Isabel May as Elsa of the Paramount+ original series 1883
Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ (C) 2022 MTV Entertainment Studios

'1883' Recap: Elsa Makes a Life Changing Decision


Somehow we're already only a couple of episodes away from the end of the debut season of Yellowstone prequel 1883. It's been a wild ride getting to know the Dutton family as they begin their journey north alongside a group of German immigrants and a couple of Civil War veterans. James Dutton (Tim McGraw) and Shea Brennan (Sam Elliott) have developed quite the dynamic and have easily fit into the world that creator Taylor Sheridan has developed. In episode eight, "The Weep of Surrender," Elsa makes a life-changing decision, Shea and James differ on what they think should happen with the group, and the immigrants shift their trust to a different leader.

Here are our five biggest takeaways from episode eight of 1883.

Read More: Sam Elliott 'Jabbed' Tim McGraw For Forgetting His Line on '1883'

1. Shea Brennan vs James Dutton

After losing nearly everything in the tornado, Shea invites the local Native American tribe to come and trade so that they can build up their resources. Left with only eight wagons, the veteran gives the group two choices for their journey -- they can either continue their regular route to Fort Laramie, which would put them in the South Pass in the middle of winter, or they could head to Denver. The land wouldn't be free like Oregon, but they would be alive. In a surprising turn, James Dutton volunteers to let anyone wanting to continue north to travel with him. Josef and the immigrants decide to travel with the Duttons, abandoning the trust they once placed in Shea.


2. Elsa and Sam grow closer

Elsa tells her new love interest that she has no interest in continuing with the group. She wants to stay where she is with Sam, a Comanche warrior. He declares that he needs to present something to her father for her hand in marriage. Together, they stumble upon a herd of buffalo and he helps her kill one. They bring it down and take bites out of its heart...a sign of sharing its strength. Elsa is completely in awe of the Commanches and their customs, much to the dismay of her mother Margaret.

3. Thomas doesn't want to travel without Shea

Unfortunately for Shea, Thomas made a promise to Noemi to see her and her boys up to Oregon. He begs him to come with their group on the journey as planned and he relents. But Shea tells James that he needs to be the leader of the group now; He'll protect them from the sidelines instead. James accepts, genuinely impressed by how far the group has made it so far.

4. James and Margaret lose Elsa to Sam...kind of

Sam presents James with a horse for Elsa's hand and there's really nothing the Duttons can do to stand in their way. Elsa and Sam seal their union in the fields and she tells her mother that she will accompany them to Oregon before returning back to where she plans on raising her children. Margaret just watches her and Sam, powerless to her daughter's passions and quick decision making.

5. Elsa doesn't abandon her family yet

I'm very curious to see what happens with Elsa. She loves quickly and passionately and has been declared married to Sam. She chooses to see the journey to Oregon through, undoubtedly to help with the cattle, but Sam doesn't join her. They make plans to meet back up "when the flowers bloom," which would be the following June. Are they going to make it? It's anyone's guess.


I'm also reminded of that opening scene from the very first episode, in which Elsa was in the middle of a field as the group is attacked by an unnamed group of Native Americans. She's wearing a dress (which we know she hates), but, after rewatching it, I noticed that she has the wooden beads braided into her hair that we saw in this episode. I wonder how much further in the journey this scene is...

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