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1883 is the first prequel series in the Yellowstone franchise. It premiered on December 18, 2021, on Paramount+ and featured ten seasons.
1883 follows James and Margaret Dutton, along with their children Elsa and John, as they flee their life of poverty in Tennessee. The Duttons join and wagon train in Texas before settling in Montana and going on the establish the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.
The neo-western series is focused on primarily Elsa’s experience. Elsa Dutton was played by the talented American actress Isabel May.
From experiencing the joy of love and the heartbreak of loss, Elsa proved to be strong for her age.
Though she was just 17, she was a free spirit, seeing the beauty in everything but knowing how to get through tough situations.
In addition to being the main character of the show, Elsa also narrated 1883 as well.
While many fans thought Elsa would continue on to be a part of the Yellowstone universe, she died in the season one finale.
Many people were left shocked by Elsa’s death. She was such an important character in the show that it seemed a surprising move to kill her off.
Isabel May left 1883 as Elsa Dutton because her death in the show was vital for the storyline. Since she knew she was dying, her family let Elsa choose her final resting place.
The place she chose to die is the land where the Dutton family settled and established the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.
So, Isabel May did not leave 1883, but instead, Elsa’s death was a creative decision. Her death was quintessential for the establishment of Yellowstone Dutton Ranch in Paradise Valley, Montana.
If Elsa would have lived, the Dutton family would have probably continued on the wagon train until its final destination in Oregon. However, her death resulted in them ending their journey early and settling in Montana.
Before filming began, May knew that Elsa would die at the end of season one. She was able to come to terms with her character’s fate ahead of time.
“It was the first sentence he uttered when he called me, so I’ve had quite some time to just be comfortable with that. And I think it’s a beautiful, very real story. It’s tragic, of course, but it’s reflective of, unfortunately, most people’s journeys at that time,” said May regarding Elsa’s death.
Also, see our comprehensive Dutton family tree infographic.
There will be a second season of 1883, but it will take a different direction from season one. The second season will be known as 1883: The Bass Reaves Story, and instead of following the Duttons, it will focus on Bass Reaves.
The new storyline will tell the tale of Bass Reaves, who is famous for being the first black deputy of the U.S. Marshals to serve West of the Mississippi River.
Reaves had the ability to speak multiple Native American languages and during his career, he arrested over 3,000 outlaws. He is believed to be the inspiration behind the iconic cowboy character The Lone Ranger.
There is no indication if the Dutton family will be featured at all in 1883: The Bass Reaves Story. It is unclear if Isabel May will return to narrate the second season.
Also read: Who the 1883 Cast Are Dating in Real-Life
Fans were shocked to hear Isabel May narrating the teaser trailer for the upcoming Yellowstone prequel. Since she narrated the teaser trailer it is likely that she will also be narrating the entire series.
See the official 1923 trailer below:
1923 follows in the footsteps of 1883 as the second Yellowstone prequel series. It will focus on Jacob Dutton, the brother of James Dutton, along with his wife Cara as they run the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.
1923 will premiere on December 18, 2022, on Paramount+. The series will follow two generations of Duttons during the start of the 20th century as they navigate life through drought, pandemic and the Great Depression.
Read our full guide on the 1923 Yellowstone prequel series.