Warning: This recap contains spoilers.
In this week’s episode of 1923, “The Rule of Five Hundred,” Jacob relents and lets the sheriff arrest Banner, bodies pile up in the search for Teonna, and Spencer and Alex find that more problems may still await them as they arrive in Italy.
With cold snow blanketing the Yellowstone, Jacob, Jack, and the ranch hands saddle up with their guns. They ride into town (looks like horses were more efficient in the snow. back then!) and make their way to Banner’s new house with the sheriff for his arrest — where he’s living it up with two women in his bed and champagne for breakfast.
He’s wanted on two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder, which he attempts to deny, until Jacob Dutton steps forward. Banner argues he hung him and killed his friends, but because they were trespassing on his land, he was within his rights to do so. He’s taken into custody in his robe. One of Whitfield’s men (who was in town) hurries to the mine to tell him what happened — and he remarks it was a mistake that they arrested Banner instead of killing him. A man goes to see Banner in jail, and he tells him they’ll be posting bond once the bail is set. But for the time being, he’s not to speak to anyone.
Whitfield clearly has the town in his pocket, as he discusses swaying the judge at the trial on the basis that Banner is essential to his “operations.” Afterward, we get a glimpse of just how sadistic he is when he heads to Banner’s house to settle the bill with the sex workers still shacked up there.
Writing and baking
Cara sits in the living room by the fire with Elizabeth, and she’s writing another letter to Spencer (even if she won’t be able to mail it to him). Over the years that he’s been gone, she’s been using the letters she sends him as a form of journaling. It’s why she told him so many things about what was going on at ranch in his absence; it wasn’t just for his sake.
Elizabeth doesn’t think writing will help her, because she struggles to put her thoughts into words, but she’s intrigued by the idea of baking, so Cara teaches her how to make a cake. Jacob steps into the kitchen, and Cara is relieved to find that they went along with Banner’s arrest instead of killing him. Later, we see that talking work and politics at the dining table has clearly always been a contentious subject in the Dutton household (not just in Yellowstone).
The search for Teonna
Teonna’s father discovers his mother’s dead body lying in the floor in her house, and he surmises that because the prints left in the dirt indicate that the horses were outfitted with horseshoes, it was done by the government, not thieves. Hank’s son, Pete, rides up to tell him that his daughter left the school, and there was trouble.
Priests from the Indian school encounter Pete while they’re out searching for Teonna, and they question him about what he’s doing out there and where he went to school. He grows tired of their questioning and ends up hitting one of them with a burning log, but they gain the upper hand and abduct him to bring him back to their school.
Teonna’s father finds his horse, his hat, and the remaining coals left from his fire later, and he realizes something happened. Elsewhere, the priest sits beside a fire with Pete, casually eating as he talks down to him. Pete points out the fact that he’s a priest, and yet he’s killed and stolen their land. The priest pins him to the ground, but Teonna’s dad arrives just in time and kills him.
The other two priests find Teonna, but they don’t recognize her with her haircut and assume that she’s a boy. One of them approaches her, and Teonna runs until he tackles her and attacks. Hank shoots both of them.
With the bodies of both priests on the ground, Hank carries Teonna away, but one of the priests isn’t dead. He grabs a rifle and shoots Hank, killing him instantly. Teonna defends herself with a rock and kills the priest, screaming in agony.
Spencer and Alex arrive in Italy
Spencer learns from the captain of the ship that his exploits as a hunter have made him quite famous — he may not have told him what he does for a living, but he still knew exactly who he was. The ship drops them off at a port in Italy, and before finding a hotel, Alex insists they get food first (and she convinces him to eat arancini, which he admits to liking once he tries it).
Echoing Spencer’s statement in the last episode that it feels like all of the trouble they’ve found together has been a warning that he shouldn’t have taken her, the episode comes to a close with someone calling Alex’s name as she sits in Spencer’s lap kissing him at the restaurant …
… it’s her ex-fiancé.
Catch the next episode of 1923 exclusively on Paramount+ next Sunday, February 26. In case you missed it, the series has been renewed for a second season!