"“The best way to know if land is truly undiscovered is to seek words to describe it. When you can’t you know it’s virgin land. Untouched by our dirty hands. To see it is to be silenced by it. Made speechless by its endless uniformity. To crest a rise is to see another that is identical. One must read the sun and stars like a sailor to navigate this place. We’ve seen nothing but grass for over a week…no game, no birds, no snakes, not even a lizard and no evidence the human race still exists. But the Plains are littered with bones.”"- Elsa Dutton
There is not much stopping for life on the frontier. In episode 7 of 1883, everyone has now left Doan’s Crossing and the next peril will surely come soon. The Comanches appear and Elsa quickly looks frightened. Wade informs her they are just paying the tax. You have to pay the Comanches tax when you graze cattle on their land. The episode prior was centered around Elsa’s grief and in this episode you see Elsa rise from the ashes after the death of Ennis.
The cook is not impressed with the Europeans. They come across as a very uncivilized group of people. Shea puts him in check about the profane language he uses to try to get his point across. For one, the Germans do not understand him, and there are children around like little John who’s about to go ask his mother what the f word means. It won’t be long before Margaret puts his boot into him. James knew it was coming and could only smirk.
Everybody is eating soon and the cook gets his karma by a slap in the face courtesy of Margaret Dutton. Giving him a warning that if he ever uses that word again she’ll stab him with his fork. “That could have gone a lot worse,” James informs Cookie who had no doubt. Is it a lesson learned for the big man? Only time will tell.
1883 Episode 7 recap: A new love found
Elsa meets a Comanche warrior named Sam who compliments her horse and questions its name. Soon, he is challenging her to show how fast her horse is by way of a horse race. Lightning wins it easily as if she could do it in her sleep. Lightning with the yellow hair is the name Sam gives her. However, he thinks she is the lightning and not the horse.
Sam confides in Elsa that he took his name from the man who killed his wife. They both lost a loved one and killed the man who took them off this earth. From the start, they share that human pain and connection and slowly start to find strength in each other. She gives him a chunk of her hair and in return, he gives her a new knife as a reward for winning the race. “Your name is lightning, lightning does not mourn,” Sam tells her.
"“In this moment with the man I love, a son I adore, and a daughter I envy. I am very happy.”"- Margaret Dutton
Margaret is worried and not generally happy these days but she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. She loves her family hard. It had to be devastatingly difficult for a mother at that time just to keep a family in one piece. Happiness will come. But it won’t come today.
Sam and Shea have a talk about the dangers lurking in the West. He asks him about bandits out here. It’s worse where they are headed Sam informs him. He says he should take them to Colorado. It’s better for them out there. While part of Sam is inclined to agree at a certain point he’s got to put some faith in the group. They have made it this far.
Sam knows they can’t baby them anymore. They either have to get tough or die. Get busy living, or get busy dying so to speak. As the journey marches on nature and bandits will only get worse. If they aren’t tough enough to know how to survive now they’re never going to make it.
1883 Episode 7 recap: Mother Nature is a twisted soul
A storm is coming and Sam leaves Elsa a present before he goes. A horse made of her hair. It’s time to move on to get out of the storm. A tornado is coming. Everyone gets down and takes cover. The caravan group begins taking off all the saddles and releasing the horses. They must give them a fighting chance to get out of the storm. Horses are the one commodity they can’t lose. The wagons and what remains in them can always be replaced.
Sam takes the cowboys and Elsa to a safer spot and they let their horses go. Everyone holds their loved ones close as they await the storm to wash over them. Sam is holding Elsa tightly as she screams and before he knows she’s kissing him. It kind of came out of left field. Maybe it was a way to calm her fears but Sam didn’t hesitate to kiss her back. Poor Wade and Colton do not know what to think, but maybe Sam was right in that aspect. She is lightning, everything she does is fast.
The wagons are now destroyed in the aftermath of the storm and it’s time to round up the horses. Items and everyone’s livelihood are spread all over the fields. Noemi is heartbroken to lose everything and doesn’t know how they’ll survive with nothing. Thomas tries to reassure her he has enough money for both of them. Noemi isn’t really sure if he means it or if he’s saying those words out of pity. Regardless, I think the two of them have both made each other better and stronger in different ways.
Josef is in tears at his loss. It shows you how life on the Plains can break the spirit of the strongest men. It’s almost amazing how much Mother Nature can take from you. Only two wagons were left. That makes that eight in all. Shea thinks they should turn back. They’re never gonna make it on foot. Forget about tornadoes winter is coming.
1883 recap: The storm isn’t over yet
Any traumatic event usually follows another when it comes to the Duttons. This case was no different. Thieves have come and are trying to take over their herd who scattered during the storm. All the cowboys, including the farmer and Elsa, go to get them back. After pleading her case to John to let her go too. She is the safest with him. Per usual, James cannot say no to her. However, he knows Mama won’t be happy.
Colton breaks the news to Margaret. She takes her shotgun and his horse to go get Elsa. Knowing she’d have to go clean up another one of their messes. There are really 13 men so Margaret's intuition was correct, Elsa shouldn’t be there.
The men swiftly fan out and and get a wide angle on these men. All three men have been in this situation before and handle themselves well. Compared to the big battles they’ve been in in the war, this is light work. A few of the bandits were chasing down Elsa and she was completely fearless and almost calm at the simplicity of what could happen. You either live and get lucky or die. Two options, that’s it. Even though her horse was faster Sam came to her defense and killed them with his tomahawk.
"“His fury was so magnificent there was no time for horror. Not even for the men he killed. I questioned my mind. I wondered if I am the one who is dead. And this is all a dream. I watched him ride away and decided I must be awake. I must be alive. Then I chased after him.”"- Elsa Dutton
Shea finishes them all off with ease making sure none of them are left breathing. Taking down a man is nothing for him. James gets shot but Shea was able to squeeze out the bullet. Thomas got lucky and just got a ricochet and was knicked by the bullet in the leg. Shea got a graze across the head and didn’t even realize it. A man named Charlie had helped take down the thieves, someone who Sam seems to know well. He loves taking down cattle thieves every chance he gets. The boys and Elsa were lucky to get out alive. Needless to say, you never know what you’re going to ride in on.
Upon her search for Elsa, Margaret runs into a bandit. When she returned back at camp she’d hardly said a word. Finally answering that she killed a man over a horse who wanted to take it. Now she thinks John is the only hope in the family to reach heaven. They’re both in heaven and hell. God is the land. There are enough cattle to live on but how will they survive the next round of disastrous events headed their way? Time will tell to see if they ever see the coastline of Oregon.