February 7, 2022
Kathy and I watched the seventh episode of "1883" last night and I was tickled to see a scene where the F-bomb was put into cultural context. It was almost as if Taylor Sheridan had read the 700+ comments on this blog post about the authenticity of swearing in the hit TV show. One of the main points made by many of you is that cowboys didn't use the F-bomb in front of kids or women. The scene, last night, between the new camp cook and Sam Elliott's character dove right into that and, to my ear, was a refreshing take on it and right on the money.
In the next issue of True West magazine we are doing a deep dive into virtually all the historic aspects behind the hit show. The trails they reference, the stopping points (Doan's Store) and the adversaries they encounter.
Here's a sneak peek at one of the aspects we thoroughly enjoy and appreciate. Remember the flashback (episode two) to the Battle of Antietem and a Confederate officer staggers to his feet and wanders among the dead bodies (many posed faithfully from Mathew Brady photographs). Then we see Union General Meade (Tom Hanks) sit down next to the Confederate officer (Tim McGraw) and they commiserate.
Of course, this actually happened in the Civil War and there is a famous photo of Union officer George Custer sitting with a captured Confederate officer who was his classmate at West Point. We'll run both photos for your edification.
Hats Off to 1883
But, I have to say, my biggest joy in the whole damn shebang, is the cowboy hat Elsa ends up wearing to wonderful effect.
And, unlike many movie cowboy hats, hers gets some serious wear and tear as the episodes mount up. I also loved her confession when she said she realized she is a "cowboy." Not a cowgirl. A cowboy, without apologies or gender specific politics.
I dig Elsa's hat so much, let's see another shot of her in that big, windswept chapeau.
Robert Duvall, on top, in "Lonesome Dove" and Sam Elliott in "1883." Both are sporting the same crease and brim style, which, when I was growing up, was called the "Tom Mix Dip," but today it has become known as the "Gus" in honor of Duvall's character Gus McCrae. The hat style is actually from the 1920s but it's so ingrained in the popular culture now that it is deemed authentic.
In The Land of The Nitpickers
Like I said, we love "1883." It is a breath of fresh air. But, that's not to say we don't find fault with the history. Our intrepid editor, who shall remain nameless (you could look him up in the masthead) maintains that the show should be called "1843" because that seems to be the conditions Taylor Sheridan wants to portray in his prequel to "Yellowstone." But that doesn't fit the Dutton family tree. And, by that, ahem, Stuart Rosebrook means the perils of the immigrant trail were pretty much played out by 1883 and the In-dins all on their respective reservations (we will have an authentic 1883 map to illustrate). Abilene had ceased being a cattletown several years prior to the events portrayed, and, well, we could go on and on, because we are, in fact, Nitpickers with a capital N. In this issue we lovingly give you a detailed insight into the state of the West in 1883 and follow up on some of the characters portrayed, or, who they seem to have been modeled on. It's going to be a fun one. Here's the cover.