the Yellowstone the story continues with the launch of 1923 on Paramount+, with the first episode revealing what a different world it was almost 100 years ago.
Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren lead the cast of Taylor Sheridan’s third addition to the Yellowstone universe, which picks up the stories and characters from 1883, four decades later.
The first episode of 1923 introduces a number of new characters, but the action mostly takes place in a trio of separate locations, so this recap will be split into three separate parts.
Keep reading to find out what happened in the first episode of 1923also titled “1923”.
The Yellowstone Ranch in 1923
As in the premiere of 1883, we open with a flashforward of an event that is likely to occur later down the line. This scene shows Cara Dutton (Helen Mirren) chasing down a wounded Scotsman with a shotgun in hand.
Once she catches him, he begs for his life, but she goes to shoot him anyway. His room is empty, giving him a chance to reload and shoot him, but Cara defeats him and manages to end his life before letting out a bloodcurdling scream.
The first surprise for viewers comes as Elsa Dutton (Isabel May) returns to recount the events of 1883. She informs the viewer that her parents, James and Margaret, died in 1893, orphaning John and Spencer Dutton .
Margaret had written to Jacob Dutton, who arrived to raise the boys and make an empire out of the Yellowstone ranch. Ominously, Elsa also suggests that only one of the Dutton children would survive and see her own children grow up, meaning there’s another death on the horizon for the family.
Eventually we meet Jacob (Ford) watching over his cattle, many of which are dead.
After the credits, Jacob and his men ride horses into town. The world has changed dramatically since 1883, as his horses now ride the roads, alongside luxury cars and carts, alongside buildings and power lines. He sees a boxing match taking place in broad daylight, and women demonstrating in favor of prohibition.
We find out that Jacob is the town commissioner and has arrived in town to meet with the sheriff (Robert Patrick) to resolve a dispute with the local shepherds. Town Hall is in shambles, and the sheriff must end a scuffle between the Scots and the Irish by firing his gun in the air.
Land disputes between shepherds and herders become tense and Jacob sends them away unhappy with his verdict. It seems that the locusts ate all the grass, which made it difficult for the animals to survive. Outside, Banner Creighton (Jerome Flynn) confronts Jacob, guns are drawn, but everyone survives.
Later we arrive at the ranch, and even though it’s a century earlier, the landscape and buildings look very familiar to what we see in modern Yellowstone. We meet loyal rancher Zane (Brian Geraghty) and John Dutton Sr’s son, Jack (Darren Mann), who helps tame the foals.
When Jacob and John Dutton (James Badge Dale) arrive home, they inform Jack that they are going to have to work on his supposed wedding day. He seems fine with it, but they warn him about how he breaks the bad news to his bride-to-be.
Sure enough, when he breaks the bad news to Elizabeth Strafford (Michelle Randolph), she doesn’t take it well and, in a roundabout way, she tells him to have sex with her precious cattle on top of a hill. Cara arrives to delicately explain the situation to Elizabeth who is now more tolerant, and the young couple reconcile.
Later that night we see the shepherds, led by Banner, cut down a fence to leave their sheep on someone else’s land.
The next morning we see the distress that cowboy life has on Cara, John’s wife, Emma (Marley Shelton) and now Elizabeth, as they watch the men leave to drive their cattle to more distant lands. .
The last time we see these riders in this episode is when Jack comes across the sheep. Looking away, he sees a man with a gun on a horse. The last thing we hear from this part of the episode is a gunshot.
Leopard hunting in Nairobi
Meanwhile, Spencer Dutton (Brandon Sklenar), James’s youngest son, goes on an adventure to Nairobi, Kenya. We first encounter him hunting and shooting a lion, before he leaves by train to undertake another mission.
As he sleeps, we see he’s still haunted by the horrors he saw in World War I, and he nearly shot a ticket inspector after waking up because he’s so shaken up.
Spencer arrives at a camp occupied by wealthy British travelers. A beautiful woman appreciates Spencer’s gruff ways and flirts with him in front of her own husband, but Spencer keeps her eyes on the task at hand, as he’s there to track down a leopard that’s been terrorizing the camp.
Later, as Spencer puts her plan into action, we see that the flirtatious woman has been mauled and killed by the leopard. Spencer shoots it, but is then unexpectedly attacked by a second.
School for American Indians
In the middle of nowhere, we see three separate buildings, which are the location of a government boarding school, named the School for American Indians. Inside we see a number of young Native American girls being taught in a school by nuns.
A strict teacher, Sister Mary O’Connor (Jennifer Ehle), pushes her student Teonna (Aminah Nieves) too far. Teonna fights back after being caned too many times. They are both then brought to the office of Father Renaud (Sebastian Roche), a French priest.
He brutally punishes both women for their role in the tampering. First he punishes Sister Mary until Teonna begs him to stop. She’s not so lucky, however, as he whips the exposed skin on the back of her thighs.
Later, a tense and drawn-out scene showed Teonna in distress as she bathed, under the direction and instructions of the nuns. Seeing the blood on the floor, Sister Mary informs him that it is in their both best interests to get along in the future.
At night, Teonna tells her classmate about the punishment she received and suggests that neither of them will live long enough to graduate in a year, let alone find a husband one day. She says they “have to get out of this place”, perhaps anticipating an escape plan.
The next episode of “1923” will premiere next Sunday, Christmas Day, on Paramount+.