It has been a while since I was utterly gobsmacked and left wordless following a television show, but 1883, an origin story for the hugely popular Yellowstone series (which I’ve yet to start) did that. It is available today on Blu-ray and DVD from Paramount Pictures.
Written and created by Taylor Sheridan, who also created Yellowstone, the limited series ran for ten episodes and followed a wagon train on its journey along the Oregon Trail. The story follows a number of characters but central to the story is the Dutton family, providing the connection with the series set in the modern era.
We are introduced to the Duttons, James (Tim McGraw), Margaret (Faith Hill), their daughter, Elsa (Isabel May) and John (Audie Rick) as they join with Shea Brennan (Sam Elliott, who is in fine form, and never seems more comfortable than when he is under the brim of a cowboy hat) and Thomas (LaMonica Garrett), who are leading a wagon train of immigrants east, in search of land and freedom to call their own.
It is a powerful story, a coming-of-age tale for Elsa, and it brings to vivid life the dangers and horrors of those who pursued Manifest Destiny in order to make a little bit of the Americas their own.
We get to know all of the characters (and meet a few welcome guest supporting actors) through the course of the series, and consequently, the events that happen have more impact on the viewer. There is a difference between reading about these things and seeing them brought to life, living them vicariously through the characters on the screen.
It’s a powerful ride, epic in scope, and cinematic in visuals. It’s a beautiful series.
The episodes are spread over three discs, they are accompanied by a brief glimpse behind the scenes and the story of each instalment. The third disc also includes other special features that take the viewer deeper into the creation of the series, how it ties in with Yellowstone, the casting, the production, and of course, the other star of the show, the locations.
I binged this series insanely quickly, as I had to know what happened next, whether it would be something to delight me or wreck me, there was plenty of each. I wanted to follow the story to its completion and ride with these characters.
I was of two minds as soon as I finished the series. I wanted to restart it immediately to rewatch it knowing the arcs and storylines, and I wanted to dive into Yellowstone.
1883: A Yellowstone Origin Story is available today from Paramount Canada on Blu-Ray and DVD! Treat yourself and check this one out, you won’t be disappointed.