1883 Is Absolutely Unwatchable For Oklahomans and Texans
In 2018, cable TV service saw a complete and total shift in the type of entertainment Hollywood is willing to put out. As every channel and network continues to force reality and competition talent shows on the public, a few opted to start telling stories again.
Paramount introduced the world to the dramatic saga of powerful Montana ranchers with Yellowstone.
With A-list actor Kevin Costner surrounded by an equally talented cast of mostly nobodies, people from every walk of life across America became enthralled. At its core, a family tries to keep the land their ancestors homesteaded as the general public and Wall Street tries to take their cut.
It's brutal, visceral, graphic, and perfect.
As the common tale goes, if Hollywood stumbles onto something popular, they have to drive it into the ground... Plans were soon made to have a spinoff with one popular character taking his talents to Texas, the other was an origin story of how the ranch came to be called 1883.
If you've watched and followed the "prequel" origin story like most of America has been doing so far, have you yet discovered just how poorly it has been put together?
Here's the rub... 95% of the entertainment content that I consume is generally educational to some extent. I love history most of all because Hollywood is creative enough to write stories good enough to compare to things that happened in real life.
Case and point... The Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians in the story of the Plymouth Rock settlement didn't become friends just to become friends as the gentrified school-tale goes... The settlers looked for an ally in a harsh new land and the tribe needed warriors to fight off another clan to regain lost territory. The Pilgrims fought with them and the Indians taught basic survival in return. Thanksgiving wasn't a celebration of crops, it was the celebration of their shared victory in battle.
That really changes the idea of Thanksgiving, doesn't it?
That's how it is for me trying to watch 1883. I'm constantly thinking "Well that's not true..." or "That's not geographically correct..."
Fair warning, spoilers ahead...
The first moment of shenanigans came when the wagon train was on its way west out of Fort Worth, the talk almost immediately started with crossing the Trinity River. Here's the thing, while you could potentially cross the Trinity River after leaving Fort Worth, but the tiny little short section of Trinity River out that way is far north Fort Worth.
Because the Trinity River crossing looks so treacherous, the trail boss decides to head further west and take their chances crossing another of Texas' famous bodies of water, the mighty Brazos River... but here's another thing... To leave Fort Worth with a plan to cross the Brazos River, you'd travel southwest and you'd be going the opposite direction if you had a need to cross it.
After the characters made their Brazos River crossing, the drama continues but eventually, the group ends up at a make-shift prairie town to grab last-minute necessities. The debate then becomes "Do we cross the Red River into Indian Territory now or head-on into Abilene?"
Just to drive a point home real quick, if the wagon train was to "continue on into Abilene," they would have to once again cross the Brazos River far south and travel 150-ish miles out of their way just to get there.
Thankfully, they opted to cross into Indian Territory and get the show on the road in order to beat winter in the Rockies, but that leads to the most glaring example of how little research Hollywood puts into these shows...
When the wagon train arrives at the Red River to cross, it's flowing west.
In the history of the world, the Red River has never flowed west. It steadily flows east out of Palo Duro Canyon south of Amarillo, along the border between Oklahoma and Texas, meanders through Louisiana, and makes up what is now called the Atchafalaya Basin - AKA - the Louisiana swamp before dumping into the Gulf of Mexico.
I cannot stand watching this show at this point in the tale.
I do know that at some point they'll go back to 100% made-up fiction and I'll be thankful for it because the people writing this show have done less than necessary research into something as simple as geography. Honestly, a couple of google searches while writing could have solved all of these inaccuracies.
I realize that most people probably don't have such a keen eye for historical posterity, but I have to assume that at least some Oklahomans and Texans are watching this show with a sense of "At least they tried." You would expect more from the creator and lead writer of the series, Taylor Sheridan, who owns not only the massive and famous 6666 Ranch but also the (generally small as ranches go) 1000 acre Bosque Ranch near Weatherford.
I supposed I'm just complaining on a day when snow is falling because there's just nothing better to do, but it irks me how far off point this show really is.