The pilot episode ended with Jack Dutton being shot for discovering a herd of sheep being taken care of by other grazers who are desperate to feed their livestock. This show also does not shy away from the lives of cowboys living in the state of Montana and how they rule the land and whip up laws and regulations for the survival of themselves, their land, their livestock, and the upcoming generation. “Nature’s Empty Throne,” the second episode of “1923” that aired on the Paramount Network, is a continuation of the pilot episode, which took a deep dive into the lives of the Dutton family and their ranch Yellowstone, and the saga of their family since the death of James Dutton. Jacob Dutton and his wife are taking care of the ranch, the livestock, and the kids of his deceased brother.
What Happens In Episode 2?
“Nature’s Empty Throne” begins with the man-eating leopard attacking Spencer, who surprisingly survives the attack and fires a shot at it. Spencer’s fellow huntsmen assist in finding the second leopard when that same beast attacks one of them and kills him. Spencer and the other hunter assisting him immediately killed the leopard. The rest of the members of the tourist group are horrified to see two deaths (first death of the woman in “1923” Episode 1, killed by the first leopard) in front of them. Spencer, at this point, is unhinged but is upset to have lost his companion. Richard Holland asks for a doctor for Spencer, who is aware that leopard wounds would fester into gangrene. Spencer, though, is angry about the fact that the person who hired him, Richard Holland, did not inform him that there were two leopards, one of which is a female cat. Spencer is angry about the fact that he lost a trusted companion who knew of the wildlife in much detail, just a small misinformation led to this tragedy which could have been avoided. Spencer is a man of dignity, and he makes the people who join his journey remain safe and out of danger. Losing a trusted man, and if the word spread that a man under his watch was killed, would create a bad reputation for him. He makes sure Richard Holland sends the body back to the deceased man’s village. Spencer is all set to head to Nairobi to heal the wounds he sustained in the attack.
Meanwhile, Jack Dutton survived the gunshot, but his horse fell on him, not allowing him to access his gun or save himself from the incoming attack from the sheep herders. Jacob Dutton and his team hear the gunshot being fired in their direction and head up to save Jack. They kill the man who attacked Jack, and soon a gunfight ensues between both groups for possession of the pasture. Jacob is livid at Banner Creighton for going against his orders and taking his sheep to another man’s leased property. Banner tries to save himself and his sheep by claiming that his sheep need to survive, too, not just the cattle. Jacob, who considers himself the boss of the land, makes sure Banner does not go scot-free in this case of attacking his kin. Banner, on the other hand, had no choice but to take his sheep to a new land to help them survive.
Jacob does not have any time for justifications laid out by Banner, and he has reached the judgment point for this crisis that has emerged. Jacob is loyal to his family; an attack on his kin would mean an attack on the ranch and his legacy. Meanwhile, Cara Dutton is still at their home at the ranch waiting for her husband and the rest of the men to come back to start preparing for Jack’s wedding to Elizabeth. However, Emma and Cara Dutton have a conversation about their lives as ranch wives and how they should prepare Elizabeth for the same. Emma is Jack Dutton’s mother, and she wants Elizabeth to understand the difficulties that come with being a wife on the Yellowstone ranch. Elizabeth is a young, naïve, Boston-raised girl who visited Montana only during her vacation and is clueless about what is in store for her as she is preparing to marry Jack once they are back from the expedition. Meanwhile, Jacob Dutton warns Jack of scores of men that will come after the ranch, and Jack has to safeguard their ancestral property from falling into the hands of outsiders. Jacob is preparing Jack to take over the ranch someday, and Jacob makes sure Jack is well prepared for the takeover.
