1923: The Main Characters Ranked by Intelligence


1923 has made its mark as one of the best western dramas of the 21st century, with its premiere breaking Paramount Network’s all-time debut viewership record. The blend of exceptional talent and experience in its cast has seen every character come to life and resonate with the fan base. To survive the last days of the wild west and the onset of the Great Depression, every character needs to be on top of their game. Survival in 1923 is for the intelligent more than simply the strongest, so here is how each of 1923’s main characters ranks on the intelligence scoreboard.

12. Banner Creighton

Jacob Dutton and Banner Creighton in Yellowstone

When Jacob Dutton wanted to hang Creighton (Jerome Flynn), he told Jacob that he couldn’t do that in the 20th century. However, when he got arrested, he told his lawyer he had no idea what incriminating evidence was. For a stubborn man claiming to know his rights so well, he sure had little knowledge of the law of the land he wanted so badly. He knew the Duttons had the power to end him when he drove his sheep herd onto their land.

Despite securing an alliance with the rich Whitfields, Banner is destined to die a desolate man. Attacking the Duttons in retaliation was the biggest mistake of his life because he made an enemy of the most powerful ranch owner in the state. He also lost his meaning to the local sheepmen because now he has no sheep. Moreover, there is only so much the Whitfields can do for a man with endless legal problems and nothing to offer them.

11. Father Renaud

sebastian roche as Fr Renaud in 1923

The scenes of Teonna Rainwater’s torture at the hands of Sister Mary and Father Renaud (Sebastian Roché) were some of the hardest watches of 1923. His cruelty towards Teonna portrayed the hard truth about the suffering of the children of the first nations in church boarding schools in North America. In Renaud’s case, he was cruel to the nuns, just like the students.


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With so much hate and violence in an institution, retaliation was inevitable. For a man of God, Renaud surprised himself as he turned his school into a small hell for everyone. Having seen the injuries inflicted on Teonna by the ruthless nuns, the human thing to do would have been to help the child, but he beat her and threatened to kill her instead.

10. Donald Whitfield

Donald Whitefield in 1923

Donald Whitfield fits every description of a man with power without a heart because he only cares about his interests without considering the cost to those around him. He also enjoys watching people suffer and wants absolute power, an ambition that will make him more enemies than friends in the valley and probably get him killed.

He hoped the winter would be hard enough on Cara and force her to come and beg him to buy the ranch after taking in Creighton, knowing he had killed her husband. His alliance with Banner goes against everything an intelligent businessman would do. It is the beginning of the Great Depression, and Whitfield’s mining companies should have been diversifying into other businesses rather than bullying farmers and grabbing their land.

9. John Dutton Sr

James Badge Dale as John Dutton Sr in 1923

For the boy that witnessed the hardships the family endured to secure Yellowstone, including the deaths of his parents and elder sister, John Dutton Sr. should have had more fight in him. He was instead overshadowed by his uncle and looked nothing more than a regular cowboy with far less value to the show than Jacb’s foreman, Zane.

He should have been the man that dealt with stubborn henchmen such as Banner, but he offered very little support to Jacob. Considering Jacob Dutton’s age, John Dutton should have taken the lead on the ranch and protected Jack, Emma, and Liz with more Zeal.

8. Jack Dutton

Jack Dutton in 1923

Jack Dutton represents the future of the Yellowstone ranch, and he is doing a better job at following in his grandfather and grand-uncle’s footsteps than his father. He is not as charismatic and as good a fighter as Jacob, but he listens to him and is willing to do anything to protect the family and the ranch. From his discussion with Jacob in The Rule Of Five Hundred, it is obvious that Jack is very smart and understands what the Whitfields are up to.

7. Elizabeth Strafford

Elizabeth Strafford in 1923

Elizabeth has proved to be a vital member of the Dutton family because she managed to turn Jack from a clueless boy into a responsible man. She wasn’t born on the ranch and didn’t understand ranching, but she loves Jack and is determined to make a home with him despite the difficulties involved.

