1923 ending explained: what happened to the Duttons

Darren Mann surrounded by cowboys in 1923
Darren Mann in 1923 (Image credit: Emmerson Miller/Paramount+)

Yellowstone has often been called an epic western, but then Taylor Sheridan unleashed 1923 and said you ain't seen nothing yet. The Yellowstone prequel series introduces us to a previous era of the Dutton family, as they fight to protect their land from various enemies in the early 1920s. That's not particularly new for fans of the franchise, but the series also gave us a sweeping love story in Africa with Spencer Dutton and Alex, and followed the harrowing experience of Teonna Rainwater as she tries to break free from a religious Native American reform school.

The show has proven to be a gripping watch for many fans and the 1923 season 1 finale did not disappoint, as it offered a number of twists and turns to leave viewers itching for season 2 (which, thankfully, is already confirmed).

You can get a full recap of 1923 episode 8 — and see how many of our finale predictions panned out —but if you just want the basics of where all the characters ended up at the end of season 1, we're diving into that right here.

Spencer and Alex

Julia Schlaepfer and Brandon Sklenar in 1923

Julia Schlaepfer and Brandon Sklenar in 1923 (Image credit: Emmerson Miller/Paramount+)

We'll start with everyone's favorite couple. After awkwardly running into Alex's ex-fiancé, Arthur (Rafe Soule) in episode 7, things get worse in the finale. Spencer (Brandon Sklenar) and Alex (Julia Schlaepfer) get on a boat heading for London as they continue their long journey back to Montana, but Arthur and his family are also on board. First wanting to hide, Alex eventually decides she isn't going to let them determine how she acts.

At dinner, Arthur is furious at seeing Spencer and Alex. He challenges Spencer to a duel and calls Alex a whore, which forces Spencer to accept the challenge. The poor Brit is no match for Spencer though, but he foolishly keeps charging after him, eventually with a pistol drawn. Spencer reacts by throwing him overboard. He is then arrested by the captain.

Though Alex's friend Jennifer (Jo Ellen Pellman) defends Spencer and the charges are dropped since it was self-defense, Arthur's family forces the captain to throw Spencer off the boat at the nearest port, but won't let Alex join him. Alex tries to rush to Spencer, but he is already being rowed away. They heartbreakingly cry out for each other, with Alex promising she will find him in Montana.

One thing to potentially file away: Alex mentions to her friend she is no longer interested in what her family thinks, only the new family she is creating. Could this be a hint that she is pregnant? Nothing was confirmed in the episode, so we'll have to wait for season 2.

Jacob and Cara

Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford in 1923

Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford in 1923 (Image credit: Emmerson Miller/Paramount+)

Jacob (Harrison Ford) is just about recovered from the attack earlier in the season, but things are not alright for the Dutton patriarch. First, the bank refuses to give Jacob a loan so he can feed the cattle through winter, as they see it as a bad investment. Cara (Helen Mirren) also spots that he is oddly gripping a towel. She asks him about it, with him revealing he doesn't have feeling in his fingers, which rightfully concerns him.

But the real kicker comes when Donald Whitfield (Timothy Dalton) arrives. He has paid the first property tax on the Dutton's ranch for them, but this is not a generous gift. What it means is that if they don't pay Whitfield back by the end of the year, then the deed for the Yellowstone will revert to him.

How are Jacob and Cara going to solve this one is the question heading into next season.

Jack and Elizabeth

Michelle Randolph and Darren Mann in bed in 1923

Michelle Randolph and Darren Mann in bed in 1923 (Image credit: hristopher Saunders/Paramount+)

Rounding out the tough times for the Duttons in the season finale were Jack (Darren Mann) and Elizabeth (Michelle Randolph). Elizabeth ends up having a miscarriage and feels like she has failed in the one purpose she has as a woman. However, in a sweet moment, Jack tells her even if they can't be parents, they can find a purpose for themselves and that no matter what he loves her.


Aminah Nieves kneels in the mud in 1923

Aminah Nieves in 1923 (Image credit: Emmerson Miller/Paramount+)

After being tortured and on the run for much of the season, Teonna (Aminah Nieves) ends things with a bit of hope. Her father (Michael Spears) finds her and takes her away. She also forms a quick connection with Pete (Cole Brings Plenty). Their plan is to head south to a Comanche reservation, where they can hide out from everyone after Teonna. However, the marshals, with Father Renaud (Sebastian Roché), are on her tail. They make the guess that they may be heading to Comanche territory and are taking the train to beat them there. 


Brian Geraghty rides a horse in 1923

Brian Geraghty in 1923 (Image credit: Emmerson Miller/Paramount+)

We get to know a little bit about Zane (Brian Geraghty) in the finale. He has a family: a Chinese wife and two children. However, their domestic bliss is ruined when Whitfield's spy, Clyde (Brian Konowall), sees this and reports it to the police. Interracial marriages are illegal in Montana at this time, so the police arrest Zane's wife and beat up the cowboy as well. 

Creighton and Whitfield

Timothy Dalton in 1923

Timothy Dalton in 1923 (Image credit: hristopher Saunders/Paramount+)

Whitfield's lawyer is able to get the judge to release Banner Creighton (Jerome Flynn) without bail on the murder charges against him. Though he won the day, he is still furious and vows revenge against the Duttons. Whitfield tells him the best way to attack the Duttons is not with a gun but with a pen, teasing his plan for later.

We also see just how much of a monster Whitfield really is, as he is still employing the prostitutes from episode 7, having them beat each other. He explains to them that it is not their pain that he is interested in, but the power the beating gives one over the other that gives him pleasure. Or course, he has the most power in this situation.

All of 1923 season 1 is available to stream exclusively on Paramount Plus. We have no info on when 1923 season 2 is going to debut.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.