Did the Yellowstone Prequel 1883 Have Enough Story for a Second Season?

The 1883 finale featured some tragic losses and hopeful futures, leaving fans wondering if the Yellowstone prequel could continue into Season 2.


Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone prequel 1883 recently came to a heart-shattering conclusion, with Isabel May’s Elsa Dutton dying in her father’s arms when she succumbed to her injuries from a Lakota arrow. As the tears begin to dry, fans find themselves wondering what might be next for the Dutton clan. Although the show was renewed for Season 2, Sheridan’s recent comments in the press make it more likely that the story will continue in the recently-announced 1932. That new series will pick up 59 years after the events of 1883 and include such events as the Great Depression and Prohibition.

So while it seems likely that the 1883 season finale “This is Not Your Heaven” will also serve as the series finale, speculation abounds as to what shape a proper Season 2 might have taken. By the time the Dutton saga resumes in 1923, most of 1883‘s surviving players will either have passed on or be exceedingly old. If their story had been allowed to go on — after all, viewers had already gotten quite attached to many of the characters — would the journey have been worth it? Or was it best to end the series where it is?

The 1883 finale offered a flash-forward that picked up one year later and showed the fates of the surviving characters. But Season 2 could have filled in some of that time, showing viewers how they got to the places where they ended up. One plot thread that captivated fans throughout the series was the love story between LaMonica Garrett’s Civil War vet Thomas and Noemi, the widowed mother played by Gratiela Brancusi. Fans learn that the two found their way to Oregon and built a happy life with Noemi’s two boys. Given the characters’ popularity, Season 2 could have hooked many fans by exploring their relationship.


A second season of 1883 could have also provided a deeper dive into the lives of Tim McGraw’s James Dutton and Faith Hill’s Margaret Dutton as they dealt with the fallout of losing their daughter. The two actors appeared in flashbacks during Yellowstone‘s fourth season that showed the couple living on the Dutton ranch in 1893. Season 2 could’ve detailed their journey to Montana and the early days of the ranch. Some screen time could also be given to Elsa’s brothers John and Spenser, as they processed the grief of losing their older sister and adjusted to their new lives.

But although there are many stories left untold with the characters of 1883, the series also works well as a closed loop. It was a 10-hour epic Western that filled in a large part of the Dutton family history, giving additional context and depth to the popular world of Yellowstone. At the same time, it also left its own massive fingerprint on the genre. Viewers wouldn’t be so upset about the lack of a second season if the first hadn’t connected so strongly with audiences.

Sheridan has clearly moved forward to his next Yellowstone prequel, so the best fans can hope for now is that 1923 includes some callbacks to or references about the 1883 characters that they came to love. A second season would’ve been great — but it wasn’t necessary to do what the series was intended for, which was to expand the Yellowstone universe.


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