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1923's Aminah Nieves Wasn't Sure If She Was Ready For Her Heavy Role

As the Season 1 finale of "1923" inches ever closer, more bloodshed is likely on the way for the Dutton family. That was, of course, always going to be the way for Jacob and Cara Dutton (played by Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, respectively) and their loyal band of allies. After all, if the greater "Yellowstone" universe has taught us anything, it's that the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch's story is one very much written in blood.

While the Dutton's various tales of triumph and woe continue to dominate the "1923" action, creator Taylor Sheridan also has gifted fans of the show with a subplot that is, in all honesty, proving far richer than anything happening at the Dutton Ranch. That story follows the harrowing journey of Teonna Rainwater, a young indigenous woman taken from her Broken Rock Reservation home to be raised and horrifically abused in the icy confines of a frontier Catholic school. Though Teonna is a fictional character, her story is one we now know hundreds of women like her endured as Anglican factions claimed the West for their own. And it remains a story too few Americans are aware of.

That fact is finally starting to change thanks to "1923." And rising star Aminah Nieves — who plays Teonna Rainwater on the show — is very much at the forefront of the conversation. However, that was almost not the case as Nieves had some very serious doubts about taking on such a heavy role.

Nieves had her heart and mind on the past before claiming her 1923 role

Aminah Nieves's qualms about her "1923" role initially led her to think she shouldn't play the part. The young actor confirmed the fact during a recent interview with Cinemablend, candidly telling the outlet, "Yeah, there was huge hesitation." She went on to say, "I wasn't even going to audition. I told my manager I didn't want to." We can only imagine Nieves' manager was baffled by her decision. It seems Nieves' co-star and onscreen tormenter Jennifer Ehle, who plays the abusive Sister Mary on "1923" was as well.

Ehle was actually part of the same interview, and when Nieves claimed she almost passed on the role of Teonna, Ehle was the first to ask her why. Nieves promptly answered, "Because it was so heavy." Intense subject matter aside, Nieves admitted she felt even more pressure to tell the story right due to her Indigenous roots. "I felt like I wasn't worthy to tell that," she said, adding, "When it's something so heavy and so connected to you and your family, you're like, 'Me? I'm gonna be the one to do this for my mom? For my dad? For my grandma?' You know?"

Thankfully, Nieves overcame her fears about playing Teonna Rainwater in "1923." At this point in the series, her performance remains a significant highlight, with the actor arguably outshining screen legends like Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren. The same could be said of Teonna's story, which is proving robust enough to have potentially merited an entire series of its own. As it stands, that story will continue to be doled out in smaller doses in "1923." But even in small doses, it remains one of the most important storylines being told on television today.