HomeEntertainmentTVYellowstone‘1923’ Season 1 Finale: Full Recap of Episode 8, ‘Nothing Left to Lose’

‘1923’ Season 1 Finale: Full Recap of Episode 8, ‘Nothing Left to Lose’

by Jon D. B.
Harrison Ford as Jacob Dutton 1923 Finale
Harrison Ford as Jacob of the Paramount+ series 1923. Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

1923‘s Season 1 finale pulls at our heartstrings as the Duttons find themselves in their most dire straits yet. Please be warned of spoilers in our full recap and observations of Episode 8 after the synopsis below.

The feud between Whitfield, Banner, and the Duttons reaches the point of no return. Spencer and Alexandra encounter a different kind of peril on their passenger shop home. Marshalls track Teonna, who find a rare respite of hope.

S1E08 Synopsis

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Full Recap of ‘1923’ Season 1 Finale

As the finale begins, we’re catching up with two characters we’d rather not: Father Renaud (Sebastian Roché) and Marshal Kent (Jamie McShane). As Teonna (Aminah Nieves) remains at large, Kent finds himself at her Catholic Boarding school. There, he demands that Father Renaud accompany him on his journey to find her, as no white men left alive outside the school know what she looks like.

In a rare moment of happiness for Teonna, she is finally reunited with her father, Runs His Horse (Michael Spears). Pete Plenty Clouds (Cole Brings Plenty) rides alongside. As they leave the late Hank’s dwelling, the bodies of the priests slain in Episode 7 lie dead in the dirt with “Child Killer” written in blood across their bare chests.

The trio ride off, and our familiar theme song rolls for 1923 Season 1’s finale.

The World is Changing, But Not Enough…

In Butte, hitching spaces have been removed for parking spaces, so Jacob Dutton (Harrison Ford) and his men tie up to the tree outside the courthouse. There, Banner Creighton (Jerome Flynn) awaits trial for four counts of murder. But he’s lawyered up tight thanks to the money of his backers, and released without bail.

Although he’s advised by his lawyer, Chadwick Benton (Currie Graham), to exit without a word or look, he gives both to Jacob and Jack (Darren Mann). A fight breaks out in the courtroom, where Banner lands a solid punch square on Jack’s nose.

“This doesn’t end in a courtroom, Dutton. It ends in your front yard,” Banner threatens.

“If that’s where you want to die, I’m more than happy to help you out,” Jacob scowls.

Even as cars park outside and horses become the “unusual” sight in town, matters of justice remain “same as it ever was,” and Banner walks free. For now.

Spencer and Alexandra Depart Italy For London

In Italy, Spencer (Brandon Sklenar) and Alexandra Dutton (Julia Schalepfer) have booked passage for London complete with new, far less disheveled looks. There’s just one problem: Alexandra’s ex-fiance, Arthur (Rafe Soule) is on the same boat.

Later into the episode, Alexandra is suffering from horrible seasickness. But this is the least of her worries, as her past comes back to haunt her. On deck, she expresses her newfound happiness to her dear old friend, Jennifer (Jo Ellen Pellman) that we met all the way back in Episode 2. Alex is finding a new desire to come out of hiding and show her old world how happy her new one is. And Jennifer is truly happy for her friend, which will come into play later.

“I’m done hiding,” Alexandra professes, requesting a dinner in the main hall with her newfound relief. Spencer suits up (thanks to his bride’s credit on the British liner they’ve boarded), and Alexandra dresses to the nines to match. Here, she gets her moment to shine in full flapper attire, and she is stunning. They both are.

As the Duttons dance in the main hall, Arthur Jr. sulks with Sr. at their table. But Spencer takes full advantage of the chance, waltzing with his bride. His adoring aunt taught him this “bit of culture” back home. Minutes in, Arthur bumps into him, attempting to start a scene.

“Don’t turn your back to me, sir!” Arthur whines.

“You’ve got about 30 seconds of this bullshit from me. Then I mop the f*cking floor with you,” Spencer whispers into his ear.

But a few drinks is all it takes for Arthur to make a terrible decision. He rushes Spencer, challenging him to a duel. Spencer knows he will kill this man, however, and refuses to engage. Yet as he and Alex walk away, Arthur makes the mistake.

Run away with your f*cking whore!” he shouts to Spencer. And the duel commences.

Teonna Falls In Love

Around a North Dakota campfire, Teonna, her father, and Pete talk over their plan to avoid capture and death. Already, the two young ones are making eyes at one another.

“Hey! None of that. No goo-goo eyes. No falling in love. If they find us, they will kill us. Hang us from a tree. Bury our bodies face down. Your focus should be on survival. Fall in love later,” Runs His Horse tells Pete and Teonna.

“They’ve been trying to kill me since they took me. I don’t believe in later. I believe in right now,” Teonna replies, earning a “Women,” from her father.