If she had left Jack because he canceled the wedding, she would have missed out on all the love the Duttons have shown her. She has also proved that she is not a pushover and will always fight for herself and the Duttons when needed. She is like a younger version of Cara Dutton, intelligent and passionate about family and definitely everything that the ranch needs in 1923.

6. William McDowell

Jacob Dutton and Sheriff William McDowell in 1923 epsiode 6

Despite having limited screen time in 1923, McDowell has proved to be the best friend to the Duttons and the only thing delaying the Train Station in 1923. When Jacob was injured, McDowell stood with Cara at the livestock association meeting and kept the sheepmen in check.


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He also reminded Jacob of the need to consider the legal implications of his fight against Banner. He is a true lawman that understands his job and the town he is in charge of. His help in raising an army for the livestock commission makes all the difference in the Duttons’ fight against the Whitfields.

5. Alexandra

Alexandra and Spencer Dutton in Italy

Alexandra knew what she wanted to do with her life and a lifetime as a small-time housewife in an entitled aristocratic family with a man she didn’t love, wasn’t it. Getting killed by wild animals in the jungle wasn’t her definition of a happy life either, and she managed to get Spencer to see that as well.

She has proved smart and resourceful in Spencer’s journey from Zanzibar, knowing how to send a message home to understand Italy better than Spencer could manage alone. She is also funny and sweet, which has helped transform Spencer from the grumpy man struggling with PTSD to a focused Dutton ready to save his legacy back home.

4. Cara Dutton

1923 harrison ford helen mirren 1 806x570 1

Cara Dutton (Helen Mirren) is no typical 1920s housewife. She takes charge of everything in Yellowstone, including the cowboys, and has earned the whole ranch’s respect. The best thing about her is the strong motherly instinct that has seen her keep in touch with Spencer for over two years since he left the war. Her letters to Spencer are the only reason Spencer learned what was happening in Montana.

She embraced the role of a mother to Spencer and John Dutton Sr. and raised them as her own children while helping Jacob revive the ranch. Her idea was to raise an army to fight Banner at the livestock commission. She understands the politics and the fight in the valley as much as her husband, which always keeps her a step ahead of Yellowstone’s next tragedy all the time.


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3. Spencer Dutton

Brandon Sklenar as Spencer Dutton in 1923

Spencer Dutton (Brandon Sklenar) lost his parents at a young age and had to get used to pain and suffering, even though he got a good foster mother in Cara Dutton. Having to experience the trauma of war didn’t help his state of mind either. Despite having suffered so much and getting PTSD, Spencer is kind and treats everyone with respect, including the Native African hunters that helped him kill dangerous animals.

Cara knew that he would never ignore the family in their time of need, so she kept writing letters to him. His war experience is vital for the Duttons to defeat the powerful Whitfields. Spencer is also the best hope for the Duttons to keep the ranch going through the Great Depression. His marriage to Alexandra turned them into the A-team for the Duttons.

2. Teonna Rainwater

Aminah Nieves in 1923

Sister Mary and Father Renaud would have killed Teonna (Aminah Nieves) if she didn’t run away from their hellish boarding school. The fact that she stood up and fought against the abuse by the nuns and priests made her a hero even before she killed the two nuns. She never gave up on her roots and always held onto the hope of going back home alive.

She is strong and smart, the key traits she needs to survive the onslaught she will get after killing her molesters. Her father and the rest of the reservation obviously adore her; she might just be the key to the survival of the Rainwater family tree. Teonna was just a year away from her graduation, so she also has the education to help her in the future.

1. Jacob Dutton

Henry Ford as Jacob Dutton in 1923

Jacob Dutton (Henry Ford) has protected his family and the ranch against all odds thanks to his ability to read people and anticipate threats to his family. He should have killed Banner Creighton earlier to avoid tragedy, but he made all the right decisions afterward. He was smart enough to keep all of his brother’s ranch after James’ death against all odds.

In his conversation with the family in The Rule Of Five Hundred, he vowed to use the law to defeat Donald Whitfield, proving that he is up to the task. His ability to balance politics and management is the pillar of success for Yellowstone. Banner and the Whitfields were dumb in underestimating him because he is capable of much more than he lets on.

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