As the trailer revealed, Elsa Dutton returns from beyond the grave to narrate 1923 as she did her own Yellowstone prequel, 1883. And it is through her that we finally learn the gruesome fate of her mother, Margaret Dutton.
“Violence has always haunted this family. It followed us from the Scottish Highlands to the slums of Dublin. It ravaged us upon the coffin ships of Ireland; stranded us on the beaches of New Jersey. Devoured us on the battlefields of Shiloh and Antietam. And it followed us here, lurking beneath the pines and rivers. Where it doesn’t follow, we hunt it down. We seek it.”Elsa Dutton’s 1923 narration
The second Yellowstone prequel immediately continues this violent legacy of the Duttons. As Cara Dutton (Helen Mirren) kicks off the first episode with a gunfight of her own, Elsa’s voice rings out. Through her words, we meet her younger brother, Spencer Dutton (Brandon Sklenar), who’s grown up to become a big game hunter in Africa after surviving World War I.
“My father had three children. Only one would live to see their own children grow. Only one would carry the fate of this family through the Depression, and every other hell the twentieth century hurled at them.“
Elsa paints a grim fate for Spencer, too. Her narration reveals that only one of her siblings is to live on and watch the Dutton empire grow. And that is likely to be her other brother, John Dutton Sr. (James Badge Dale). When Elsa last saw John, he was a 5-year-old still learning the ways of the world. In 1923, he’s the right-hand man of his uncle, Jacob Dutton (Harrison Ford).
But the biggest revelation comes as Elsa reveals the fate of their mother, Margaret Dutton (Faith Hill). Up until 1923‘s premiere, the end of her life has been a mystery. Thanks to Yellowstone Season 4 flashbacks, know Margaret survived her husband’s untimely death after James (Tim McGraw) was shot in a gunfight with horse thieves. But not for long.
“Upon my father’s death, my mother wrote to my father’s brother, begging that he bring his family to these wild lands and save hers. A year later, he arrived to find my mother frozen in a snow drift; her two boys half-starved and barely able to speak. He raised them as his own, and took my father’s dream – and made it into an Empire. Then the empire crumbled.“
As Elsa recounts, it was Margaret who reached out to Jacob, the brother of her husband, to save their family. And while he arrived in time to save her boys, John and Spencer, Margaret wasn’t so lucky.
Wondering how 1883 and 1923 tie-in to modern day Yellowstone? Check out the Dutton family tree HERE!