'1883' Kills off Multiple Major Characters in Two-Part Premiere

1883 Episode 2 might not have been our favorite installment of the trio we reviewed, but it does feature some major plot implications. Mainly, two major characters die before the credits roll. Do note, if you watched Episode 1 on Paramount Network Sunday night after Yellowstone, this will be a major spoiler. However, those watching on Paramount+ have already learned of two characters' tragic fates because the second episode is already streaming there. Scroll through to learn who doesn't make it out alive in 1883 Episode 2, "Behind Us, a Cliff." Also note, descriptions of gun violence and suicide will be included.

Those aware of the Yellowstone spinoff know that it is all about the Dutton family, mainly James (Tim McGraw) and Margaret (Faith Hill) and their kids Elsa (Isabel May) and John Sr. (Audie Rick). They are the direct ancestors the modern Western series' John Jr. (Kevin Costner). We are also introduced to two more Duttons: Claire (Dawn Olivieri) and Mary Abel (Emma Malouff). Claire is James' sister, and Mary Abel is her daughter. Before the end of Episode 2, two of these Duttons die.

The first casualty is Mary Abel. While James and the other gun-wielding men of the camp are away, a band of outlaws approaches the group, clearly looking for trouble. They make their way to the nearby river, but Claire antagonizes them. As Margaret later explains to James, "They were rough, they were rude, and they were looking for it (trouble), but I can't say they started it." The outlaws then behind to attack the group of settlers before being scared off. However, moments later, they circle back around and shoot up the camp.

Mary Abel and Claire try to flee to cover, but they never make it. The young girl is shot in the back, instantly falls to the ground and does not survive. The rest of the episode sees Claire clearly distraught and sitting next to the grave that her daughter is soon buried in. James approaches Claire to comfort her, but she refuses to listen to him and says she's not going to continue the journey.

(Photo: Paramount+)

"What do I have left to live for, James?" Claire says. "I have had seven children, and they have all ended up just like this one, in the dirt I kneel beside. I am done kneeling. I am ready to lay down."

James tries to convince her to come along, but she refuses and says, "It is a free country. It is not your decision to make, it is mine, and I have made it." James says goodbye, and she replies, "God damn you, James. God damn you and your dreams." 

While could seem that Claire is staying at Ft. Worth, the darker subtext of her conversation is made clear. As the wagon train departs, Claire pulls out a pistol and shoots herself in the head. James and Shea Brennan (Sam Elliott) see it happen, rush over and begin to dig a grave for her beside Mary Abel's burial site. James insists there was no use in stopping her, and Shea says he "admired her courage." (Viewers will know he considered doing the same thing to himself in Episode 1 but ultimately decided against it.)

Taylor Sheridan wrote and directed "Behind Us, a Cliff." 1883's first two episodes are currently streaming on Paramount+, with the third episode and following installments premiering each Sunday. MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios produce the show, with Sheridan, John Linson, Art Linson, David C. Glasser, Ron Burkle and Bob Yari being credited as executive producers. In addition to the performers noted above, 1883's cast also includes LaMonica Garrett, Marc Rissmann, Eric Nelsen and James Landry Hebert. As for the flagship show, Yellowstone, it's airing each Sunday night on Paramount Network at 8 p.m. ET, with Seasons 1-3 streamable on Peacock.