‘1883’: The Tragic Timeline of Elsa and Ennis’ Relationship

by Amy Myers
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As the 1883 caravan began their journey through Texas, Elsa Dutton began her own emotional journey as she grew from a child to a woman before her parents’ eyes, thanks to the cowboy named Ennis. Within the first few episodes of the show, the 19-year-old fell in love with the humorous yet genuine man. And their relationship has forever changed who Elsa is and how she views the world.

Warning: Major 1883 spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk.

Ennis and Elsa’s relationship began to flourish when her father, James, elected to make her a part of the crew that would help herd the cattle. Skilled with both a saddle and a pistol, the young girl was the perfect candidate for the role. Soon enough, she met fellow cowboys, Wade and Ennis, and already, the latter had his sights set on Elsa. Luckily for him, she was just as interested.

And he wasn’t the only one who noticed. All the while, as they began to flirt and share tantalizing looks across the herd, James and Margaret Dutton kept watch.

James Gives the Match His Approval

While James, like any 1883 father, wasn’t looking forward to the day he had to give his daughter away to another man, he recognized the connection that Ennis and Elsa had. Both were able to take care of themselves and seemed to bring out the best in each other.

So, being the understanding yet protective father he was, James gave Ennis his permission to court his daughter. According to James’ definition, this meant the two could ” talk and go on rides and talk…”

But, he warned Ennis, “You break her heart or get handsy… you and me are gonna have a problem.”

Ennis and Elsa Make Their Next Moves

Soon enough, though, those talks turned into something much more intimate.

One night, while watching the cattle, Elsa began singing to them to keep them calm and quiet as the rest of the camp slept. Then Ennis appeared and two shared a romantic moment under the stars, and Ennis gave the 19-year-old her first kiss.

Following a conversation with her mother, Elsa decided she was ready for more than just a kiss. While Ennis stood at the edge of camp another evening, she led him away into the grasses where they laid together.

Ennis’ Tragic End in ‘1883’

When Elsa’s father found out about their physical relationship, he took matters into his own hands, literally. The 1883 father punched Ennis square in the face and would have kept going, had Elsa not stepped in and informed him that she loved him. The oddly tense yet sweet moment resulted in a marriage proposal, and all was well between the father and his future son-in-law.

Unfortunately, talks of a wedding between Ennis and Elsa didn’t last very long. During a shoot out with a crew of bandits, the cowboy suffered a fatal shot. His final words to James were “I loved her.”

Elsa, overcome with grief, sobbed over Ennis’ body. In a matter of seconds, their short yet fervent love story had come to a tragic end.

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