1923 episode 7 recap: Jacob gets a taste of revenge

Harrison Ford in 1923
Harrison Ford in 1923 (Image credit: Christopher Saunders/Paramount+)

NOTE: this post contains spoilers for 1923 episode 7, "The Rule of Five Hundred."

Snow has fallen at the Yellowstone, but there's no snow day on the ranch, especially when Jacob (Harrison Ford) and Jack (Darren Mann) are fixing to finally get some revenge on Banner Creighton (Jerome Flynn). They wake early, but so does Cara (Helen Mirren), who anxiously sees them off. When they and their posse get into town, they are joined by the sheriff and head to Creighton's house.

They catch Creighton with his pants down, quite literally, as he is enjoying his morning with a cigar, some champagne and two ladies of ill repute. When the sheriff charges Creighton with murder, Jacob finally reveals himself to be very much alive. Creighton promises him and Jack they escaped death this time, but they won't be so lucky the next.

Whitfield (Timothy Dalton)  is in the mountains overseeing the development of his mines when Clyde (Brian Konowal), the man Cara interviewed in the previous episode to be a livestock agent, tells him they've arrested Creighton (bit disappointing we find out he's a mole for Whitfield this early). Whitfield says that arresting Creighton instead of killing him was a mistake, and he quickly proves why. He sends a lawyer to see Creighton in jail, who assures him he'll be out on bail the next day, as Whitfield has the judge in his pocket.

Timothy Dalton in 1923

Timothy Dalton in 1923 (Image credit: Emmerson Miller/Paramount+)

Cara and Elizabeth (Michelle Randolph) wait up at the ranch for the men to come home. Elizabeth asks why she is writing to Spencer since a letter won't get to him as he's traveling. Cara says it's more for her, to get out her feelings and thoughts; a way to cope. Elizabeth says she can't put her thoughts into words, so to keep her mind active, Cara teaches her how to bake a cake.

Jacob and Jack return a little later, much to the ladies' delight. They have a late dinner, where Jack reads in the paper that Whitfield has been named a high-ranking official in a new commission overseeing mining regulations. Jack asks about the hypocrisy of having someone who owes mines oversee their regulation, so Jacob gives him a lesson in politics. 

He says once a population grows to a certain size, 500 or more, government is created and then often used by the strong to impose their own will on those weaker than them. When Jack asks what the difference is between what Whitfield is doing and what Jacob does by heading up the livestock commission, Jacob admits it isn't. He works with the livestock commission to protect the land and their family, using the government and its laws as a tool. The problem is that what he wants and what Whitfield wants are in opposition.

Cara, having had enough of the talk, gets up and insists that they no longer discuss politics at the dinner table. Jacob recognizes Cara isn't angry, but rather afraid, because she knows that this fight with Whitfield is far from over.

Elsewhere, Teonna's father finds the body of Teonna's grandmother, left for dead by the government agents. He is quickly joined by Pete Plenty Clouds (Cole Brings Plenty), Hank's son who was sent to tell him about Teonna (Aminah Nieves). Teonna's father tells Pete to ride ahead, he'll catch up after he buries his mother.

Cole Brings Plenty in 1923

Cole Brings Plenty in 1923 (Image credit: Emmerson Miller/Paramount+)

Later, as Pete is resting, the three priests looking for Teonna find him. They attempt to capture him and take him back to the school, but Pete fights back. Unfortunately, they outnumber him and eventually tie him up. Two go on to continue to look for Teona, while another drags Pete back to the school. 

The priest and Pete rest at night. The priest tries to make the argument that people where he has served on missions are now prospering because they have accepted Christianity, but because the indigenous people do not they continue to suffer. Pete quickly counters that the priests break the laws they teach and the fact they are not punished must mean that their God does not exist. 

Between Jacob's point about government not operating in in everyone's best interests and Pete's argument, the true meaning of laws from these higher powers is definitely questioned.

The priest, unsurprisingly, doesn't recognize that though. Angered by Pete's argument, he attacks him. Thankfully, Teonna's father arrives and kills the priest (having found and followed their tracks). He and Pete ride through the night to go find Teonna.

The next morning, the other two priests come upon Teonna and try to capture her. She pokes one of their eyes out, but they overpower her and begin to beat her. Hank (Michael Greyeyes) shoots them and carries Teonna away. One of the priests is still alive though and shoots Hank. As the priest reloads, Teonna is able to get a rock and beats him over the head, killing him.

It's not until the very end of the episode that we catch up with Spencer (Brandon Sklenar) and Alex (Julia Schlaepfer). They have arrived in Sicily (could have sworn the captain said they were heading to Marseilles in the previous episode). As they get off the boat, a sailor tells Spencer to hide his gun, or else the mafia may soon come after him. Spencer doesn't know what the mafia is.

After booking a ship to take them back to America in a few days, the two enjoy a nice meal in a restaurant. That is until a man calls Alexandra's name. It is her former fiance and the travel group she left behind in Africa, all looking aghast at finding her there with Spencer. Between Alex's ex, the threat of the mafia and everything else these two have been through, are they ever going to get on this boat?

New episodes of 1923 are released on Sundays on Paramount Plus.

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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.