‘1883’ Star Tim McGraw Says James Dutton Doubts His Journey West in ‘Every Single Moment’

by Liz Holland

The most recent episode of “1883” has fans on the edge of their seats, wondering if Elsa Dutton will survive. The show largely focuses on the brutal journey the Dutton family takes across the Oregon Trail, a trek that is riddled with danger and sickness.

At the beginning of Episode 9, Elsa comments on how the stretch of land they’re about to pass through is especially cruel. She remarks that “winter waits in the mountains” to bury them. The episode gets brutal fast, leaving 12 migrants dead and Elsa with an arrow straight through her liver. Many fans are theorizing that the show may kill off its narrator, as Elsa isn’t seen in an 1883 preview. 

Now, there are other possible explanations for Elsa’s absence, but the uncertainty has fans anxiously awaiting the final episode of Season 1. James Dutton is leading his family through this treacherous journey to lead them to a better life, but certainly feels guilt for the suffering endured along the way. In a recent interview with TV Line, Tim McGraw laid out what his character, James Dutton is truly feeling through it all. 

“I think James doubted it every single day and every single moment,” he said. McGraw recalled that at one point about halfway through the season, he sat down with show creator Taylor Sheridan. Sheridan and McGraw discussed his character’s misgivings during the chat. “I said, ‘You know, I can’t imagine a scenario where James ever sleeps in this entire show. With all the decisions he had to make, all the worry that he had, all the doubt.”

‘1883’ Has Not Been Easy on James Dutton and His Family

Viewers who have been watching “1883” since the beginning of the season know that the Dutton family has run into plenty of problems on their journey, some before they even left Texas. Still, McGraw says the Duttons aren’t the type of people to give up so easily. 

“I don’t think it was in the Dutton genetics to turn around and stop,” McGraw said. “Certainly there was doubt every day about what he had gotten his family into, and you read it in his eyes a lot of the time when things were going badly… He’s a tough guy, but he cared a lot about everybody that was on that trip. He may not have shown it, but you could see by his actions, he put his life on the line for everybody, constantly.”

And a lot of the time, James’ bravery has kept his family safe. Even by the end of the brutal episode, Elsa was back on her horse, which has given some fans hope. However, we’ll have to wait until Sunday for real answers. The 10th and final episode of this season premieres on Paramount+ this Sunday. New content on the streaming service typically goes live right at 12:00am PT. And of course, Outsider will be there for you with all the latest coverage on the Taylor Sheridan series.