A Yellowstone Origin Story
review by Bobby Blakey
When Yellowstone hit the airwaves in 2018 who would have known that it would have been the monster hit it is now heading into its fifth season. After much success it was announced that a creator Tyler Sheridan would be bringing a prequel spin off series with the first being 1883 starring Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Isabel May, LaMonica Garrett, Marc Rissmann, Audie Rick, Eric Nelsen and James Landry Hébert. Could this straight up western story keep the lineage in line or will it never survive on the trail?
1883 follows the Dutton family as they embark on a journey through the Great Plains. It is a stark retelling of Western expansion, and an intense study of one family fleeing poverty to seek a better future in America’s promised-land, Montana.
This show had big shoes to fill going in and the complete different tone to the whole thing made me a bit concerned going in. That was dispelled pretty quickly after the first episode. Right out the gate it sets everything up, introduces us to the characters and sets the tone across the board. I’m not sure of the story I thought we were getting, but really glad in the direction this series goes.
Of course it is about the Dutton family, but there is so much more here. The use of the migration of these people that the Duttons alongside Brennan and Thomas as they guide the immigrants to Montana opens the door to not only finding their way to this new home, but the dangers of the open range. Around every corner there is something else from starvation to weather and both Indians and bandits.
The entire cast here are all excellent with Elliott being the stand out for me. His subtle yet powerful performance is easiest one of the best of his career. Despite his older age you still believe that he would crack you
right over the heard if necessary and it’s that presence that reminds you why he is the one leading the caravan. Thomas played by LaMonica Garrett is his right hand man and they have great chemistry together. The respect and friendship they share shines through and is the heart of the show in my opinion.
McGraw and Hill play the Duttons and their real life relationship chemistry shines through as they struggle with not only the harsh realities of the trail, but parenting and their own marriage. They are both so good here, but it’s Isabel May who plays their daughter that is really carrying the show. It comes off more like her story than the Dutton family, but in reality she brings everything together from start to finish.
The show is just so great on every level offering up all the things you want in a western and in a show holding the Yellowstone name. For those not in the know this is the only season of this show in this iteration as it is shifting the focus for the next season to the year 1923 as it continues the journey of the Dutton lineage. Even better that if you have never seen an episode of Yellowstone you can still dive into this right out the gate and still enjoy every aspect of it all its own.
In addition to all 10 episodes of the series this release offers up over two hours of bonus content including the never-before-seen featurettes “A Land of Peril & Wonder: The Journey of 1883” and “From Cast to Cowboys: Creating the Pioneer Spirit” as well as additional behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew and much more.
Grab your copy of 1883: A Yellowstone Origin Story when it hits Blu-ray and DVD on August 30th from Paramount Home Entertainment.