1883 Episode 3 Recap and Ending, Explained

Image Credit: Emerson Miller/Paramount+

1883‘ episode 3 continues the story of John Dutton’s ancestors as they navigate a life filled with hardships in the late 19th century. In the episode, the caravan faces many problems during their travel and is forced to halt due to an unforeseen event. The travelers set up camp by a river, and tensions begin to run high. Shea and James have a disagreement, while the campers need some policing. If you wish to catch up on all the drama and turmoil in the third episode, we’ve got you covered! Here’s a detailed rundown of the events and the ending of ‘1883’ episode 3! SPOILERS AHEAD!

1883 Episode 3 Recap

The third episode of ‘1883’ is titled ‘River.’ It opens with a montage of all the caravan’s troubles during their journey across the Great Plains. A lot of lives are lost as death lurks in every corner. Eventually, the travelers arrive at their biggest challenge yet, a river. The river’s stream makes it difficult for the caravan to cross with their wagons. Therefore, they must head in a different direction and circumnavigate the river to make it to the other side. James and Shea get into a disagreement over which direction to head in.

Image Credit: Emerson Miller/Paramount+

In the camp, a gypsy widow named Noemi is having a hard time surviving and looking after her two boys. Shea helps her out, and she pleads with him to take her as his wife. However, Shea refuses. Noemi reveals a few of their fellow travelers stole her supplies. Shea and Thomas rough up the men and leave them stranded as punishment for stealing. Elsewhere, Ennis asks Elsa and John’s help in looking after the cattle as the immigrants aren’t used to riding horses. Margaret accompanies Elsa to aid the cowboys. Meanwhile, James takes John out for deer hunting. After learning the basics, John manages to score his first kill.

Back at the camp, Thomas explains to Shea that James is right about the direction they should head, but it could be a problem if James continues to undermine Shea’s authority. Shea talks to James, and they settle the matter. Later at night, the men Shea and Thomas beat up return to camp. They try to convince the other immigrants that they do not need Shea and the other cowboys’ help to find their way. As the men propose turning on the cowboys, Shea arrives. He uses the opportunity to demonstrate his authority. He holds the men at gunpoint but decides to spare their life one last time. The episode ends with the caravan resuming their journey.

1883 Episode 3 Ending: Why Does Shea Agree With James? Where Is the Caravan Headed?

When the caravan arrives by the river, they cannot cross because of the stream. As a result, Shea must decide whether they should head from the east or west to bypass the stream and continue their journey up North. Shea suggests traveling from the east as it is safer. However, James wishes to take his family through the west. The duo argues, and James exclaims that he has made his decision. Since James isn’t on Shea’s payroll, the older cowboy cannot do much.

Image Credit: Emerson Miller/Paramount+

Later, Thomas advises Shea that it is best to travel through the west. Even though the west is filled with bandits and rough patches with water scarcity, it offers a shorter route. Winter is approaching quickly, and many people won’t survive if the caravan is stuck on the road. Therefore, it is best to take their chances of survival in the west. After seeing the merits of traveling from the west, Shea speaks with James. He agrees that the caravan will travel from the west and offers James a head start. However, since James had promised to help Shea s long as they are heading in the same direction, he decides to travel behind the caravan and look after the cattle.

Shea already anticipated James would say something of the sort, and it allows Shea to deal with the second issue, i.e., James undermining his authority. James traveling behind the caravan helps Shea to exercise his authority to keep the immigrants disciplined without being undermined. On the other hand, James himself isn’t very fond of mingling with the immigrants as their ineptness at traveling could risk his family’s life. In the end, Shea and James reach an agreement after finding a situation that suits both of them well.

Read More: 1883 Episode 1 & 2 Recap and Ending, Explained