Sam Elliott Blurted Out How ‘1883’ Journey Ended Before the Show Even Started [Spoiler Alert]
Sam Elliott blurted out a key element of how the journey West ended for one major 1883 character during an interview in advance of the first season of the hit Paramount+ show. Speaking to Taste of Country and other media, the movie icon revealed whether one of the major characters made it all the way to Oregon or not.
1883 is a prequel to Yellowstone, and it follows James Dutton (Tim McGraw), Margeret Dutton (Faith Hill) and their family as they undertake an arduous journey West in search of a better life. Their characters are the great-great-grandparents of Yellowstone patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner), and they will ultimately end up establishing the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch that serves as the setting for the runaway hit show on the Paramount Network.
Elliott stars in the role of Shea Brennan, a Pinkerton agent who has signed on to lead the ragtag wagon train of immigrants that the Duttons are traveling with West through harsh terrain and terrifying challenges. LaMonica Garrett stars as Thomas, a former slave who fought alongside Brennan in the Civil War and then became a Pinkerton agent with him.
Speaking to a virtual press roundtable before 1883 debuted in December of 2021, Elliott shared that the relationship between Brennan and Thomas "is the most important to me in the entire show," adding that he and Garrett had established an especially strong bond off-camera, as well.
"Thomas kinda takes care of Shea along the road, and he keeps talking him out of committing suicide every morning," he pointed out with a chuckle. "You know, that's just part of their deal ... I think Shea's a bit of a psycho on some level, to be honest. He goes off on people, and Thomas brings him back, takes care of him and brings him back."
"I love that relationship," Elliott continued. "And Thomas and his love are the only two ..."
He trailed off and paused, saying, "Well, I can't go there, for the viewers," before abruptly changing his mind. Looking directly into the camera, Elliott clearly stated, "Thomas makes it to Oregon."
That turned out to be absolutely true, as those who've watched 1883 Episode 10 can attest. After a season that took both minor and major characters off the board virtually every week, the finale episode saw most of the would-be settlers die in an attack on what was left of the wagon train after deciding to go their own way, and even the show's narrator, Elsa Dutton (Isabel May), died in the end.
Of all those who set out on the Oregon Trail at the beginning of 1883, only Shea, Thomas, Noemi (Gratiela Brancusi), her children and Josef (Marc Rissmann) actually made it to Oregon in the finale. Flashing forward one year, we see Josef, now alone and on crutches, but still determined to stake his claim as a free man who is finally on his own land, while Thomas, Noemi and her boys also find their dream plot and start planning for their future home and life together.
Elliott's character of Shea Brennan wrapped up in a way that seemed destined since the opening scenes of 1883. He reaches the ocean at the end of Episode 10, and as he sits on the beach and stares out at the waves, he murmurs to his dead wife, "Just look at that, Helen. Isn't it beautiful?" And with that, the camera pulls away as a gunshot rings out and Shea fulfills what he's intended to do all along, ending his life on his own terms after honoring every obligation he took on at the beginning of the journey.
Stay tuned to Taste of Country as we provide ongoing coverage of both Yellowstone and 1883, including episode analysis, news on the shows, cast interviews and more. As part of our comprehensive coverage, check out the Dutton Rules podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
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