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The 1883 Character Who Got The Most Sympathy From Fans

Contains spoilers for the Season 1 finale of "1883"

After 10 intense episodes, the first season of "1883," the prequel series to Taylor Sheridan's smash hit "Yellowstone," came to a bittersweet end

The series tells the story of how John Dutton's (Kevin Costner) great-grandfather James (Tim McGraw), his wife Margaret (Faith Hill), son John (Audie Rick), and daughter Elsa (Isabel May) made their way to the site of the future Yellowstone Ranch in Montana. Narrated by Elsa, the "Yellowstone" prequel chronicles the Duttons' journey across the rugged American frontier of the Old West. Along the way, the Duttons and other wagon train members encounter countless setbacks, including unforgiving terrain, bandits, hostile adversaries, and a natural disaster. Throughout the series, the pioneers' numbers dwindle until only a handful of survivors remain. "1883" provides a brief but bleak glimpse into the hardships settlers faced, and at the center of it all is Elsa, who experiences love and loss along the way.

In a heartbreaking twist of fate, the finale sees Elsa succumbing to an arrow wound, which we learn is why the Duttons decide to ultimately settle in Montana. Elsa isn't the only beloved character who meets a grim end. There is another character from the series whose untimely death generated a lot of fan sympathy. 

Fans feel sorry for Ennis

Across the "1883" subreddit, fans are expressing disappointment regarding the storyline of Ennis (Eric Nelsen), the cowboy who steals Elsa's heart before being shot and killed in Episode 5. Despite being Elsa's first love, he all but vanishes from the series after his death, not even appearing in Elsa's vision of the afterlife, where she is reunited with the man she eventually married, Sam (Martin Sensmeier). 

"Falls in love, gets killed and doesn't even get to hang out in his fiance's heaven," wrote u/daesgatling on one Reddit thread about Ennis' fate on the show. "But she's probably there in his version of heaven," responded u/Melcrys29. Others weren't as optimistic. Redditor u/alcoholicplankton69 wrote, "still though maybe he didn't make it there and has to watch her version of heaven which is his hell?"

Elsa loves Ennis enough to murder the man who kills him, but her heartache is short-lived, and she falls for Sam in Episode 8. Her brief mourning period and subsequent romance with Sam didn't sit well with some fans. "Personally I found the Sam story the strangest part of the whole series. Elsa could have learned Comanche culture without having to fall in love," wrote u/AVeryAverageTexan. While Elsa's relationship with Sam proves pivotal later in the series, some viewers think one romantic storyline would have been plenty. "Yea I kinda wish they left the ennis arc out or the sam one, no need for both. Kinda comes off as Elsa falling in love with anybody she found on the trail," stated u/paris_felony.

1883 fans prefer Ennis over Sam

On "1883," Elsa strives to be independent, so it feels a bit contradictory that she gets not one but two significant love interests. However, each romance adds more depth to Elsa's character, illustrating her willingness to live in the moment on a journey where surviving from one day to the next isn't guaranteed.

The audience may judge Elsa for being fickle when it comes to her first love interest, but fans remain steadfast in their devotion to the fallen cowboy. "Ennis arc was better than Sams. It was weird lol," wrote u/200milxp." Redditor u/OneSensiblePerson agreed, writing, "I also preferred Ennis's character and arc to Sam's, although Sam really didn't get an arc. Ennis was more fun!" Elsa and Sam didn't have a traditional courtship, as they met under extreme circumstances.

However, many fans seem to agree that it would have been better to have no Ennis at all than to see his storyline come to such an unsatisfying conclusion. "Why did we even have the Ennis arc, it was way longer than Sam's too and it's like he's just disappeared," questioned u/eta_carinae311. "Yea that character is basically an afterthought since his death episode..." stated u/RJNieder. Sorry, Ennis, we hardly knew ye. RIP.