Better yet, how could the Duttons not lose the ranch in 1923 Season 2? Beware of major spoilers for Yellowstone spinoffs ahead as we chew on what’s to come.
Here’s the big question: Will Donald Whitfield’s master plan cost 1923‘s Duttons the Yellowstone? Or will Spencer and Alexandra get to Montana in time to pay off family debt? We’re taking a deep dive into the 1923 Season 1 finale for clues and speculating exactly this, as the stakes have never been higher for this multi-generational ranch.
From murdering John Dutton Sr. to turning Jacob into a living ghost, Banner Creighton has proven a nasty SOB. But then there’s Donald Whitfield, a villain who’s brought a whole other level of sleaze and malice to 1923. And when he shows up at the Duttons’ front door in the finale, Whitfield pulls a dastardly maneuver that looks set to sink our Montana ranchers.
As he admires of Jacob and Cara, The Dutton Yellowstone is the only ranch to have survived World War I and the 1920s without falling into debt. But there is just one payment they owe on: property taxes for the year 1923. And Whitfield has paid them in full.
‘If the debt is not repaid by the end of the year, your deed reverts to me’
“As I’m sure you’re aware, If the debt is not repaid by the end of the year, your deed reverts to me,” Whitfield tells Jacob on the very ranch he’s poised to take. This was no good will, either. Not in the least.
We’ve got to cut ol’ Jake some slack here, though, because 1923 isn’t exactly over yet by the finale’s time. There’s still a few months of winter to come, which will presumably be the setting for 1923 Season 2. But it doesn’t matter, as Jacob can’t secure a loan, the cattle are starving, and Whitfield has the Dutton tiger by the tail.
Assuming future ownership of the Yellowstone by paying off mass debt is a grubby move, to say the least. But it is also a genius one that worked in the early 20th century. Not so much today, or John Dutton & Co. of present day Yellowstone would already be in an Arkansas trailer park.
Either way, Whitfield’s dastardly play is what has our heads spinning ahead of 1923 Season 2. By law, he’ll own The Dutton Yellowstone Ranch in full by New Year’s Day 1924 if the family doesn’t pay back his nefarious gesture. And with everything we’ve listed prior, how the hell are they going to manage that?
The Yellowstone is in Grave Danger Come ‘1923’ Season 2
Well, they aren’t, to be frank. Which leads to two possible outcomes – and they both rely on Spencer – and especially Alexandra – coming home.
Outcome #1, which is the most probable, would see Spencer and Alexandra arriving to Montana in the nick of time to help save the ranch. The dynamics of how this will play out have completely shifted, however. Where we once thought Spencer would need to come in hot with guns blazing, 1923 has turned into a battle fought with pens, not swords, ahead of Season 2. Or those guns, rather. Which is exactly what Whitfield intended.
“Vengeance will never make you money. You must set a goal and formulate a plan to achieve it! Then you execute it without mercy. Emotion fuels ever decision Dutton makes. He loves his land. He loves it. And we will take it from him. You won’t need a gun, Banner. We can kill him with this.”
Donald Whitfield on the power of the pen
Now, it’s going to take some hefty finances to bail out the Dutton Yellowstone Ranch. And who has such clout?
Spencer has some money saved from his famous hunting exploits, sure. But is it the type of money Whitfield would consider a “pretty penny?” No way. And this is where his love, Alexandra, comes in.
Alexandra Could Save the Yellowstone
During the 1923 Season 1 finale, we learned that Alexandra’s ex-fiance, Arthur Jr., is the Earl of Sussex. We then hear the British Naval ship’s captain refer to Alexandra as the Countess of Sussex.
This begs another question: did the captain tell Spencer that Alex is the Countess because of her ill-fated royal marriage to Arthur? Or did both he and her best friend, Jennifer, refer to Alex as the Countess because she is, in fact, already a Countess of Sussex by birth? There are slim chances of this title being assigned at birth in reality. But this is fiction, folks, so we go with it.
Noble blood or no, Alexandra’s wealth has come into play (or the wealth of her family, rather) throughout Season 1. In the finale, she tells Spencer he needs not waste money on a tuxedo as she has credit aboard their British liner. And, her explanation of British culture in Episode 7? Sounds like nobility to a tee:
Alex: I’m British. All we do is travel the world and become experts in the places we visit.
Spencer: That don’t make sense.
Alex: Like I said, I’m British.
To put it plainly, Alexandra’s familial wealth is multi-generational. It’s absolutely massive, the kind Whitfield himself likens to immortality. And if Alex manages her American voyage separate from Spencer, she may prove the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch’s savior if she can:
1. Access her family’s noble wealth, or
2. Convince her birth family to help her new Dutton family
Either would mean solving the Duttons’ property tax woes with the stroke of a pen and flip of the bird to Donald Whitfield by playing at his game.
Key to 1923 Season 2’s plot, however, will be when Alexandra and Spencer show up.
‘1923’ Season 2 Will Be The Real Race Against the Clock
If these two lovebirds arrive before 1924, then all will be well. If they show up in 1924, however, then the Duttons will have lost the ranch to Yellowstone’s version of Scrooge McDuck. And it will not be pretty.
The way their travels are looking so far, chances are incredibly slim that both will make it across the Atlantic. Not to mention, then going across North America, in time to put a lid on all this nonsense. But again, this is fiction, and stranger things have happened.
If they don’t make it in time, it would be another genius curveball for Taylor Sheridan to throw at us. While we’re all waiting to see who the true grandfather of John Dutton is, the real hitch of 1923 Season 2 may become how the Duttons lost the Yellowstone by the end of the year 1923 – then had to fight on top of another generation’s war – Word War II – to get it back.
Either way it goes, the implications will shape the rumored 1944 follow up, too. Which we know, is the World War II-era prequel from Sheridan in his Yellowstone Universe. And if that show became the tale of elder Spencer and Jack Dutton retaking the Yellowstone with children at their side, well, we’d be all for it.
‘Yellowstone’ Clues Might Keep ‘1923’s Duttons Safe from Losing the Ranch
Does this sort of plot for 1923 Season 2 sit with the generational legacy we hear about in Yellowstone proper, though? That’s the real question.
If the Duttons ever did lose their ranch, it’d be the last thing John would ever tell others of the family history. But from what we know, John Dutton frets an awful lot over being “the one to lose it.”
By John’s words (multiple times over throughout 5 seasons), it really seems as if the infamous Yellowstone ranch has never left the family since 1883. It’d be a lot harder to pass on heirlooms like that now-famous Dutton whiskey glassware, too. That is, if the ranch got taken from the family at some point. So here’s to hoping Spencer and Alexandra make it to Montana in 1923. And when they do, I hope Spencer sends Whitfield packing to a newly established Train Station.
What are your predictions for Season 2? Drop us a comment on our Yellowstone videos over on Outsider’s YouTube. Let us know where you see this story going. And if you’re enjoying our videos, please give each a thumbs up, then subscribe to Outsider for weekly Yellowstone updates. Thanks for sticking with us, and we’ll keep you up to date on all things 1923 as Season 2 develops.
For more of our latest 1923 coverage, see our ‘1923’ Death Count: Everyone Who Dies in Season 1 next.