‘1923’ Episode 5: Recap And Ending, Explained: Is Cara’s Wait For Spencer’s Cable Finally Over?

Episode four of “1923” ended with Spencer and Alexandra finally deciding on heading back to America, after he receives a distressing letter from his aunt Cara requesting that he come back, for his brother John Dutton has died in an ambush and his uncle Jacob Dutton is gravely injured. Spencer makes it a point to leave Africa as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Jacob, Cara, and Jack are at their weakest, but they have to showcase their power to their fellow ranchmen and especially to Banner Creighton. The Yellowstone ranch men are lying low for the time being till Spencer comes back.


Spoilers Ahead

Months After The Ambush On The Duttons

Cara Dutton is now the sole caretaker of the ranch. She stands in for Jacob at many meetings; all the while, she visits the post office almost every day, hoping to receive a letter or cable from Spencer. The people at the post office let her know every day that there is no message for her yet. Cara is hoping to hear some positive news from Spencer; some news from him would mean her letter reached him. Cara hopes to hear that he is coming back, which will restore some faith in their family, which has been lying low since the ambush. Jacob is slowly recovering from the gunshot wound, and it’s been months since he has been able to get up from the bed. All Cara does is take care of the household, the meetings, the ranch, and Jacob’s health. She isn’t tired yet, because she would want to see her husband healthy and steady and would also want to see Spencer come back. Emma Dutton, Jack’s mother, is unable to recover from her husband’s death in the ambush, and most of the time, she remains silent and aloof. Cara and Elizabeth, Emma’s son Jack, give her space to grieve. They understand that the death of a loved one is hard to get over, and they give Emma space and time to comprehend her loss. Consumed by grief, Emma kills herself one night, leaving Jack an orphan. Though there is his wife Elizabeth, aunt Cara, and the slowly recovering Jacob, Jack feels emotionally helpless without his mother and father.


The Horror At The Convent

The father at the Convent wakes up with the horrid news that Teonna had not just escaped but also, on her way out of the Convent, managed to kill two of the nuns who had brutally assaulted her. The father questions the girl closest to Teonna, Baapuxti, and beats her ruthlessly to get her to reveal where Teonna is headed. Baapuxti sobs and pleads endlessly that she has no clue where Teonna is headed; meanwhile, the father is not convinced, for he is sure Teonna must have revealed her destination to her. The father is also not convinced that she will be going home on foot, for there are miles of land, desert, and rocks that form obstacles between the Convent and her home. He is sure Teonna is headed elsewhere. The Convent is a representation of how Catholicism and the government bodies in America in the 1920s slowly destroyed the indigenous culture by forcefully converting Native American women to Catholics and forcing them to give up their hair, language, and clothing. Teonna managed to escape that, for she does not intend to give up on her culture. The father beats Baapuxti relentlessly till the young girl dies in front of him. They have no regret for killing a young girl from the local culture, and they do not consider it a sin, for she was always considered the antichrist, and getting rid of the antichrist is not a sin. The people at the convent bury her body and do not bother to offer her a burial in the Native American way.

Spencer And Alexandra Leave The African Dream Behind

Spencer and Alexandra are headed out of Africa in no time, and they are looking for an option on how to reach America from Mombasa port. At one spot, they are given the option of the most expensive ticket, but since they can’t afford it, and because of the fact that the ship will take them to London first, they will have to board another ship heading to America; and the said ship will begin its journey three weeks from now. Spencer cannot afford to stay back in Africa because he knows he is needed in his hometown as soon as possible. Spencer only hopes there might be a better option for him and Alexandra to travel from Mombasa to America. The only option left open to him is to join a tugboat as a one-man crew, convince the Captain of that boat, and head to the Suez Canal. From the Canal, they will come across plenty of options on ships heading to Europe and from there to America. Spencer makes a deal with the tugboat’s Captain at the small tavern on the port. He is told that he cannot take his wife with him, for the seas would be rough, and women won’t be able to take the swells of the waves in the middle of the sea. Spencer is about to leave for the journey to the Canal after leaving a note for Alexandra. But she wakes up and makes it clear that if he leaves now, he will never have a second chance with her. It would be better if she joined him on the journey as well. Spencer is again taken aback by how strong Alexandra is and how much she is willing to take just to be able to spend time with him. Every day with Alexandra is a surprise for him, for each day, he comes across a quality of hers that makes him fall in love with her all over again. Alexandra, is a strong-willed woman who will not leave Spencer’s side in times of adversity.


‘1923’ Episode 5: Ending Explained: Is Cara’s Wait For Spencer’s Cable Finally Over?

Banner Creighton and Don Whitfield, the mining industrialist who has agreed to join Banner’s war against the Duttons, have framed a plan to buy off all the ranches around the Yellowstone ranch to intimidate Cara and Jacob and let them know that there is a new sheriff in town. Don takes Banner to a house that is equipped with gas for cooking and electricity for all the appliances to work. Don Whitfield reveals that this house is for Banner and his family. Don wants Banner to realize that the world is moving forward, and one needs to surround themselves with objects which they would in the past have considered a luxury. A luxury is something that will motivate Banner to fight the war ruthlessly. He is beyond surprised to see Don Whitfield would take up so much trouble to provide him and his family with such a beautiful home.

