‘1923’ Women Characters: Cara Dutton, Teonna Rainwater, And Alexandra, Explained

As the name of the show suggests, “1923” was not a year where women would have been given enough rights to sustain themselves on their own. Just a few years after the Great War (the First World War), women were suffering as much as men were. Many men had died in the war, and the women had had to suffer the loss of their brothers, fathers, and husbands at that time. Overall, even though there were no strong rights supporting women in America, they found a way to sustain themselves. “1923,” a show that is six episodes in, covers this aspect of the period rather well without becoming too preachy. Creator and writer Taylor Sheridan makes sure the women of “1923” are not stereotyped and are given agency even though they are restricted to traditional roles.


Spoilers Ahead

Cara Dutton

Cara Dutton is the wife of Jacob Dutton, the patriarch of the Dutton family, who took over the ranch’s operation after his brother James Dutton passed away. Jacob made sure to help raise his brother’s kids, John, Spencer, and John’s son Jack. The family tree is long and exhausting at this point, but the viewer slowly gets the hang of it. Cara Dutton comes into the picture as an aunt of the kids who is the matriarchal figure stepping in for their deceased mother.


Cara is a hardworking woman who, along with her husband, never had the ambition to take over the ranch; together they took care of the children. Cara never had children of her own with Jacob, which made it easier to treat James’ kids as her own. Cara was an affectionate mother figure to John and Spencer Dutton, and they always looked up to her. She never let anyone make her or break her when it came to the topic of her not being able to bear children with Jacob. She did not let even Jacob question her or her body about why she had not been able to conceive all this time. Cara had an agency of her own, even though most of her time was restricted to the ranch and ranch-related activities.

Cara took care of the cattle, horses, and livestock; and all other home-related work, which would include running the household so that people would get their meals on time. Her ability as a riflewoman was also tested when she survived the ambush on her family, and she killed a few of the enemy as well. Cara never considered herself a damsel in distress, instead she was quick to come forward and offer her opinion on plenty of things regarding the ranch. With Jacob severely injured in the ambush, Cara stepped up and made uncomfortable decisions for the family. Asking Spencer to come back, taking the lead in Jacob’s place, and making sure her family does not take any hasty steps just to avenge the deaths. Cara makes it clear to her husband not to indulge in any conflict till their nephew arrives.


Jacob, being a loving husband, obliges her demands, which proves Cara has a lot more say than a housewife. She made sure to take over the interviews for hiring livestock agents for their ranch, which was traditionally done by men. Cara was questioned by a lot of men on why she was presiding over a masculine duty. Cara ignored such men, and rightfully so because they had no right to question someone whose ranch they were going to work on. She makes it a point not to let anybody question her authority in a subtler manner than being all preachy. Even Don Whitfield and Banner assume Cara to be a lady and underestimate her power and knowledge of politics. There is a hope she will contribute and assist Spencer on his return to take over the ranch as she and Jacob take a backseat. 

Teonna Rainwater

Teonna Rainwater is a Native American girl studying in a Christian convent school, or rather forced to join the school as per the law laid down by the United States of America, which lets them admit Native American girls to Catholic schools if they have no guardian left to take care of them. Teonna is in her mid-teens, and she is subjected to Catholic convent brainwashing, where she is constantly told about how Catholicism is far superior to the faith the Native Americans follow.


Teonna is a rebel from day one, and she does not let any of the brainwashing get to her. She has a strong belief in her faith and makes sure she puts across this thought process about her rights to the nuns of the convent and the father principal of the convent, in her path to not lose herself in the systematic erasure of her culture, Teonna rebels and how. Teonna is a strong believer in speaking up for herself because she knows nobody else will. She gets mentally, physically, and sexually abused in that process, but that does not break her spirit. It further motivates her to rebel until she can make her point and strike fear in their hearts.

Teonna never let go of her faith, language, and culture; that infuriated the convent because they taught her to be shy, coy, and a perfect woman, but Teonna was far from that. Teonna does not intend to become a perfect woman cut out for marriage and having kids; she wants to live her life on her terms. Out of sheer frustration, Teonna manages to escape from the convent—but not before murdering the nuns who ravaged her physically and sexually. She finally set herself free from the life of torture she had been leading. She had no patience or guts to stay back and hoped she would stay alive. She knew she could not live the life the convent was forcing on her. Teonna is an example of a woman who took her destiny into her own hands and changed it for the sake of her sanity.



Alexandra is a British woman who has lived all her life among the wealth and luxuries of London. She comes from a family of rich businessmen who travel a lot. Alexandra happened to be in Nairobi when Spencer made a pit stop to recover from leopard-related injuries. Alexandra is a straightforward woman who does not stop herself from approaching Spencer at the hotel they are staying at. She makes sure Spencer gets the hint that she is interested in him. Spencer, knowing himself, is also attracted to Alexandra for showing interest in him.

Alexandra is fully aware of the fact that she is engaged to be married, but she can’t help but be drawn toward a man like Spencer, who loves challenges and adventures. Alexandra carries the same quality, but because she is a woman, she is not allowed to explore that side of her. Alexandra breaks the cardinal rule of her family and decides to break off her engagement, and she requests that Spencer let her join in on the adventure he is seeking; she is seeking the same.


Spencer is attracted to this nature of hers and agrees to take her along the road. Alexandra makes herself clear to Spencer about what she wants and her life in general. She loves him passionately, and she makes sure she lets him know that. They go from one adventure to another, and at no point does Alexandra ever decide to quit him or the relationship. She continues to be by his side. Alexandra does not stop herself from criticizing Spencer when he errs. This makes her a far better person because she does not believe in people pleasing to survive. And Spencer slowly realizes Alexandra is probably the only woman who gets him, and she gets the adventure they both are seeking. They eventually marry on a ship to seal their love. They marry in the most offbeat fashion because, unlike many women, Alexandra is not a traditionalist, and she would convey her love for him at any place that would make her and Spencer happy.

All three leading women characters in “1923” have more to deliver in the coming last episodes of the show. It is intriguing to watch how women take charge of their lives from here and face the challenges without being dependent on a male authority figure standing over their necks. Looking forward to watching more of them and seeing their arc receiving a definition. 


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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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