GENERAL SPOILER WARNING
I really like Yellowstone, the modern Western show set in Montana that follows the lives of the Dutton family. It’s dark and action packed and political and romantic. Overall very enjoyable and one I definitely recommend! It’s since spawned two sequel series, 1883 and 1923. I haven’t seen 1883 yet – it’s on the list – but I started 1923 first because, you know, Harrison Ford! (And Helen Mirren! And Brandon Sklenar! And Julia Schlaepfer! And Aminah Nieves! So. Many. Amazing. Actors.) And I actually think I like it more than Yellowstone. I love the historical setting and I love the cinematography and I just love love love all the main characters. I love the storylines and the romances and the journeys. Just, yesssss. So good!
The first storyline of 1923 takes place both on the Dutton Ranch that we know from Yellowstone, only it’s just a house and fields at this point; a parallel storyline is set in a horrible boarding school where indigenous children are subjected to terrible abuse; and the third storyline starts in Kenya and travels all the way up to Italy. The Montana-based storyline centres around Jacob and Cara Dutton, the family leaders, and young Jack and Elizabeth Dutton, newly engaged; the school storyline follows young Teonna Rainwater, who is being held against her will and is desperately trying to escape and return to her family (her grandmother is likewise trying to get her out); and the third storyline follows Spencer Dutton and the woman he meets along the way, Alex, and their journey and love story.
All of the storylines are linked around the history of the land and the future of the Dutton Ranch and slowly converge in that direction. Obviously all the Duttons are ancestors of the Dutton family in Yellowstone; likewise, Teonna Rainwater is the ancestor of Chief Thomas Rainwater in that show. The scenes in this one set at the ranch largely concern Jacob, Cara and Jack’s issues with the surrounding ranches and farmers who are all in desperate need of grazing land (cattle versus sheep and how much and where they need to graze), as well as the ever looming encroachment of the city and modernity that threatens their way of life. There’s lots of scuffles and wild west ways and political debates and philosophical discussions. It’s very interesting and it’s intermingled with more domestic moments of love and family between Jacob and Cara, and Jack and Elizabeth.
Teonna’s storyline (at the beginning) deals with the abuse she suffers at the hands of two cruel nuns and a sadistic priest who torments not only the students, but the nuns. It’s just layers upon layers of darkness in the school and the storyline is very hard to watch, but Aminah Nieves is an absolutely phenomenal actress. It’s such a dark, horrible moment in US history and it needs to be told. [[SPOILER WARNING: Teonna isn’t in the school for long episode-wise – she fights her way out and makes her way to the ranch. Along the way she meets Hank, a shepherd who knows her father and helps her.]] The showrunners take a lot of care with the storyline and I can’t wait to see where Teonna goes next season!
Over in Kenya, Spencer Dutton is working as a hunter and dealing with the trauma he suffered fighting in WWI. His aunt Cara keeps sending him letters about the events in Montana and asking him to come home, but he doesn’t read them as he’s struggling too much with what happened in the war and the guilt he feels about everything. When he meets Alexandra (‘Alex’) things change for the better for him and they begin travelling together and embarking on a cross-country adventure that sees them thrown from one obstacle to another. I loved their romance. They’re just so utterly charming and endearing together. They’re pretty much committed from minute one and never stray from it for a second and I just *DRAMATIC SHIPPING SQUEALS*!! I seriously adore them. ROMANCE FANS, TRUST ME.
I’m so glad the show got renewed for a second season and I’m so excited to see next week’s season finale! LIKE ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT!!
Anyone else watched this one yet? Or plan to? (It’s on Paramount+!)