The Native American girl, Teona’s tryst with the boarding school run by the catholic convent has taken another brutal turn when she purposely refuses to obey the nuns and the fathers running the institution. At the boarding school, the girls are taught to mop the floor, clean the house, wash the linens, and bathe their bodies thoroughly because doing all of these things is an example of an ideal American woman who should indulge in being a homemaker for her hardworking husband. Along with Teona, many Native American girls are brainwashed into forgetting their culture and forced to embrace Christianity. Meanwhile, Teona’s grandmother tries hard to release Teona from the boarding school to raise her on her own, but the local superintendent refuses to free Leona as per the state rules. Many of the Native Americans are harassed in this manner, which is an indication of how authoritarian Christians made sure any local culture was destroyed for Christianity to thrive. Teona beats up a nun for serving inedible food, but she is punished by the father by detaining her in a hot room all night. Teona develops a fever as a result, and she is punished by the injured sister for not obeying the rules and regulations of the boarding school. Teona is reluctant to let go of her past, her roots, and her culture. Her forceful admission into the school made her angry, and her act of rebellion is a sign that she will not bow down to Christian values.
‘1923’ Episode 2: Ending Explained – Does Alexandra Break Her Engagement To Be With Spencer Dutton?
Spencer runs into Alexandra in Nairobi, a rich girl from a prominent British family visiting Kenya with her family and her fiancé. She is intrigued by Spencer’s past, his presence, and the command he carries. Spencer, on the other hand, is also intrigued by her interest in him, even though her friends make it clear that she is engaged to marry. Spencer is approached by another British businessman to take care of the hyena nuisance his workers are facing as they are building railway lines. Spencer has no obligations whatsoever in Nairobi once his leopard wounds are healed and treated. Spencer is always on the move, and he makes sure he does the work assigned to him on time. He now must look for other local hunters to assist him in the capturing hyenas. Spencer’s breath is taken away by Alexandra’s beauty and her love for adventure, but he does not pursue her as he knows she is a rich British girl who would never be able to adjust to his lifestyle. Alexandra, who is already feeling suffocated as an engaged woman, is seeking nothing but adventure in life, and she believes she can find that in Spencer’s company. She is attracted to him and doesn’t stop herself from showcasing it. When Spencer departs from the hotel in Nairobi, Alexandra follows him and asks him if she can join his journey. Though Spencer doesn’t specifically say no, he conveys that the journey would be harsh. Alexandra agrees to take the adventure as it comes, as this is something she has been looking forward to. Alexandra breaks off her engagement in this course and runs away with Spencer. Alexandra is someone who comes from a family upbringing where women aren’t allowed to make any adventurous trips without a male guardian. Since the show is set in the 1920s, it is obvious the kind of roles women are expected to take up, but Alexandra knows she is not cut out for cookie-cutter roles.
Jacob Dutton, in the meanwhile, sentences Banner and the men who work with him to death. All of them are hanged to death for trespassing the law set by Jacob, as Banner, for the sake of survival, had taken up sheep where the cows are taken for grazing. Jacob does not believe in any of the justifications given by Banner and leaves him and his workers to die. As they are hanged while sitting on their horses, Banner is the only one who survives the hanging as his horse was loyal to him and never left. Banner frees himself from the rope around his neck and wrists, and runs away, leaving the dead bodies of his workers on the spot. Banner is a survivor, which is understood from “1923” Episode 2, and his surviving the hanging means he would come back to exact revenge on Jacob Dutton and his family for eliminating the sheep herders. Jacob and his family are unaware of what awaits them.
Jack Dutton is gearing up to take over the ranch from his uncle Jacob Dutton, and he will make sure to stay by Jacob’s side whenever he can. Banner will come back to seek revenge for attacking and hanging his men. He would want answers from Jacob, and he would question what gives Jacob the authority to make such decisions on behalf of the state. Banner would expect justice for himself and the flock he takes care of. Spencer and Alexandra’s storyline is probably introduced to showcase a future love story angle dedicated to them. Alexandra seems like the kind of person who would love the kind of adventure Spencer enjoys. They would be an ideal couple, leading the life they always wanted.
This 47-minute-long episode is as good as the first one and is taking the narrative further as we get to know more about various Dutton family members. Taylor Sheridan is on the right path to give us varied characters who know what they want and would go miles to achieve their goals and ambitions. The “1923” episode 2 is a good extension of the pilot episode, and the audience is eager to know where the storyline will take them.
See More: ‘1923’ Episode 3: Recap & Ending, Explained: Why Was The Dutton Family Ambushed? Did Spencer Quit Hunting?