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Yellowstone 1923 Season 1 - Everything You Need To Know

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The world can't get enough of the Dutton family. There's "Yellowstone," chronicling the modern-day saga of rancher John Dutton and his dysfunctional family. There's "Yellowstone 1883," focusing on James and Margaret Dutton, the patriarch and matriarch of the clan. And then, showrunner Taylor Sheridan went and got himself another show greenlit — "Yellowstone 1923," which finds a new generation of Duttons trying to hold down the fort in Prohibition-era Montana.

The first episode of "1923" hit Paramount+ on December 18, 2022, kicking off an eight-episode season that concluded — with quite a few cliffhangers — on February 26, 2023. With three separate storylines and characters trekking across the U.S., Africa, and the high seas, "1923" offered up drama, romance, and violence of the highest order. However, if you haven't seen the show yet and want to get the lowdown on all the Dutton action, you've come to the right place. Saddle up your horse and get ready to ride as we look at everything you need to know about "Yellowstone 1923" Season 1.

What is the plot of 1923?

While the Yellowstone ranch sits at the middle of "1923," the prequel series actually follows three separate storylines. In the primary story, we're introduced to Jacob Dutton, the grizzled leader of the Yellowstone and brother of James, who was at the heart of "1883." But Jacob doesn't run the Yellowstone alone — instead, he's helped and advised by his loyal, headstrong wife, Cara, who's eventually forced to take charge as the Duttons find themselves in a range war against the combined forces of a wealthy miner and a vengeful sheepherder.

As tensions boil over and violence erupts on the Yellowstone, we travel across the Atlantic to join the long-lost Spencer Dutton, the son of James and Margaret from "1883." A World War I vet haunted by terrible memories, Spencer works as a hunter on the Serengeti, but his life turns upside down after running across the vivacious Alexandra, a British woman who abandons her upper-crust world for a life of romance and passion with the American hunter. However, danger follows Spencer wherever he goes, and when he's eventually summoned back to the Yellowstone to fight for his family, his relationship with Alexandra is put to its ultimate test.

However, as the Duttons battle to keep control of their ranch, a third storyline plays out at a Catholic school for Native Americans. The incredibly sadistic priests and nuns running the place plan on beating their young wards into submission and forcing them to adopt white ways. However, the proud Teonna Rainwater has no intention of taking this abuse lying down, going head to head with the violent Sister Mary. Eventually, the battle between Teonna and the Catholic colonizers explodes, leading the young woman to flee the school to find her freedom.

Who stars in Yellowstone 1923's ranch storyline?

"1923" boasts an all-star cast of heavyweights and talented up-and-comers, making it perhaps the most star-studded series in the "Yellowstone" universe. Harrison Ford makes his first major TV appearance as Jacob Dutton, the leader of the ranch who finds himself fighting against drought, locusts, and greedy rivals wanting to pick off his family and carve up his land. As the man who played Han Solo and Indiana Jones, Ford needs no introduction here, and he stars alongside Oscar-winner Helen Mirren as Cara Dutton, Jacob's rock and a guiding light for the entire Dutton family. Needless to say, Mirren picked up her Academy Award for her performance in "The Queen" and has starred in everything from "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover" to "The Fate of the Furious."

In their storyline, Ford and Mirren are joined by James Bond himself, Timothy Dalton, as the twisted mining magnate Donald Whitfeld, as well as the T-1000, Robert Patrick, as Sheriff William McDowell. Jerome Flynn plays vengeful sheepherder Banner Creighton, and "Game of Thrones" fans will no doubt recognize him as the money-loving swordsman Bronn from his adventures in Westeros. Plus, James Badge Dale ("Iron Man 3"), Darren Mann ("Chilling Adventures of Sabrina"), Marley Shelton (2022's "Scream"), Brian Geraghty ("Big Sky"), and Michelle Randolph ("A Snow White Christmas") all play various Dutton family members and allies, with Isabel May narrating as Elsa Dutton.

Who stars in Yellowstone 1923's Africa storyline?