Pete holds her hand anyway. “I’ve had my fair share of beatings. What’s one more?” he smiles.

But Runs His Horse is taking no chances, and falls asleep with his gun to his chest. Teonna kisses Pete’s cheek, and snuggles into his chest where sobbing takes her. Her father, still awake, seethes with sadness and anger as she weeps at what her life – their lives – have become.

‘Generational wealth is the closest thing a man can have to immortality’

In the town manor of Donald Whitfield (Timothy Dalton), he explains to his leaser, Banner, that he is not rich. Not yet.

“Generational wealth is the closest thing a man can have to immortality,” Whitfield tells his minion. “Vengeance will never make you money. You must have a plan.”

And that plan is for them to take the Yellowstone from Jacob. “He loves his land,” Whitfield seethes. “You do not need a gun to take it. All you need is this,” he waves of a pen. Yet all Banner can see is rage. He wants every Dutton dead and buried.

Afterwards, a terrified young woman walks down the stairs, battered and horrified. “She’s awake,” she mumbles. Whitfield has kept both prostitutes in the house, and is using them for “sport.”

For the first time in 1923‘s finale, we see Banner looking horrified as a result. Upstairs, the same brutal abuse we saw in Episode 7 continues as Whitfield watches. As screams break out, Whitfield smiles as he turns two young women into monsters.

Winter Takes Over ‘1923’s Finale

Back in Butte, Zane (Brian Geraghty) requests the night to see his family before winter takes full hold. Jacob gives his blessing before entering the bank for a loan on his cattle. Outside, double-crossing Clyde (Brian Konowal) waits in a motorcar.

Clyde isn’t the patriarch’s only trouble. The bank is refusing to give him a loan on cattle as no value can be placed. So the bank suggests a mortgage, instead. A modern 30-year mortgage loan, in fact. But Jake refuses to leave his family in debt to a 30-year agreement his 78-year-old self will never see through. And so they ride back for home without an answer to their hay-to-cattle ratio for winter of 1923.

At a modest shack outside town, Zane pays that visit to his family. He has an adorable young son, an even more adorable tiny daughter, and a beautiful, adoring wife. They discuss modern times over dinner, before Zane enjoys a blissful shower with his wife. And it all feels too good to be true.

Zane’s daughter has seen a “monster” outside her window. A monster we find out is all too real… Clyde.

‘1923’s Finale Holds a ‘Duel of the Fates’

Onboard the British cruise liner, a ship’s officer runs to inform the captain that a duel has broken out on deck. Officials are alerted to the scandal, and on deck we find an enraged, pompous Arthur drawing a rapier sword.

Moments before, we would find out for the first time that Arthur Jr. is, in fact, the Earl of Sussex. And Spencer has accepted his challenge to the death.

Arthur is an expert swordsman. Spencer admits he’s never held one in his life, but this is odd considering he fought in WWI and American soldiers were outfitted with sabers. Either way, he is a marksman and hand-to-hand combatant, and puts the latter to full use against his foe.

With each swing from Arthur, Spencer immediately disarms, then downs him with a punch or sweep of the leg. But Arthur refuses to yield – even as Spencer drags him and his sword back to his father. So deep is Arthur’s anger and shame that he pulls a pistol, pointing it directly at Spencer. In self-defense, Spencer grabs Arthur’s pistol arm and throws him straight over the ship’s railing.

Officers seize him, but both he and Alexandra speak to the fact that Arthur pulled a gun on an unarmed man. But no one will speak to this, as they are all in support of the Earl of Sussex. All but Alexandra’s old friend and bridesmaid, Jennifer.

Jennifer speaks the truth, telling the officers what she saw. But Spencer is dragged off to the brig regardless, and Alex to her quarters.

‘1923’ Finale Sees Another Dutton Death

Back on the Yellowstone, Jack returns to Elizabeth (Michelle Randolph), who’s soaking in their tub. She’s experiencing pregnancy pains, so he tends to her. “My belly hurts,” she says, before blood overtakes the tub. Something is terribly wrong. As she screams for Jack, the family rushes upstairs.

The next morning, a doctor breaks the news that Elizabeth is stable, but she “flushed” the baby… And the next generation of Dutton is lost. For now.

“How are you feeling?” Jack asks her.

“Like a failure,” Elizabeth replies.

“It’s just nature looking out for you,” her husband comforts. “If something wasn’t right, nature takes care of it. Happens to horses, happens to cattle.”

“If it happens to cattle, you sell them!” Liz cries. “This is my one purpose on this planet. If I can’t do it, then what the hell am I here for?”

But Jack reminds her that his aunt, Cara (Helen Mirren) never had children. And she still has so much purpose. “When I look at my aunt, all I see is purpose. Maybe that’s your purpose, too. Being a mother who ain’t got one. A teacher to those who need one. We choose our purpose. The word you’re thinking of is destiny.”

