The highly anticipated new Yellowstone prequel series has finally landed on Paramount+ (with a free preview on Paramount Network tonight following Yellowstone).
And it did NOT disappoint.
Picking up roughly 40 years after the events of 1883,the second chapter of the Dutton saga stars Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren as Jacob and Cara Dutton, who are now leading the Dutton Ranch.
“1923 focuses on the Dutton family’s next two generations as they struggle to survive historic drought, lawlessness and prohibition, and an epidemic of cattle theft; all battled beneath the cloud of Montana’s great depression, which preceded the nation by almost a decade.”
Jacob is the brother of James (Tim McGraw), and has come to look after the kids (John and Spencer) at the request of Margaret (Faith Hill). We find out that James has died and Margaret and the kids are struggling to survive.
And unfortunately, when Jacob and Cara arrive, it’s too late for Margaret:
The late Elsa Dutton (Isabel May) narrates the scene, describing the brutal fate of her parents:
“Upon my father’s death, my mother wrote to my father’s brother, begging that he bring his family to these wild lands and save her.
A year later, he arrived to find my mother frozen in a snow drift, her two boys half-starved and barely able to speak.
He raised them as his own, and took my father’s dream and made it into an empire. Then… the empire crumbled.”
I mean, we already knew the journey to Montana was brutal, taking the lives of James Dutton’s sister Claire and her daughter Abel, his own daughter Elsa, and a number of others on the trail.
But we’re learning quickly that getting there was just the beginning… building a life in Montana is where the real battle begins.
The original patriarch of the Dutton Family, James (Tim McGraw) was a farmer from Tennessee who took his family out west in search of a new life. The husband of Margaret Dutton and father of Elsa, John and Spencer, he chose to establish the modern day Dutton Ranch where his daughter Elsa passed away.
The original matriarch of the Dutton Family, Margaret (Faith Hill) is married to James Dutton and the mother of Elsa, John and Spencer Dutton.
Elsa (Isabel May) was the eldest child of James and Margaret Dutton. She also serves as the narrator of both 1883 and 1923. She was going to marry a cowboy named Ennis, however, he was killed on the journey West. She vowed to return to a Comanche warrior named Sam once her family reached its destination, however she was killed in an attack on the wagon train. The Dutton Ranch property was established where she died, and she was the first to be buried there.
John Dutton (Audie Rick in 1883, James Badge Dale in 1923) is the son of James and Margaret Dutton, brother to Elsa and Spencer. He was just a young boy during the events of 1883, however in 1923, he works alongside his uncle Jacob on the Dutton Ranch. He is married to Emma Dutton, and they have at least one son, Jack.
Claire (Dawn Olivieri) is James Dutton’s sister, who joins the journey west with her daughter Mary Abel. A widow, she kills herself once her daughter is killed on the trail.
Jacob (Harrison Ford) is the brother of James Dutton, who becomes the leader of the family once James passes away. He and his wife, Cara Dutton, work to run the ranch with their nephews, John and Spencer, and John’s son Jack.
Cara (Helen Mirren) is the wife of Jacob Dutton. A hard-nosed Irish immigrant, she becomes the matriarch of the Dutton family in 1923, following the passing of Margaret and James.
Spencer (Brandon Sklenar) is the second son of James and Margaret Dutton. Born after the Duttons settled in Montana (and the death of his sister, Elsa), Spencer is a WWI vet who spends time hunting in Africa before returning back to Montana to work the ranch.
Emma (Marley Shelton) is the wife of John Dutton Sr. and the mother of Jack Dutton.
Jack (Darren Mann) works on the Dutton Ranch alongside his father, John Dutton Sr. and great-uncle, Jacob Dutton. He is engaged to Elizabeth Strafford, the daughter of another notable rancher.
With the hints that Elizabeth may already be pregnant, my suspicion is that Jack may be the father of John Dutton II since the “II” title is generally used when the child is named after another relative, not the father. This is just a guess, but my hunch is that John Dutton won’t survive 1923, and Jack will name his first born son after his late father… John Dutton II. The other option is that John or spencer have another son who then goes on to father John II.
Elizabeth (Michelle Randolph) is Jack’s fiancée. The two end up postponing their wedding briefly, but are planning on marrying very soon. There is also a suspicion that she might already be pregnant.
John Dutton III
The modern day leader of the Dutton family and the current Governor of Montana. He is the father of Lee Dutton, Beth Dutton and Kayce Dutton, and the adoptive father of Jamie Dutton.
Evelyn (Gretchen Mol) is the wife of John Dutton III who passed away in a horseback riding accident when her children were young. She is the mother of Lee, Beth and Kayce Dutton.
Lee (Dave Annable) is the oldest son of John and Evelyn Dutton. The heir to the Dutton Ranch, Lee was killed by Robert Long (Monica’s brother) after an argument broke out over stolen cattle.
Beth (Kelly Reilly) is the daughter of John Dutton III and wife of Rip Wheeler, her father’s ranch foreman and right-hand man. Unable to have children of her own, her and Rip have taken in teenage Carter.
Rip (Cole Hauser) is the Yellowstone foreman and right-hand man of John Dutton III. He came to the Dutton Ranch as an orphaned teenager after he killed his own father (who killed his mother and brother). Teenage sweethearts, he eventually marries John’s daughter, Beth Dutton.
Kayce (Luke Grimes) is the youngest of the Dutton siblings, and a former Navy SEAL. He’s married to Monica Dutton and the father of Tate Dutton and John Dutton IV (deceased).
Monica (Kelsea Asbille) was raised on the Broken Rock Reservation. She is married to Kayce Dutton and the mother of Tate Dutton and John Dutton IV.
Tate (Brecken Merrill) is the oldest son of Kayce and Monica Dutton, the eldest of the 7th generation of Duttons.
John Dutton IV
John Dutton IV is the second son of Kayce and Monica Dutton, who tragically only lived a few hours following complications from an early birth and a car accident.
Jamie (Wes Bentley) is the adopted son of John Dutton III and the black sheep of the Dutton family.
Christina is Jamie’s ex assistant and the mother of his child.
James Dutton Jr.
The son of Jamie Dutton and his ex-girlfriend Christina, Jamie finds out he has a son after the birth.