In the second storyline — one that ranges from Africa to the Atlantic Sea — we meet Brandon Sklenar as the sullen hunter Spencer Dutton and Julia Schlaepfer as his unstoppable bride-to-be Alexandra. You may have seen Schlaepfer in Ryan Murphy's "The Politician" or the Manson Family drama "Charlie Says," and you might've caught Sklenar in Adam McKay's "Vice," the World War II flick "Midway," or as Burt Reynolds in Paramount+'s "The Offer." Honestly, neither Sklenar or Schlaepfer are household names, but we're willing to bet that's going to change after their showstopping performances and sizzling chemistry in "1923."

In their world-traveling adventure, they run across Peter Stormare as a wizened, lung-hacking sea captain. You've definitely seen Stormare somewhere, as the man has played in projects like "Fargo," "Constantine," "John Wick: Chapter 2," and "The Big Lebowski." You also might recognize Joseph Mawle as Captain Shipley, as he played Ned Stark's brother, Benjen, in "Game of Thrones." Joe Ellen Pellman of "The Prom" stars as Alexandra's best friend, Jennifer, while South African actor Rafe Soule portrays Alexandra's jilted lover, Arthur. Plus, you'll definitely recognize Arthur's understandably angry dad, who's played by Bruce Davison, a character actor who's been in everything from "Willard" to "X-Men."

Who stars in Yellowstone 1923's boarding school storyline?

In "1923's" third storyline, the proceedings are anchored by a powerhouse performance from Aminah Nieves as Teonna Rainwater, a young girl who's horribly abused at a boarding school for young Indian women. However, Teonna refuses to back down, and Nieves' turn as the young hero is perhaps the most moving of the season.

Nieves hasn't been in very much — "V/H/S/99," "Dogwood," and "Blueberry" — but after her star-making turn in "1923," we'd be shocked if the offers don't start pouring in. During Season 1, Nieves finds herself trading blows with a veteran actor in Jennifer Ehle. Here, she plays the sadistic Sister Mary, but she's perhaps best known for a very different character indeed: Elizabeth Bennet in BBC's revered "Pride and Prejudice" series.

Perhaps the scariest figure in the whole season is Father Renaud, the cruel priest who runs the boarding school. He's played by Sebastian Roché, an actor who's shown up in a ton of TV shows, including "General Hospital," "Supernatural," "The Vampire Diaries," and "The Man in the High Castle." In his quest to capture and kill an escaped Teonna, Father Renaud is joined by the merciless Marshal Kent, played by Jamie McShane. McShane recently played another law enforcement officer, Sheriff Donovan Galpin, on Tim Burton's hit Netflix series "Wednesday."

Of course, not everyone in the boarding school storyline is out to hunt down Teonna. Her worried grandmother — Issaxche Rainwater, who's doing her best to bring Teonna home — is played by Amelia Rico, who's appeared in both "Dark Winds" and in one episode of "Yellowstone" proper, as terrified mother Dana Whitefeather. During her flight to freedom, Teonna is assisted by Hank Plenty Clouds and his son, Pete, who are portrayed by Michael Greyeyes and Cole Brings Plenty. Greyeyes has killed his fair share of zombies in both "Blood Quantum" and "Fear the Walking Dead," while Cole Brings Plenty is actually related to Mo Brings Plenty, who plays Thomas Rainwater's right-hand man in the actual "Yellowstone" series.

Lastly, Michael Spears portrays Runs His Horse, the Broken Rock tribal leader who gets gory revenge for what happened to his daughter. Spears made a big impression in "Dances With Wolves," playing the young Otter, and since then, he's appeared in projects like "Into the West" and "Reservation Dogs."

Who is writing and directing 1923?

You think the Duttons are the one calling all the shots in the world of "Yellowstone?" Nope. Not even close. That distinction goes to Taylor Sheridan, the man who's basically running the Paramount Network at this point. He wrote and executive produced every episode of "1923," to say nothing of his involvement with the rest of the "Yellowstone" properties (and other series such as "Tula King" and "Mayor of Kingstown").

