Why 1883’s Most Hated History Error Couldn’t Be Avoided
2023/11/30

The prequel spinoff series to the popular show Yellowstone, titled 1883, has been highly praised for its historical accuracy and authenticity. However, there is one small detail that has irked some hardcore period drama fans – the dental situation of the 1883 cast.

1883 delves into the lives and struggles of pioneering American settlers in the late 19th century, showcasing the roots of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch empire in Montana. The show depicts the journey of John Dutton's ancestors, as well as former Union soldiers Thomas and Shea Brennan leading a group of German and Romani settlers. Diseases like smallpox and cholera are authentically portrayed, as well as the dangers of river crossings and encounters with bandits.

While 1883 shares similarities with Yellowstone, it differentiates itself as a period drama with a thematic focus on traditional Westerns. However, observant viewers have pointed out a historical inaccuracy in the show – the teeth of the characters. In the late 19th century, dental services were scarce and expensive, especially in frontier towns. It is highly unlikely that all the characters in 1883 would have had regular or perfect teeth during this time period.

Despite this historical inaccuracy, it does not significantly impact the viewer's immersion in the show. Some fans argue that investing time and resources into historically accurate dental work would detract from other important visual elements that contribute to the authentic depiction of the Wild West.

While 1883 strives for historical accuracy and authenticity, it is important to remember that it is not a documentary. It is a spinoff series designed to entertain and captivate audiences with its fast-paced neo-Western drama. The showrunners have prioritized elements that contribute more to establishing the overall atmosphere of 1883. However, the success of the show on streaming platforms like Paramount+ and Peacock speaks for itself, proving that the historical inaccuracies do not undermine the overall viewing experience.

Despite the controversy surrounding the cast's teeth, 1883 remains a fairly realistic representation of the socio-political realities and harsh conditions faced by American pioneers. It sheds light on the origins of the modern ranching industry and the tensions between white settlers and Native Americans. While there may be valid concerns about the show's historical accuracy, it offers a fresh and compelling narrative of survival in the Wild West.

As for the second season of 1883, it was originally planned to be called 1923. However, both 1923 and 1883 eventually grew into their own independent spinoffs, with enough time between the two timelines to establish them as separate entities. With acclaimed actors Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren joining the cast of 1923, it is clear that the spinoff seeks to create a standalone timeline within Taylor Sheridan's neo-Western universe. This may alleviate concerns about historical accuracy, especially considering that the early 20th century had more dentists available.

In conclusion, while there may be some historical inaccuracies in 1883, they do not detract from the overall quality and enjoyment of the show. The series offers valuable insights into the challenges faced by American pioneers and explores the roots of the ranching industry. The decision to rename the planned second season as 1923 was influenced by historical events and demonstrates an effort to remain faithful to the timeline.

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