Several grievous injuries and a long-awaited homecoming may change everything we assumed about the Dutton family tree ahead of 1923. But first, please be wary of spoilers for both 1923 and older seasons of Yellowstone ahead.
To put it plainly, the raucous events of 1923‘s Episode 3 may entirely rework the Dutton family tree. We’ve been mapping out the Dutton lineage for years now through Yellowstone, 1883, and the beginnings of 1923. But Season 1, Episode 3 holds the beginnings of what could be an ingenious curveball for our favorite fictional family, switching the focus from the lineage of John Dutton Sr. (James Badge Dale) to his younger brother, Spencer (Brandon Sklenar).
Do Jack & Elizabeth or Spencer & Alexandra Carry On the Dutton Family Tree?
So far, and with what limited information we’ve had ahead of 1923, it’s made the most sense for John Dutton Sr.’s son, Jack (Darren Mann), to continue on his father’s legacy by marrying Elizabeth (Michelle Randolph). Their pairing would produce the next Dutton ancestor around 1924, which would perfectly line up with the age of the next John Dutton Sr. (Dabney Coleman) we meet in Yellowstone‘s early flackbacks.
Dabney Coleman was born in 1932, and was almost 90 when he filmed his much-loved flashback scene for Yellowstone Season 2. Those scenes took place a solid 10 years prior to any events of the show’s main timeline, however, making Coleman’s John Sr. around 90 in, let’s say, 2010. This would place the birth of John Dutton Sr., somewhere in 1920-on, give or take a few years on the character’s age. In short, Jack and Elizabeth of 1923 are the perfect age and candidates for his parents and carrying on the Dutton family tree. Or they were until Elizabeth was shot in the stomach.
In 1923 Season 1, Episode 3, a hellish ambush rings out from the forest as the Duttons all leave town together. Bullets overtake the entire family, and both Elizabeth and Jack are shot as the family seeks cover. John Dutton Sr. meets a tragic end here, too. But his lineage is already secure in Jack. And what happens next for the Dutton family tree rests entirely on the extent of Elizabeth’s wounds and, hopefully, her recovery.
Spencer Dutton Comes Home to the Yellowstone
But we must remember Elizabeth’s wounds come in the world and year of 1923. She is young and strong and capable of surviving a gunshot wound to the torso, yes. But where that bullet hit in her abdomen will determine whether she is able to become pregnant. And even if she is, that bullet may rob her of being able to safely carry, then birth, a child.
If this is the case, then Taylor Sheridan may be throwing us a genius curveball for the Dutton family tree. The events of 1923 Episode 3 also tell us that Spencer Dutton is to come home from Africa. With his uncle Jacob at death’s door and his older brother John dead, the Yellowstone is at its most vulnerable. And they will need Spencer’s strength now more than ever.
Fortuitously, Spencer and his now-fiance, Alexandra (Julia Schlaepfer) are hoping to leave Africa by Episode 3’s end, too. The episode held heavy foreshadowing for their future, too, as each “sees the face of our son” in the other. And if I were a betting man, I’d say Sheridan is setting us up for a true bait & switch in which Spencer and Alexandra get that son, and he becomes imperative to the Dutton Family Tree.
If this is the case, then it’s most likely that “Jack” isn’t short for John Dutton in Jack’s case, after all, and it will be Spencer who names his son John Jr. after his late older brother. We’d have to re-write our entire Dutton Family Tree as a result. But hey, if that’s the price of great storytelling, I’ll take it.
We’ll find out how it all unfolds as 1923 continues exclusively on Paramount Plus.