However, while Sheridan has done a bit of directing (a la "Wind River" and "The Harder They Fall"), he didn't helm any episodes of "1923." While he did pen the scripts, directing duties went to Ben Richardson and Guy Ferland. Richardson has previously spearheaded episodes of "Yellowstone," "1883," and "Mayor of Kingstown," so he's a Sheridan guy. Ferland has also worked on "Yellowstone," while also helming episodes of shows like "Son of Anarchy," "The Walking Dead," "Daredevil," and "The Shield."

How are critics and audiences responding to Yellowstone 1923?

With its A-list stars, sweeping romance, and dark look at American history, "Yellowstone 1923" seems to have entranced most critics. Based on 39 reviews, the series currently has a 90% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with the critics consensus reading, "Distinguished by the ineffable star power of Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, '1923' is another solid if unrelentingly grim addition to Taylor Sheridan's 'Yellowstone' universe."

In fairness, some critics had a problem with the show's more traumatic moments (and there are a whole lot of them). As Ben Travers of IndieWire wrote, "Remembering [Taylor] Sheridan's penchant for juxtaposing mankind's ugliest antics with magnificent natural vistas, it seems just as likely that '1923' will only match Jacob's grimace with a perpetually grim tone." On the flip side, Michael Idato of the Sydney Morning Herald wrote, "'1923' is brilliant. Taylor Sheridan's writing is so taut it feels like the tension could snap at any moment, and Ben Richardson's crisp and economic direction suits the weary, almost sullen mood."

Regardless of whether they enjoyed the series or not, almost all critics agreed that Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren were incredibly capable leads, lending serious gravitas to the Wild West proceedings. Audiences, however, don't love "1923" Season 1 as much as the critics, as the show only has a 69% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Some TV watchers had a problem with the pacing of the show, while others were upset by the series' most brutal moments, largely aimed at characters who aren't rich, white, and male.

What is Yellowstone 1923 rated?

Pretty much everything created by Taylor Sheridan is meant for adults, and that's especially true for "Yellowstone 1923." It's perhaps his most brutal series to date, especially in regards to the Teonna Rainwater storyline. In order to showcase the true horrors of American Indian boarding schools, the series pulls no punches — there are multiple torture sequences, intense scenes of physical abuse, and an instance of sexual assault, all motivated by hatred and racism. And when Teonna and her family start taking revenge, it's well-deserved but not for the faint of heart.

Of course, the violence is spread out across all the storylines and includes everything from your typical "Yellowstone" shootouts to leopards chowing down on human beings. There's suicide and instances of PTSD, and if seeing animals get shot bothers you, then you'll definitely want to pass. The series also features quite a bit of nudity — both in romantic sequences and in moments that viewers will find very upsetting. And while Beth Dutton isn't out here dropping F-bombs every five seconds, the language is what you'd expect from a Sheridan joint, so it makes total sense that "1923" is rated TV-MA.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Will there be a Yellowstone 1923 Season 2?

The world just can't get enough of the Dutton family. And the same seems to be true for Paramount, as it was announced in February 2023 that we'd be revisiting the world of "1923" in the near future. That's right — the "Yellowstone" spinoff series has been renewed for Season 2, which is good news for dedicated fans. After all, Season 1 left off with several major cliffhangers. Will Spencer and Alexandra be able to find each other again after making an enemy out of the British Royal Family? Will Teonna find freedom on the Comanche reservation, or will the law track her down? And will Jacob and Cara be able to escape the trap laid by Donald Whitfield? We'll find out when Season 2 finally hits Paramount+.

Where to watch Yellowstone 1923

Now that "Yellowstone 1923" Season 1 has reached its tragic conclusion, fans can binge all eight episodes on Paramount+. However, if you want to dig deeper into "Yellowstone" lore but don't know where to look, don't worry — we've got you covered.

If you want to jump further back in time, witness the origins of the Yellowstone ranch, and meet Jacob's brother/Spencer's dad, you'll need to check out "Yellowstone 1883." Similar to "1923," it's available to stream on Paramount+. However, if you're looking for the flagship show, you'll have to check out a different streamer entirely.

"Yellowstone" itself is actually located on Peacock, and there, you can watch Season 1-4 of the series that kicked off a franchise. And if you want see the latest drama happening with John Dutton and his complicated kids, you'll have to buy the first half of Season 5 on sites such as Amazon Video, Apple iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu.