Did Yellowstone Prequel 1883's Premiere Feature A Callback To Faith Hill's First Single? Here's What The Star Told Us

margaret dutton holding john sr. in 1883
(Image credit: Paramount+)

Spoilers below for the series premiere of 1883, so be warned if you haven’t yet watched!

With its high-profile debut across both Paramount+ and Paramount Network, 1883 quickly proved itself to be a worthy prequel to Yellowstone, with Taylor Sheridan going for broke in crafting the story of the Dutton family’s stressful and problem-filled journey to Montana. As difficult as the trip already is for Tim McGraw and Faith HIll’s James and Margaret, respectively, even Isabel May’s smiling optimist Elsa Dutton hasn’t made it through these early days unscathed. As she attempted to catch some shuteye in the premiere, she was attacked by a bumbling drunken oaf who wandered into the wrong hotel room. And as she fought off his attempts at sexual assault, the attacker uttered four words that will forever be important for Faith Hill’s career: “She’s a wild one.”

Despite all the other awesome and/or emotionally jarring moments in those first two episodes, I couldn’t stop thinking about whether that “wild one” comment was a direct reference to Faith Hill’s debut 1993 single, or just a random line. So when CinemaBlend had the chance to speak with Hill and co-star Isabel May during pre-premiere interviews with additional press, I asked the Grammy-winning country music star if she knew whether or not that line was an intentional easter egg for her career. The inquiry took her a little by surprise, as she answered with: 

Oh, I... Wow, I hadn't even realized that. I mean, yeah — [to Isabel May] — you do say that. No, he says that. I didn't think about that. That's a Taylor Sheridan question. I doubt it. But I don't know.

To me, Taylor Sheridan does seem like the kind of person who would throw a reference in like that without telling anyone, just to see if they’d notice. I don’t imagine he’s the kind of person who would publicly get everyone in on the joke while patting himself on the back for doing a good job. But that’s assuming it even is a reference, and not just a normal line a liquored up behemoth would say after facing blows from a would-be victim. Now, had he for some reason responded with “Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me” or “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” then it would be that much more obviously a direct reference. 

While Faith Hill wasn’t aware of the intention behind the line, co-star Isabel May was completely unaware of why “she’s a wild one” would even be a connection to Hill’s career. That brought on a case of the giggles between the two 1883 stars, with May expressing her embarrassment over being completely oblivious about the correlation, and Hill soothing her and saying it wasn’t a big deal. Here’s how the latter reacted: 

I love you so much. That was my first record I ever had. [watches May apologetically freak out] This is why this is so amazing. Honestly, I love that you didn’t know that. Seriously. Honey, it's been so long. I don't think you were even born. How long has it been, like 30 years ago? Good God almighty. . . . You shouldn't know these things. You should be doing what you're doing. That's why you're here. That's why you are Elsa. My God, nobody could play [Elsa] if you paid attention to that shit.

The more Faith Hill tried to soothe Isabel May, the more the younger actress would apologize, which made their bond all the more familial and amusing to watch. As solid as their relationship is in 1883 itself, it’s not like the epic, country-crossing western drama provides its performers with ample sequences to be mirthy and silly.

Astoundingly, as the laughter subsided and Faith Hill appeared ready to move on, Isabel May actually did take a stab at answering my initial question, which amused her co-star all over again. According to May:

Sorry, sorry. I don’t think it was a reference. I don’t think it was. I remember Taylor, when we were shooting that scene, it was kind of just on a whim. He just kind of threw [the line] at the guy.

So while this mystery can officially be slotted in the “unsolved” folder, it does appear that I may have been reading a little too much into the new drama’s throwaway dialogue. However, considering Taylor Sheridan has straight-up referenced 1883 star Sam Elliott over on Yellowstone, and with Episode 408 starting off with music from co-star Tim McGraw, I think there’s still a sizeable probability that Sheridan brought that “wild one” line into the mix with a wink and a nod, even if he kept it to himself. At least Hill has at least one co-star familiar with her music (and everything else about her).

1883 releases new episodes for streaming every Sundays on Paramount+, with Episode 102 set to air on Paramount Network proper on December 26 after Yellowstone’s penultimate Season 4 offering. Check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see all the other new and returning shows popping up soon! 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.