Teonna, on the other hand, has reached a vast stretch of land and nods off to sleep on the top of a rock to avoid being bitten by a wolf. The next day she wakes up to see a Native American sheep herder, with his huge flock of sheep, asking her about Teonna’s whereabouts; the said sheepherder recognizes her by her name and realizes she is the daughter of a man he knows. He offers to take her back to his own place, and he recommends not going back home, for that will be the first place the Convent will look for her. Teonna is glad to have run away from the Convent, and she can now sense the freedom she always wanted, far away from the air-tight place.


Back in Africa, Spencer is informed by Alexandra about the large passenger ship’s ability to send a message across continents, which will help him send an urgent message of his to the family back in Montana. After doing so, both join the tugboat, and the Captain of the said ship is suffering from a chronic cough, but that doesn’t stop him from talking about his life as a sailor when he traveled around the world. As their journey begins, they come across a floating ghost ship that was abandoned by the crew, but the ship never sank. The Captain recalls a story about Ghost of Zebrina, another abandoned ship which he felt as a sailor back in the day followed them everywhere. The three of them take turns managing the tugboats; Spencer and Alexandra head off to sleep by 3 am, and the Captain heads up the deck to manage the ship. Spencer finds out early in the morning that the ship’s engine has stopped, and the Captain died at night. Spencer and Alexandra already have had a crazy trip so far, which they called the “adventure,” but their story is about to get all the more adventurous and scarier when Spencer sees another ghost ship and the tugboat about to crash into it. Spencer, to not crash into the giant ship, changes the direction of the rudder, but it is again useless, for their tugboat smashes into the ship anyways. Spencer and Alexandra did not expect this to happen, for the trip from Mombasa to the Suez Canal was supposed to be a short one, and it got all the more baffling with the tugboat crashing into the giant ship. Spencer tries to save the boat, but all his damage control is going down the drain.

In Montana, Jack Dutton sells most of their cattle since their ambush because they think this is the only way to remain low-key. It is just one way to show power. Jacob, on the other hand, is finally out in the sun at the doctor’s insistence. Jacob starts loving the outdoors, which helps him realize that he can walk past the door, which is a sign of his good health. Jacob is wondering what else he should do to make sure Duttons cannot retaliate for the ambush unleashed on them. Jacob asks Jack constantly to remain low, which is the only right thing to do. Jack wanted to take revenge, but Jacob and Cara knew that would only lead to more casualties. The Duttons cannot afford to lose another family member. They ask him to be patient. Dutton lying low would mean the rivals, Banner and Don Whitfield, would become overconfident over some time. The Duttons want them to make a mistake under the influence of overconfidence.

As Cara heads to the post office, she is stopped by Don Whitfield and Banner. Whitfield introduces himself as their new neighbor who purchased the Strafford Ranch. Whitfield wanted to let Cara know that since ranches around them are being sold like chickens, Cara might as well keep her ranch ready to be sold. Cara is visually unperturbed by the small talk made by Don Whitfield, and she understands the fact that the meeting he wants to have with Jacob is just another ruse to know if Jacob is strong enough to lead. Cara responds rather vaguely, giving them no indication that Jacob is free. Don hopes the winter, which is to begin in Montana, will test Dutton’s strength, and he is confident Cara will sell the ranch by spring. Don and Banner are acting just like Jacob had anticipated, they’re considering Dutton’s low-key presence as a sign of weakness and slowly becoming smug. Cara finally received the good news she had been waiting for. Spencer’s message reaches her, and his message mentions that he is coming back, but unaware to anyone in Montana, their tugboat was tumbled upon by the giant ship, and it is about to sink. There is no sign of Spencer or Alexandra around it, so there is no surety of who died or who survived. Cara is delighted to read the happy news, and she hopes Spencer’s arrival will help them sort out plenty of issues at hand. But all of this seems like too much pressure to put on one person. But how much more time will it take for Spencer to reach Montana? 


Spencer might survive the boat wreck; it is doubtful, and it seems foolish to keep any hope that Alexandra would survive the wreck. It’ll be a miracle if both survive the crash. How will they survive their time in the sea? Who will help them? How much more time will it take for Spencer to now reach his hometown in America? Don Whitfield will not stop at purchasing one ranch, and he will surely go on a spree, and with Banner’s support, Whitfield will begin the mining work too. Jacob and Cara just have to survive the winter only to understand how to take the ranch forward with no sign of Spencer.



“1923” Episode 5 was yet another chapter by Taylor Sheridan, which keeps up with the pace of the show. The characters written by Taylor grow on you. It is as if both the writer and the director are constantly in sync with each other. There is no glitch or slowing down of the narrative. The one hour ten minutes long running time did not feel like a snail-paced episode but something that kept up with the momentum thanks to an arresting screenplay.

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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