Elizabeth is Jack’s destiny, he reassures her, not being a father. “We take what life gives us. That’s all we can do,” he tells her as he holds her tight.

Tragedy Takes Zane’s Household, Fate Takes to the Yellowstone

On Zane’s homestead, his wife is taken away by authorities. She is charged for the crime of “marrying a white man,” as she is of Asian descent.

On the Yellowstone, Jacob’s fingers are going numb as he sits on the porch with Cara. He can’t feel them.

“You’re lucky I love you so much. If I didn’t, I’d ride up into the mountains, sit under a tree, and never come back down. That’s how much I hate getting old and watching my body betray me.”

Before long, Whitfield pulls up to their front porch, and the Duttons are on edge. As the villain marvels at the house, Jacob informs him that Yellowstone National Park‘s lodge was inspired by their home, not the other way around. But there’s no time for false pleasantries as the Dutton’s cowboys come riding in with guns hot, and Whitfield’s men pull theirs in turn.

Cara steps out into the fold, demanding they all cease as Whitfield laughs. All weapons are sheathed, and Whitfield gives the Duttons his pitch. “Tourism” is the new boom for Montana. Yellowstone National Park is pulling in hundreds of thousands of visitors by the 1923 finale’s time, and more will come. The Duttons however, could care less.

And so they argue semantics with Whitfield. But he has come with an incredibly unexpected gesture. The Dutton Yellowstone is the only ranch to have survived World War 1 and the 1920s without falling into debt. The only payment they owe is 1923’s property taxes. And Donald Whitfield has paid them.

Donald Whitfield Makes His Play in the ‘1923’ Finale

But this is no good will. “As I’m sure you’re aware,” he eyes of Jacob, “If the debt is not repaid by the end of the year, your deed reverts to me,” Whitfield informs the Duttons. He will own their land by 1924 if the Duttons do not pay off this “gesture” in full.

“We have done no harm to you! Why would you do this to us?” Cara cries.

“Because I can! I’m a businessman. The word ‘decent’ doesn’t apply to me,” Whitfield scowls.

As Cara questions the maneuver’s validity, Jacob walks silently to their front door.

Out in the Badlands… A Priest with No Heart Lies Waiting

Out in the badlands, a priest with no heart awaits Father Renaud and Marshal Kent. They leave him be, and set out to find the others. Which they do – both lying in the dirt facing the sky as we saw them at the beginning of 1923‘s finale.

Marshal Kent thinks Teonna and her saviors haven’t gone to Canada, because that would make sense. Instead, he looks to the Comanche Reservation of the south.

Out in the frontier, Teonna, her father, and Pete head south. “No turning back” Teonna tells Pete.

“No turning back anyway,” he replies with a smile. And they ride off into the vastness of the American West, their ancestral homeland.

Trouble Always Finds Spencer and Alex

In her quarters, Alexandra is found by a ship’s officer looking for Spencer’s things. She says nothing, then chases after him to find she has been locked in her room. Meanwhile, Spencer is handcuffed and taken from the brig to the Captain’s quarters.

There, Jennifer and the Captain await. “It seems your claim of self-defense has merit,” he informs Spencer. But the resolve is not an easy one. Spencer is to be removed from the ship, and he is to be separated from his bride… “The Countess of Sussex.”

Things just got a lot more complicated. But Jennifer proves herself the hero of 1923‘s finale as she rushes to Alexandra’s quarters, quickly tricking a porter into unlocking the quarters to release her dear friend.

But the ship isn’t going to port, Spencer is being removed by dingey. As he is loaded onto the small boat, Alex rushes out to the deck. But it is too late, and Spencer is being taken back to shore. As they shout their undying love to one another, Alex grips a letter from her back. It is one of Cara’s many letters, one that bares the address of the Dutton’s Montana home.

“I will meet you in Montana!” she screams out amid her tears, “I love you!”

“I love you, Alex!” he shouts back as the ship’s officers hold him onto the dingey. And as 1923 Season 1’s finale draws to a close, Spencer and Alexandra Dutton are separated.

‘You may question their marriage, sir. But difficult to question their sincerity’

“You may question their marriage, sir. But difficult to question their sincerity,” the captain informs Alex Sr. (Bruce Davison) of this development with a disapproving look.

In the episode’s final moments, Cara’s voice is heard over the face of her dear Spencer:


I fear everything your parents fought so hard to build is being ripped from us. You are it’s only hope! You are our only hope. You must hurry, Spencer, you must hurry. Or there will be nothing left to fight for.

Cara Dutton’s letter, 1923 Finale

Cara crumbles this letter as she stares out into the winter of Montana. As snow covers the Yellowstone, she walks back for their home. And she is as desperate for her beloved nephew’s return as we are.

1923 will return with a Season 2.