‘1883’: James Dutton Embodies Classic Dad Moment When He Catches His Daughter Kissing Cowboy

by Amy Myers
Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2021 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Raising a teenage daughter on the Oregon Trail is no small feat, but somehow, James Dutton manages to keep a level head in 1883 – well, most of the time.

Early on in the series, Elsa Dutton made it very clear to her parents that she would be a handful. And while she could certainly take care of herself in terms of natural dangers, she tends to find trouble when she finds someone to lock eyes with. Elsa’s family saved her from a precarious exchange on the train in Episode 1 of 1883, but now, she found someone that matches her playful nature and knowledge of the land – a cowboy named Ennis.

We don’t know much about the ruggedly handsome Ennis just yet – besides the fact that he provides some much-needed comic relief in moments with heavy emotion. But we do know that he’s just as crazy for Elsa as she is for him. Good news for the two lovebirds, bad news for dad.

The two 1883 characters have flirted plenty in the past, and Ennis even won over James’ approval to court the young pioneer-ess. However, as expected for courtship in the 1800s, there wasn’t much physical interaction.

Then came the moment when the two shared a kiss (or several) underneath the moonlight while watching the cattle herd. And what a wonderfully romantic moment that was – until they realized James had seen them “swapping supper.”

“Are you gonna shoot me?” a wide-eyed Ennis asked.

“Thinkin’ about it,” the muffed father answered.

‘1883’ Father Shares Sweet Moment with Teenage Daughter

Thankfully, instead of drawing his pistol, James decided to mozy away, giving Elsa a knowing look. Worried she’d angered her father, the 19-year-old rode after him.

“You like him?” James asked.

“I do,” the 1883 teen said with a sweet smile.

“Then why would I be mad?” he answered.

Although watching his daughter lock lips with another traveler isn’t something James necessarily wants to see, he understood that she is now an adult. Throughout their journey, Elsa had seen pioneers, one after another, die from awful conditions. In those weeks on the Oregon Trail, she had matured more than ever before. Because of this, James knew he couldn’t treat her “like a child” when it suits him.

“You’re one or the other,” the 1883 father concluded.

But that was just one parent’s opinion.

“Your mother is gonna be a different story,” James told Elsa.

Indeed, Margaret Dutton was a force to be reckoned with. When she finds out about her daughter’s relationship with Ennis, that’s when the cowboy will really have someone to fear.

Hopefully, we’ll get to see this conversation play out next Sunday when Episode 5 of 1883 airs.