"“I think cities have weakened us, as a species. Mistakes have no consequences there. Step into the road without looking, and the carriage merely stops with swerves. The only consequence, an angry driver. But here, there can be no mistakes. Because here doesn’t care. The river doesn’t care if you can swim. The snake doesn’t care how much you love your children, and the wolf has no interest in your dreams. If you fail to beat the current, you will drown. If you get too close, you will be bitten. If you are too weak, you will be eaten.”"- Elsa Dutton
1883 episode 5 starts off with Noah and Ennis deeply warning Elsa about bandits and to never go anywhere alone. Food and supplies are not the only things they like to take. A beautiful woman is not far from reach.
Shea is in an emotional state these days. Thomas assumed it was him missing his family, but there’s where he was wrong. They were losing so many people. So many husbands and leaving so many widows and orphaned children. It shows you the heart that Shea has grown for these people. Once a man who called them useless immigrants who would never survive this journey has become a man who feels guilt for not being able to protect the people he was hired to help cross the plains.
Margaret is still not too keen on her daughter becoming a cowboy. And not even her husband is going to stop her daughter from making any mistakes that she can counteract.
"“I don’t recall the part of our vows that said I had to ask your permission to go somewhere.”"- Margaret Dutton
The problem with the Europeans is they aren’t a cohesive unit. Some get along, some don’t. There are thieves in the bunch and Josef has a hard time leading his group. Let’s not even mention protecting it. Shea and Thomas are there to guide and oversee but they can’t be everywhere at once. Now there are only 43 people left in the group. And there will be even less if Josef doesn’t get his people in line.
Thomas and Shea summon the help of James to take care of the thieves in the group. At first, they stay back to let the immigrants handle the situations themselves. Let them fight it out to see if the good comes on top. But James can take no more of it. He’s sick of the bad guys beating up on the little guys and taking matters into his own hands. As does Shea eventually.
"“Find your own way to Oregon. You follow us and I’ll kill you.”"- Shea Brennan
Shea tells them this is only the beginning. You think it’s hard right now well there’s an even harder battle yet to face. You better buckle up now because this part right here, it’s easy. You have to work together or success just isn’t an option.
Through Margaret’s dismay, Elsa reveals she kissed Ennis. Fully thinking she’d be mad, her mother couldn’t find it in herself to be that way. She was once a girl just like her and went through those teenage spells. Elsa is falling pretty hard for Ennis and her mother knows it and knows that it’s only a matter of time before it goes way beyond kissing.
"“There’s no such thing as freedom Elsa. Don’t let anyone tell you there is. There’s laws, there’s rules, there’s customs, responsibilities everywhere. The more people you cram together, the more rules they’ll be. I don’t know what life is like in Oregon. But they’ll be rules there too. This trail is as free as you’ll ever be. The only rules you need to follow, are the ones in your heart.”"- Margaret Dutton
Thomas, Noah, and James quickly see the danger heading in their direction and that could mean trouble. They already only have half the numbers they used to and cannot afford any more losses of people or food. It is too hard and the food is becoming more scarce. People are getting frail, and weak and bound to get weaker. A cook is still needed to ration out all the food. They can’t use the cattle yet because it needs to be saved for harder circumstances. Shea promises James they will hire a cook the minute they get to Doan. But they have to make it there first.
James urges Elsa to go back to camp for the night. They are being followed. Could be by bandits but the unknown is not worth the risk. Wrapped in a blanket Elsa sneaks out to go see Ennis. And it becomes the first night she is made a woman.
Out of pure karma the bandits ended up attacking the thieves from the European group instead of Shea and James.
"“It takes years to make something of your life. One decision can change the course of it forever. And we don’t know if that decision is gonna be the one that sinks us until we make it. So you better be very, very careful what you choose.”"- Margaret Dutton
Margaret Dutton explains to Elsa that every choice has fangs. She may be high on the hog right now after becoming a woman and making love, but every choice has a consequence and she may not like how it all becomes in the end. Revealing that if she has a child she will not raise it. Responsibilities come with every choice.
Elsa ran to tell her daddy about her happiness but all that would come to a halt. The revelation would have to come at another time because there is danger ahead. And that waits for nobody. However, it was never needed because James knew all too well what was going on. And attacks Ennis for it. But it ends with an understanding. Elsa is his heart and soon he can see the heart the two share for each other.
Josef and his wife come under attack by the bandits. He and his wife are no formidable team but they take care of the first one that comes upon them. The bandits came across Margaret and the rest of the immigrants but they were no match yet. Margaret shot one of them down and it was up to the cowboys to finish them off. They nearly did so until the very end when Ennis was trying to take the last one down. Unfortunately, he was shot protecting Elsa and her family, going out honorably with a hero's death. The last words he ever muttered was to James saying he loved his daughter. I guess if one man could go out in a blaze of glory that would be it.
Margaret prayed Elsa would never see the world through her eyes. But now she had. Death was inevitable in this world and it came for her. Through her first love. Something that will harden her forever.