‘1923’ Episode 3: Recap & Ending, Explained: Why Was The Dutton Family Ambushed? Did Spencer Quit Hunting?

The second episode of “1923” ended with Alexandra and Spencer running off together for what they call an adventure. “1923” Episode 3 is all about the consequences of Jacob Dutton’s self-proclaimed sanctions on the sheepherders when he hanged them without any legitimate trial. “The War Has Come Home” is not about if the retaliation will happen but how and when the retaliation will happen. The Dutton saga is about to get interesting from here on, and we are eager to know the turn this story is about to take with the war that is about to begin.

Spoilers Ahead

The Dutton Family: Aftermath Of The Cattle Expedition

The Dutton men return from the expedition that almost killed Jack. The Dutton women: Elizabeth Strafford, Cara Dutton, and Emma Dutton, are excited to find their men healthy and unharmed. They were worried for the men, who took some time to return from the grazing expedition for their cattle. Cara is more than happy to see Jacob alive and in one piece. The women, though, spend hours, days, and weeks taking care of the chores of the ranch without any calendar in hand. Many are not aware of what day or month it is, for the chores the women and men of the ranch carry out are never-ending. This comes with the job they love, which is part of ranch life. Women are aware of the fact that men must go out there to protect their property from intruders. This does not make women weak or dependent on their respective spouses; they know that in the absence of the men, the women take charge and protect the ranch.

The Dutton family, along with several cowboys who protect them, head to the town for a day out to celebrate with their family. The family comes across a salesman who sells equipment that runs on brand-new technology called electricity. The salesman is enthusiastic about the up-and-coming new technology that has revolutionized the entire country and is keen on introducing the same in the state of Montana. The salesman also showcases a washing machine that would help clean their soiled clothes. The women are fascinated by the so-called washing machine and other equipment called refrigerators that would keep their food cold, which increases its longevity. Since Jack and his father, John Dutton, are skeptical of this equipment, they openly call them out by saying they need a lot more money to buy them, and that it reduces the workload, which people at the ranch are not used to. The Dutton family comes across as the typical people who have an aversion to changes and new technologies and deems them as a fad that will be forgotten soon. They did not see electricity as something that could be useful in the future but as a nuisance that was a waste of their money and time.

Jacob Dutton meets the sheriff, and the sheriff calls him out for unlawfully hanging the sheepherders. The sheriff, though, is on the side of the Duttons and other ranchers; he makes it clear that by hanging the sheepherders, he has declared a full-blown war on them, and there is a high chance they will retaliate. Jacob lets the sheriff know that the war began when the sheepherders encroached on their land, even when they were told not to do so, and attacked his people unprovoked. The war has already begun, as per Jacob, and he knows they will retaliate, and his men are just waiting for when and how it will happen. Meanwhile, Banner, the one who survived the hanging, comes home and asks his son to gather their men to attack the Duttons.

Spencer and Alexandra: The African Adventure

Spencer and Alexandra reach the other side of the African continent. Spencer is here to take control of the hyena situation, where men are being attacked by these wild animals building railroad lines. The group leader is worried about the fact that the hyena is only killing the men and not devouring them. He is worried about the pride of lions discovering one of their men’s dead bodies, only for them to be attacked later on. Spencer analyzes the situation and concludes that it is one specific hyena responsible for the attack. Spencer and Alexandra start bonding over their love for the natural beauty they see in Africa. From trees to animals, and the stories of how humankind originated in Africa. They discuss where their relationship stands in this matter. Spencer proposes the idea of getting engaged to which Alexandra agrees because she says life is too short to not venture into the kind of love she has for Spencer. She agrees to marry Spencer, and they are elated by the decision they have made for themselves. Spencer feels different, yet he is calm whenever he is around Alexandra, and he likes that about himself. Alexandra, too, feels like a wild horse herself; Spencer is the perfect match who would never want her to be tamed, but he would give her the freedom she always desired. Spencer and Alexandra are content with each other so far.

‘1923’ Episode 3: Ending Explained: Why Was The Dutton Family Ambushed?

Jack Dutton and Elizabeth are finally in town and find time to spend some quality time with each other. They head to the local jazz club, which fascinates Elizabeth a lot. Since he has been back, Elizabeth and Jack have not been able to spend any time together because of the family being around them constantly. Their time at the jazz club brings them closer to one another as they drink and dance without any inhibitions. As they go back to their hotel in the town to drop Elizabeth off, she invites him in as a sign of her trust in him. They spend the night together and do not wait for their wedding night. Their love is genuine; Jack and Elizabeth also understand one another so far and want to spend as much time as they get with each other.

