“1923” Review

Story posted January 24, 2023 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Cade Miller

“Yellowstone,” the dynasty of a television show has not only grown with its own success, but also with its prequels, “1883” and “1923.”

All three shows have captivated audiences since their first episode. Continuing to do so, writer, Taylor Sheridan, shows off his creativity with every episode in “1923.”

Taking place right after World War I and during the Prohibition era of America, we see how the state of Montana is struggling with many things like finances through the Great Depression and ecosystem failures with droughts and locusts.

Still keeping the focus on the Dutton family, the show depicts this era of people 30 years before “Yellowstone’s” protagonist John Dutton III was born. A bit confusing, yet rich history through a surviving ranch in the Rocky Mountains.

“1923” follows Cara (Helen Mirren) and Jacob Dutto (Harrison Ford) as they are the sole leaders of the Yellowstone ranch. Accompanied by their nephew Jack Dutton (Darren Mann) and his fiance Elizabeth (Michelle Randolph), the family struggles to maintain the safety of the cattle through the rough time in Montana.

While working the ranch, Banner Creighton, the Dutton’s neighbor, a sheep farmer, is constantly metalling with the Dutton’s land, where he takes a step too far. Jacob shows Banner “his law” as Live Stock Commissioner.

These events spiral and the story of the ranch takes off. Calling for aid, Cara writes to a long distant relative.

On the other side of the world, in Africa, Spencer Dutton (Brandon Sklenar) is a world-renowned hunter, keeping travelers safe from predators. On his journey, he meets a girl named Alexandra (Julia Schlaepfer) and they will continue their stories together.

While the Duttons have much going on, Native American, Teonna Rainwater (Aminah Nieves) is in the middle of nowhere, being forced to lose her culture in the Indian Boarding School. She is constantly being physically and mentally abused, and Teonna fights to stay alive in that horrid place.

The show has many different stories going on at once. When done correctly, television can show its true potential when written in a way viewers can keep up with every story. “1923” takes this task to the next level. The audience is meeting new people and opening up to more stories every episode.

Cowboys and Indians are what many of the “Yellowstone” viewers love to watch, but this series sheds a different light on this genre. Rather than the cowboys and Indians fighting one another, the cowboys are fighting themselves and the Indians are struggling to maintain their culture as Native Americans.

Most viewers don’t know that these Indian Boarding Schools were real. These Federal “schools” would kidnap Native American children from the reservations, ship them to an institution that would unteach their culture and way of life, and teach them how to be more “white,” all with Catholic priests and nuns being the teachers.

It shows the writers of the show put so much effort into making this series as historically accurate as possible. The story of what Teonna is going through is graphic, but in a way, it shows the audience this is what teenage Native Americans went through.

The costumes are amazing, all historically depicting the “roaring 20s” outfits from an area in a drought and more rural. The women's costumes change from working clothes to town clothes in a very dramatic yet simplistic way. It adds more to each character.

The set is spectacular. The town is full of color and shows off the decor Montana may have had in the 20s. And the ranch looks as if it is actually used as a ranch.

It is clear the set design was worked on tremendously.

Though the show did kick off with a very slow pace, episode four leaves viewers gasping for more. The cliffhanger is so strong at the end, however, episode four is the last episode being aired until February. The show is taking a small break.

This has nothing to do with the streaming service, Paramount+, rather the production team wanted a mid-season break in the middle. This now leaves the plot at the beginning of a war with a Dutton dead, and all of the family furious.

Part One of Season One Rating: 4/5

Cade Miller is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email cam7095@psu.edu.