Who Does Elsa Dutton Marry in ‘1883’?

elsa sam married featured

Elsa Dutton is one of the most important characters in the Yellowstone prequel series, ‘1883.’ It was Elsa’s untimely demise that led the Duttons to Montana instead of their initial destination, Oregon. They started the Yellowstone Ranch, where she died. However, not everything was dark in Elsa’s life. In fact, she found love along the way. So, who does Elsa Dutton marry in ‘1883’?

Elsu Dutton marries a Comanche warrior named Sam but without an official ceremony. Her first love interest – a cowboy named Ennis – was supposed to be her husband in the future, but he died of a gunshot wound shortly after he and Elsa got involved.

Even after marrying Sam, Elsa got separated from her husband, who chose to stay and defend his land while Elsa continued the journey west with her family. She vowed to return to Sam after her family settled but never lived long enough to fulfill that promise. If you want to learn more about Elsa Dutton, her love affairs, and how they could’ve saved her, keep reading this article.

Who is Elsa Dutton in ‘1883’?

Elsa Dutton is one of three children of James and Margaret Dutton, the first generation of the Dutton family to claim and found the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. Her brothers were John Dutton Sr., and Spencer Dutton, both of whom we see in the second Yellowstone spin-off series, ‘1923.’

Elsa was a young woman with a free spirit. Although she was quite rebellious and often went against her mother’s wishes to be a ‘lady,’ Elsa was dearly beloved by her family and others who accompanied them on their journey out west to find land and peace.


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Women of the period were often required to wear gowns and dresses to show they were ‘proper ladies’ and ‘wife material,’ but Elsa felt much more comfortable in her cowgirl outfits and on horseback.

Despite her young age, one could say that Elsa lived the most out of everyone in her family and, in her short life, had two big, fiery love interests. Unfortunately, neither they nor Elsa wouldn’t live long enough to see through their plans of starting a family and living happily ever after. Here’s how and why.

Elsa Dutton’s love interests


elsa ennis

Elsa Dutton’s first significant love interest was a cowboy named Ennis. He was a kind, free-spirited young man that accompanied the Duttons and their wagon along their perilous journey out wet.

At first, the two had friendly banter between them before their friendship turned romantic in Episode 4 of the show when they shared their first kiss.

Elsa revealed to her mother that she is deeply in love with Ennis, and the young couple already planned on starting a family together and marrying. Ennis was the first man Elsa had ever slept with, too. Unfortunately, none of that ever came to fruition, as Ennis died from a gunshot wound to the chest only an episode later.


elsa married sam

Sam was a Comanche warrior patrolling the land where Elsa Dutton’s wagon passed through. His real Comanche name is unknown, and he has everyone call him Sam, explaining later that it was the name of the man who killed his wife. Sam found the guy and killed him, and later took his name as a tribute, never to forget his late spouse.

First, Sam raced Elsa on horseback and lost, giving her a Comanche name meaning Lightning Yellow Hair. The couple grows on each other, especially after Sam saves Elsa from a big storm. That was the moment when they first kissed. Sam gave Elsa a traditional vest of his kin, which she wore with pride.

A bit later, Sam asked Elsa’s father to marry the girl. Margaret, her mother, was hesitant, but Elsa said she didn’t need permission or approval because she was an adult. After a bit of reluctance, James sees how much Elsa and Sam love each other and give them his blessing.


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The two say how they already feel as spouses and that they don’t need a formal wedding to make it official. Hence, Elsa and Sam were married, but not in a traditional sense. Unfortunately, the happiness wouldn’t last long for the young couple, as Elsa and her family had to move on with their journey.

She asked Sam to come with them, but he reluctantly refused, saying he belonged to the land and that he had to stay behind to protect it. Elsa vowed to come back for her husband after the family was finally settled. Little did they both know their reunion would never happen…

Who does Elsa Dutton marry in ‘1883’?

In case it wasn’t clear before, Elsa Dutton actually doesn’t marry anyone – at least not in a traditional sense. Sam and Elsa consider themselves to be married, but they never have a formal wedding to make it official, or ‘legal,’ if you will. Still, they acknowledge themselves as spouses, so you can comfortably say that Elsa Dutton married Sam, the Comanche warrior.

What does Elsa’s husband have to do with her death?

Now, we know that Elsa and Sam never reunited due to her death, but did Sam have anything to do with her death?

Well, he didn’t, at least not in the way you’d think. In fact, something he did could’ve kept Elsa alive, but the actions of another character made that impossible.

So, before Elsa and the Duttons met the Lakota tribe and fought them, her mother asked Elsa to take off the vest her husband gave her and dress as a ‘proper woman’ because they were tracking a bunch of men, and she didn’t want her to be seen in a Native American outfit.

elsa vest

Elsa reluctantly agreed, and that’s actually where things go south. As they battled the Lakota tribe, which thought they were the ones to kill a group of their tribe members, one of them shot a poisoned arrow and hit Elsa. She later died from the consequences of the deep wound and the poison.

However, had her mother not made Elsa change out of Sam’s vest, it would provide her enough protection to survive, as the arrow probably wouldn’t pierce her skin – or, if it did, it wouldn’t go as deep and would be treatable.

Faith Hill, the actress behind Margaret Dutton, shared in an interview: “It only occurred to me after I saw it: My God, it’s my fault she was shot and killed, because had she had her vest on that was meant to protect her, given to her by Sam, maybe she could have survived.”


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So, there you have it. Sam’s gift could’ve saved Elsa, but it never happened. In the end, it seems that everything turned out the way it should. Had Elsa not been shot, the Duttons would’ve never stopped in Montana, and the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch would never have come to be – at least not as we know it now.

As Isabel May, the actress behind the character of Elsa Dutton said in another interview: “That’s the Dutton origin story, that’s where her family begins. That was her purpose, to get them there.”

I just wish we could learn how long Sam waited for her return…

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