The Deadly Truth About Smallpox As Seen On 1883

The Deadly Truth About Smallpox As Seen On 1883



The article discusses the portrayal of smallpox in the television series “1883,” a prequel to the popular show “Yellowstone.” Smallpox, a highly contagious and often deadly viral illness, was a significant threat in the late 19th century, affecting people across different social classes. Here are some key points from the article:


Historical Context:

Smallpox was a serious viral illness that affected the world in the late 19th century.

The disease was not limited by social status and posed a threat to both the rich and the poor.

Setting in “1883”:

The article mentions that smallpox will be part of the plot in “1883,” the prequel to the show “Yellowstone,” set in the Old West.


Brutality of Smallpox:

The first episode of “1883” depicts the unabridged brutality of smallpox. The main character, Shea (played by Sam Elliott), is shown grieving the deaths of his wife and daughter due to smallpox.

The portrayal includes scenes of the young girl covered in painful boils, characteristic of the disease.


Survival and Death Rates:

Contracting smallpox was not always a certain death sentence, but it was a serious and potentially deadly illness.

Death rates varied, with some locations experiencing rates as high as 60%, and 80% for children.

Most patients died within approximately 16 days of contracting the illness.


Long-Term Effects:

Survivors of smallpox often faced long-term consequences, such as blindness or permanent scarring.

The article underscores the historical accuracy and the harsh realities associated with smallpox, emphasizing its impact on individuals and communities during the depicted time period in “1883.”




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