Yellowstone: 1883 Kills Off Its First Major Character in Heartbreaking Episode

Every episode of 1883 has talked heavily about the dangers that lie ahead on the trail to Oregon, and viewers have watched as several settlers lost their lives as a part of the journey so far. The major characters in the story, however, have managed to escape the death and tragedy they always talk about. That unfortunately changed during Sunday night's newest episode, "The Fangs of Freedom." In the fifth episode of the acclaimed Yellowstone prequel series, a fan-favorite character was killed, setting in motion a much darker tale for the back half of the season.

WARNING: This article contains major spoilers from the latest episode of 1883! Continue reading at your own risk...

Elsa Dutton acts as the narrator of 1883, and her hope in the world around her has kept things lighthearted at times, especially when Ennis is involved. The two characters have developed a love story over the first five episodes, providing much of the heart of the series. "The Fangs of Freedom" dealt directly with their story, making it a focus of the episode, setting viewers up for a tragic ending. 

Despite actor Eric Nelson being a series regular on 1883, and being featured in the opening credits of each episode, Ennis has concluded his journey on the Oregon Trail. The new episode concludes with Ennis being shot by a bandit, trying to protect Elsa, and losing his life.

The big conflict in "The Fangs of Freedom" is a pack of bandits that has been following the caravan, hoping to pick off some of its members and steal their food and supplies. The leaders of the caravan set a trap to take out the bandits, and the operation is mostly successful, as five of the six bandits are killed. As one of them made their way to herd of cattle where Elsa and Ennis were located, Ennis rode out to stop him. Both men shot the other, and Ennis' wound was fatal.

The episode concludes with Elsa murdering the one remaining bandit to get revenge for Ennis' death. It was an especially brutal outcome for the characters because that same episode saw their love story blossom even further. They agreed to get married to one another and went so far as to tell James and Margaret as much. Sadly, their story only lasted another few hours after that.

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