on 1883 is so different and why it fits the show.

“I think Elsa is someone that can’t be dishonest,” the actress said. “She is this pure… in the beginning naive… The way that she views the world, she’s so alive. And she appreciates everything so much, to such a degree.”

As soon as we see Elsa in the premiere of the show, we know that she is filled with wonder. Everything for the young woman from Tennessee is new and exciting. All of the new landscapes, people, the journey itself fills the character with awe.

The 1883 star continued and talked about how unique Elsa’s perspective truly is.

“I think a young woman at that time, that age, is just a perspective we’ve never seen in a Western,” May explained. “So, it makes it all the more interesting when she’s just so in love with her surroundings. And then the backdrop to that is how difficult that experience was. So it’s this interesting contrast between the beauty of the world that she sees. And the hardship, the reality of it. I think that brings the series to life in a unique way.”

‘1883’ Star Isabel May Dedicated to Historical Research

Isabel May has a big job to do on the show. Not only is she the narrator that moves the story forward for 1883 she is also a very integral character in that story. That might be an obvious statement, but it does matter when talking about the role she plays on the show. Thankfully, the young actress knows that she has a big role to play.

So, to get prepared for her portrayal of a 19th-century young woman on the Oregon Trail, May started to read. She didn’t just read textbooks. She read first-hand accounts. The actress “read probably 50 books” in preparation for her role as Elsa Dutton.

It is clear that Taylor Sheridan and his culture of historical accuracy have trickled down throughout the cast and crew. That means a better show and product for fans to see each week. This Sunday will be a brand new episode of 1883.