Cara and Jacob Dutton, in the other room, discuss how greedy the human species have become in the name of evolution. Cara is surprised to see women’s razors in the market to shave their body hair, which was considered beautiful a few decades ago. Jacob is also fascinated to hear how well-read his wife is, and this is the reason why he loves her so passionately. On the way to their ranch, the men are on the horses while the women are sitting in the buggy pulled by horses; they are attacked by the sheepherders gathered by Banner. A gunfight ensued between both parties, but the Dutton family did not anticipate being attacked this way. Elizabeth and Jack were injured in the attack. Emma and Cara join Jacob and John, hide behind a fallen tree and attack the oncoming gunmen whose sole aim is to eliminate Jacob Dutton and his family. Cara is well versed in the use of firearms and helps Jacob injure plenty of men from the other side, but not before Jacob and John are ambushed by Banner, who used a Tommy gun. Gunfire from Banner kills John immediately but severely injures Jacob in the process. Cara and Emma are barely saved by Jack, and the rest of the attackers are murdered by the ranch men, who are a little too late to save the Dutton men. Cara chases a man to the woods and kills him for severely injuring her husband, which was the first scene in the first episode of 1923. The ambush on the Dutton family mirrored “the red wedding,” where many important characters were brutally killed. In this case, Jacob is stable but still not out of danger because of his age, Emma is shocked to see the dead body of her husband, and Elizabeth has been injured. This attack, even though they anticipated it, did not come as quickly as Jacob and his family expected.

As Jacob is on his deathbed, trying to survive breath by breath, he informs Cara that it is time to call Spencer back to the ranch to join the war that has begun. Spencer is the only one who can save the legacy of the ranch. Cara knows Jacob is critically wounded, Jack and Elizabeth are wounded, and Spencer’s brother John is dead too. Cara writes him a letter informing him of the need of the hour, which is his presence in the state of Montana to save the ranch from outsiders. Cara knows Jacob might not survive the injuries, and she knows the local establishments might not support the Duttons because the head of the family was ambushed, which changes the power dynamics in the state. Spencer’s presence will probably bring some strength, which the Duttons have lost with Jacob severely injured. Cara asks Spencer to put aside his personal goals and help them save the ranch and its legacy.

Why Does Spencer Decide To Quit Hunting?

Spencer and Alexandra, as they are exploring the areas, are supposed to track the hyenas. As they spot a herd of elephants, they are fascinated by nature they are surrounded by. They are unfortunately attacked by a lone elephant, which damages their vehicle. To save himself and Alexandra, Spencer shoots the elephant dead. Knowing their car cannot function well enough, they take shelter on the tallest tree nearby. At night, a pride of lions gathers around the dead elephant to devour the meat, and they are attacked by another group of hyenas that circle the lions. Out of fear, Alexandra lets out a scream, which gathers the attention of a lioness. The lioness attempts to climb up the tree, only to be killed by Spencer. To scare them away, Spencer kills the lioness, which attracts the attention of the pride. To distract them, Spencer starts shooting to scare them, not kill them. Thankfully, they are saved by the Britisher who had hired Spencer. He came along with some locals to save them from lions and hyenas. Alexandra is visibly shaken by the entire ordeal, and she says death stared at her right in the face, and she is not sure if she ever wants to face this fear again. Spencer says fear is something that stayed with him all this time until Alexandra walked into his life. Spencer and Alexandra decide that Spencer won’t be a hunter anymore because it is pointless to put their lives at risk when they have someone loving them. Spencer promises Alexandra he will quit his job, and Alexandra can’t wait for their lives to begin. Spencer is done facing danger constantly, but he isn’t aware of the bigger danger that will befall him shortly.


Jacob Dutton might not survive the bullets that ravaged his body, and the Dutton family will go into crisis mode to save themselves and the ranch from being razed down by the sheepherders. Spencer will find this as a strong reason to leave his life as a hunter in Africa and head back to America with Alexandra. Alexandra, on the other hand, might find it difficult to be a ranch wife. Elizabeth will probably survive the gun wounds; she and Jack will get married soon to legitimize their relationship in times of a war that erupted between the Duttons and the sheepherders led by Banner.


In “1923” Episode 3, “The War Has Come Home,” the showdown between the Duttons and sheepherders happens that everyone was anticipating. The screenplay is tightly written and executed, and the pacing of the episode is solid. The Godfather-ish and Game of Thrones-ish type of ambush and severely injuring the main character way early in the show was a bold step taken by the writers, and the gamble paid off as no one saw it coming, at least this early in the show. Taylor Sheridan has so far made sure the audiences stay hooked, and rightly so; the power of “1923” is infectious. Episode 3 of “1923” is brilliant. 

See More: ‘1923’ Episode 4: Recap And Ending, Explained: What Is Cara’s Game Plan To Counterattack Banner?

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.
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