Fair warning, Outsiders. We’re about to drop a major spoiler here so if you have not seen the conclusion of “1883,” here’s your chance to stop reading now.
In the final episode of Taylor Sheridan’s “Yellowstone” spinoff, there’s one major death we cannot get over. Yet Lamonica Garrett (Thomas) shares some insight into why that death was necessary for the show to live up to its authenticity.
Tragically, in the arms of her father James Dutton, Elsa (Isabel May) heartbreakingly dies from her injuries she sustained in the last episode. The moment is entirely emotional. Surely fans were cursing Sheridan for killing off his main character and narrater. We all began with Elsa and we thought we’d end with her too. But that wasn’t possible, Garrett argues.
Speaking in an interview with TV Insider, Garrett justifies this ending. Though it’s not what we wanted – or expected – it’s what was right for this story.
“Root canals would take you out back then, so you get shot in the liver with an arrow… When you see television, it’s like, oh, they pulled the rabbit out of the hat and they kind of figured it out or some kind of happy ending, Sam comes in with some great Comanche medicine that no one knew about to save her,” Garrett argues.
He continues his justification, saying:
“But everything about this show has been authentic and real, and it’s been hard to watch, but it’s been like you’re looking back in a mirror of history. It’s the reality. It’s what the Oregon Trail was back then. So a happy ending kind of would’ve defeated what the rest of the season did for us and how truthful it was.”
Isabel May on ‘1883’ Bigger Picture
So many fans had crazy theories about Elsa’s fate – would Sam rescue her? Would she make a miraculous recovery? Some even argued that if Beth Dutton in “Yellowstone” could survive a bombing, Elsa then had to survive, right?
It seems that Sheridan had other plans for Elsa’s story – and what turned out to be her final journey. Though she tragically died along the trail, her character developed beautifully along the way. The heart-wrenching scene is hard to watch. It’s definitely a tearjerker. But her death makes sense, as Garrett claims. The frontier doesn’t care who you are or how young you might be. Death is all around, as Elsa once said herself.
When actress Isabel May found out the “bigger picture” of “1883,” she says she accepted it – because it was always Taylor Sheridan’s story to tell.
“I’ve been let in. I haven’t poked and prodded, personally. Because I’ve never been one to do that. But he’s always been very forthright with me. And it’s probably because I don’t poke and prod,” May says of learning the overall story.
She also adds:
“That’s probably the greatest thing about this project. It’s Taylor’s baby, and I don’t think people understand how much it means to him. I certainly don’t want to speak on his behalf, but he’s expressed that.”