Like some of us here at Outsider, James Dutton doesn’t have much faith that our favorite 1883 heroine will survive after Sunday’s brutal attack—cue the waterworks.
“I don’t think [James] has any hope at all,” his actor Tim McGraw said during an interview with TVLine.
Warning. If you’re not caught up with Taylor Sheridan’s most recent work of art, you may want to stop here. There are major spoilers ahead.
In the last installment of 1883, the epic season 1 opening scene finally came full circle. Of course, in that scene, Elsa Dutton wakes up in the middle of an Indian ambush. And as she attempts to kill one of the attackers, he shoots her in the abdomen with an arrow.
As we found out this week, the reason she was there was because a band of horse thieves had killed all of the women and children at a Comanche camp while the men were away hunting. And as the Dutton wagon train members made their way past, they left hoove marks around the scene.
Because of that, the tribe thought they were responsible for the murders, and the men hunted down the pack to seek vengeance.
When the Comanche finally caught up to them, Elsa was riding ahead of the group. And the warriors began to chase her.
While the wagons circled, Elsa desperately tried to make her way back. But with a sudden change of heart, she decided to veer away from her friends and family in hopes of pulling a group of warriors with her and giving the train a better chance of survival.
However, the indians managed to catch up with her and knock her off her horse. When she woke up, she was with a small group of travelers who had broken away from the train.
‘1883’s’ Elsa Dutton Saved Her Family, But Her Bravery May Have Cost Elsa Her Life
After Elsa took the shot to her stomach, she continued to shoot at the warriors. And when they finally narrowed in on her, she started speaking in her husband’s native tongue, which caused them to retreat.
After learning that Elsa was married into a friendly tribe, they gave her the chance to explain that her wagon train wasn’t responsible for the attack at the camp. And furthermore, she told them that her father was out hunting the men who were.
In the end, Elsa’s selfless sacrifice left her horribly wounded in the middle of the Oregan trail. And her parents realized there was no chance she’d survive.
During the final moments of the episode, we watched as James and Margaret vowed to make her last days on earth beautiful.
“She needs to see every sunrise and every sunset,” James said. “And we will lie to her, and we tell her she’s fine. And we will let her look at this world with those big dreamer eyes, ’cause they can’t see anymore.”
By the end, Elsa was back on her horse, which could be a good sign. But as McGraw shared, James doesn’t have a shred of hope that his daughter can stave off a fatal infection.
In a perfect world, Elsa will narrowly escape death and return to Sam. Because at this point, we love her just as much as James does.
And it wouldn’t be out of character for Taylor Sheridan to pull a major twist like that, either. But we won’t find out until Sunday when the season closure debuts on Paramount+.