When it comes to hit tv shows, nobody writes them quite like Taylor Sheridan. On the back of the hugely successful Yellowstone, Sheridan created 1883, the origin story of the Dutton family as they first made their way across America to Montana.
A limited series, he then followed 1883 with another Yellowstone prequel, 1923, set 40 years after the family first claimed their land.
In the intervening years, the family tree looks slightly different with Jacob Dutton (James' brother) and his wife Cara Dutton now raising the two remaining Dutton boys – John Dutton Sr and Spencer Dutton.
So what is Sheridan's 1923 all about and is it worth watching?
What Is 1923 About?
1923, as mentioned above, picks up the Dutton family 40 years after the end of 1883.
Jacob (Harrison Ford, Indiana Jones) and Cara Dutton (Helen Mirren) have built an incredibly successful business and have become one of the biggest landowners in the state of Montana.
However, big changes are on the horizon with prohibitions, expansion into the west and industrialisation all threatening their way of life.
Mass immigration to the US has meant an influx of new farmers who battle over land, one of whom, Banner Creighton (Jerome Flynn) starts to farm his sheep on Dutton's land amidst a drought that has seen decent land become a scarcity.
Surviving Dutton's punishment for the infraction, Creighton retaliates and goes into partnership with a sadistic and powerful businessman, Donald Whitfield (Timothy Dalton), the aim of which is to run the Duttons off their land and claim it for themselves.
With the ranch facing possible ruin, it's time for Spencer Dutton (Brandon Sklenar) to come home. Having served in the World War, Spencer has since spent all of his time in Africa. And this story for the second major plot in the series.
Alongside the Dutton stories, 1923 also looks at the devastating impact the expansion had on the Native American community, specifically following the story of Teonna Rainwater (Aminah Nieves) and her struggles with being taken from her family and placed in a Catholic school designed to beat the Native out of her.
Given the Yellowstone ties between the Duttons and the Rainwater family, this is another origin story which charters the family connections.
So overall, 1923 is a continuing story set in the early twentieth century when a World War, pandemics, historic drought, the end of Prohibition and the Great Depression all plague the mountain west and threaten the lives of those who have made it their home.
1923 Official Trailer
Is 1923 Worth Watching?
If you watched and liked 1883, there's an excellent chance you will also love 1923, the latest instalment of Taylor Sheridan's Yellowstone universe.
It's another epic, sweeping saga that is superbly written and brilliantly acted, keeping you invested in the lives of the Dutton family as they move through the decades.
Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren are exceptionally good, but real credit has to be given to Aminah Nieves, whose portrayal of a young Native American caught up in an abusive system is simply stunning, though not for the feint of heart.
There are plenty of subplots, great characters and a real depiction of the struggles of the time where it seems that every day was simply a battle to survive.
Of course, we do know that, despite the plotline involving Timothy Dalton in season 1, the Duttons keep their ranch; otherwise, we wouldn't have Yellowstone.
And that brings me to my only criticism of 1923 – the Spencer Dutton storyline.
While the rest of the plots move on at a steady pace, this one simply drags. Never has one man encountered so many convoluted obstacles to getting home.
At times, it felt like Sheridan wrote it only test the audience's patience and to enable the Montana storyline to progress as it did, giving us something to hang on to for the second season.
Otherwise, 1923 is another stellar piece of television and one that is devoid of rose-tinted glasses, highlighting the stark realities of the time.
1923 TV Series Cast
Helen Mirren as Cara Dutton, the wife of Jacob Dutton and having no children of their own, Jacob and Cara raised John and Spencer Dutton.
Harrison Ford as Jacob Dutton, the head of the Dutton ranch and the older brother of James Dutton (portrayed by Tim McGraw in 1883).
Brandon Sklenar as Spencer Dutton, the younger son of James and Margaret Dutton. After the horrors of World War I he travels Africa tracking big game.
Julia Schlaepfer as Alexandra, a British woman who encounters Spencer in Africa.
Jerome Flynn as Banner Creighton, a Scottish sheepherder and enemy of the Duttons.
Darren Mann as Jack Dutton, John Dutton Sr.'s son and James Dutton's grandson.
Michelle Randolph as Liz Strafford, Jack Dutton's fiancée.
Isabel May as the Narrator, Elsa Dutton.
Brian Geraghty as Zane Davis, a loyal ranch foreman of the Dutton Ranch.
Aminah Nieves as Teonna Rainwater, a rebellious young American Indian woman placed in an Indian boarding school for girls run by the Catholic Church.
Timothy Dalton as Donald Whitfield, a wealthy business tycoon who wants the Dutton ranch.
Jennifer Ehle as Sister Mary, a ruthless and abusive Irish Catholic nun.
Marley Shelton as Emma Dutton, the wife of John Dutton Sr. and the mother of Jack Dutton.
Robert Patrick as Sheriff William McDowell.
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