‘1923’ Season 1: Character Jacob Dutton, Explained: A Sensitive Patriarch

Amongst all the patriarchs that have been presented on the small screen and the big screen, the majority come across as the hero, the messiah, and the savior who would be there for his folk, standing tall to protect his clan from any outside force trying to decimate his people. There are Vito Corleone and Michael Corleone in “The Godfather” films, Tony Soprano in the “Sopranos,” Tywin Lannister in the “Game of Thrones,” and Uncle Philips in the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” series, where they come across as someone with the capacity for ruthless but the same time, they would do anything to protect their family from being hurt. Jacob Dutton in “1923,” just like the men mentioned above, falls into the category of a strong leader and a patriarch who would not just want to take care of the property he owns but also make sure his family remains safe and protected and learns the tricks to run the ranch. Jacob inherited the infamous Dutton Ranch from his brother, James Dutton, who was killed along with his wife. Jacob Dutton and his wife, Cara Dutton, never had kids, so they took it upon themselves to raise James’s kids as their own and run the ranch without any unnecessary familial politics hampering it.


Jacob and Cara never tried to take over the ranch and sideline James’s kids. They raise them in such a manner that it would be easy for the kids to take over the ranch once Jacob and Cara pass. Jacob turns out to be a capable leader of the pack who was chosen to lead the group when he had no intention of assuming leadership initially. Jacob becomes the livestock commissioner in the town, powerful man who has the faculty to make decisions for the people who own ranches and sheep without being questioned, along with that he had the backing of the local sheriff. Jacob is the kind of man who does not stop his wife Cara from making any major decisions for the ranch and their home; keeping in mind the era “1923” is set in, Cara had a voice and plenty of opinions, which Jacob always accommodated. Jacob refuses to let Banner Creighton, the sheepherder, and other sheepherders graze their sheep on the ranch lands. The grazing land was ravaged by locust infestation, which badly affected the grass, having the knock-on effect of depriving the cattle and sheep of sustenance. Banner complains of the same, but he and his group are stopped from taking their livestock over to the ranchmen’s lands. Banner pleads, but it all goes in vain.

Jacob turns out to be someone who has no choice but to listen to his brethren to safeguard the properties and the ranch. He knows he is aging along with Cara, and he makes sure to advise John Sr. and Jack about the politics of the land and how they need to take over when the time is right. Jacob comes across as the leader they did not know they needed until he had to step up and take over. Jacob emerges to be a successful leader. As a law enforcement officer, a husband, and an uncle, Jacob is a sensitive-natured man who makes sure to be there for the people who have been loyal to him all these years.


Jacob, as a person, comes across someone who has worldly knowledge of how politics works, and from time to time, makes sure to share it with his people; be it on the ranch at night time to Jack and his father John, or the women in his family so that they also know about the world being a sick place, knowing they need to be aware of problems that might arise later. A shrewd law enforcement officer and ranch owner, Jacob is the kind of businessman who agrees that whatever law he enforces, he makes sure to do it to favor his ranch and his family. He brings up the example of Don Whitfield being on the committee that would regulate mining laws; Jacob admits that he isn’t that different from Don Whitfield because he’s as much of a self-interested businessman as he is. Since he and Don are in positions of power, they do things to make sure power always stays in their hands and is never let go.

Jacob Dutton’s character has shades of gray because, from the beginning of “1923” Season 1, he does not have any enmity toward Banner and the other men under him. It was just the attack on Jack Dutton that escalated the rivalry, which snowballed into a full-fledged war between the Duttons and Banner Creighton. Though Jacob was severely injured in the ambush conducted by Banner and his men, death nearly graced him, Jacob makes sure to give the power to his wife without thinking twice. He is aware of the amount of power Cara carries, and he is aware that she will be able to hold a large group of men just by her decision-making capabilities. In any other scenario, a patriarch would have handed over the mantle to other men of the family and overlooked the contribution of women in their lives and the smooth running of the ranch. But Jacob knew Cara as a person who stabilized the situation, and she would make sure there was no more retaliation from their end. Just like Jacob did not want any more Dutton casualties, neither did Cara. Jacob is the most vulnerable to his wife, Cara, and he never stops himself from sharing his concerns.


Jacob’s biggest concern remains that people like Don Whitfield would come for their land and turn this town into a large-scale city, and all the ranches, the land, and the livestock would eventually disappear. Jacob considers himself closer to nature, and he wants to make sure his land does not pass on to any stranger but to only his family. His livestock and ranch are something he has inherited from his family, and they have made sure to impart enough awareness about why it is necessary to retain their ranch as an extension of the power that comes with it. Jacob is aware of the advancement of technologies like electricity and automobiles, and he is making sure his livestock is not overpowered at any cost. The technologies might come and go, but the livestock is here to stay, and Jacob sternly believes that these nature-bound entities around them wouldn’t go obsolete. There is no doubt that Jacob is a ruthless human being, but his nature of being someone who calms down and listens makes him a slightly likable patriarchal figure from an era that was known for men who just thrived on money and power.

See more: ‘1923’ Mid-Season: Recap – Why Did Dutton Clash With Banner Creighton? What To Expect From ‘1923’ Episode 5?

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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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