1883 gave Yellowstone fans a peek into the world of the first generation of Duttons who settled their Montana land and turned it into the Dutton Ranch. Five generations later, it’s in the hands of John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and he’s fighting everyone who’s trying to take it.
After the 1883 finale, Tim McGraw (James Dutton) explains the prequel gave fans “all the reasons in the world” why John Dutton won’t sell an inch of his land.
Before 1883, it was difficult for some fans to understand why John Dutton was so passionate about holding on to every piece of the family’s land. They hinted at the reasons in Season 2, when John promises his 90-year-old dad that he wouldn’t give up an inch of the Dutton Ranch. Instead, he will pass it down to his children. Just like the generations that came before him.
In 1883, after a brutal journey on the Oregon Trail, James and Margaret’s (Faith Hill) teenage daughter Elsa (Isabel May) died following an arrow wound to her liver. Instead of continuing to Oregon, the Duttons decided to remain in Montana and build a new life on the site where they lost their daughter.
“When we got the final two [scripts], we literally couldn’t read them to each other because we were crying so much — I mean, ugly, boohoo crying,” McGraw told Variety.
“I was a blubbering idiot. It was just so well-written, so devastating and heartbreaking, but at the same time, so on point and poignant for what Yellowstone turned out to be. It just gives you all the reasons in the world why they fight so hard for that land and why their family fights so hard to keep what they have. It just made perfect sense.”
Now, we have another Dutton prequel to look forward to!