1923 Season 1 Episode 4 Recap – When does the letter reach Spencer?

By Marc Miller
Published: January 8, 2023 (Last updated: last month)
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1923 Season 1 Episode 4 Recap – When does the letter reach Spencer?


Mirren’s Cara takes center stage in a magnetic performance as she leads the Dutton family during the most turbulent time in their history.

This recap of the Paramount+ series 1923 Season 1 Episode 4, “War and the Turquoise Tide,” contains spoilers.

It’s the following day, and Cara cleans the blood off the table. Zane shows up, and she hands him a letter to send to Spencer. He objects, saying it will take months and they should send a wire. However, Cara listens to Jacob‘s words in 1923 Episode 3. No wire, no sheriff, because everyone will descend onto the Dutton property. Zane then gets his Red on by telling Cara that hope is dangerous. Yes, we know, but now that we know Jack and his fiance are still alive and Jacob is still breathing, one thing remains in 1923 for Cara Dutton.

Hope. It may be a pipe dream, but they have hope. Much of that seems to be tied to Spencer. We see him paddling his new fiance, shirtless, of course, across crystal clear water, to a sandy beach. He has quite the “ravishing” time with Alexandra as they plan where to live and what to do when they are old and grey.

1923 Season 1 Episode 4 Recap

We finally see Timothy Dalton. He plays the money man, Donald Whitfield, who seems to mine Yellowstone’s unearthed riches like gold and silver. Banner comes to him, and clearly, the man is in over his head and doesn’t see the bigger picture. He says he will take over the Dutton land, and when he does, he will leave mining rights to Whitfield. Donald, though, knows this man is an assassin, not a king. He will give him the funds to form an army to take over the kingdom, but he wants to mine the mountains so Banner can tend his sheep in the valley. Banner agrees. However, he leaves Banner with this little nugget. He will kill Banner, his wife, and his children if he crosses him.

The sheepherder begins to show some unexpected wit. He takes half the herd, even though it has cattle from the different ranches across the state. It feels like Banner is trying to get the men to chase the herd so he can then take men to take the Dutton home. Why? To end Jacob’s reign for good. However, Jacob puts Cara in charge. They will not send Zane and the boys over Jack’s objections. Jacob brings Zane in, gives him the plan on what to do with the cattle, and notes they have a year to hold out because that is how long it will take for Spencer to return home. Finally, Cara will tell everyone in town that Jacob is hunting thieves in Wyoming.


Teonna keeps up the habit by sticking up to one of the nuns beating a classmate while picking tomatoes. That’s when Sister Mary knocks her out with a shovel. Teonna wakes up later, tied to a chair, and the vicious nun asks her if she wants to be saved. She shrieks with defiance that she does not. Sister Mary beats her so hard with a wooden paddle/stick it breaks. Eventually, Teonna declares she wants to be saved. However, this means the nuns act fast, cutting off her long hair and then horrifyingly purifying her. How? By putting her as naked as the day she was born into a cold tub of water and scraping her clean with a metal sponge. Teonna shrieks in pain, and we see blood all over her back.

Teonna has had enough. She gets up in the middle of the night and takes a couple of bibles. She places them in a pillowcase and tells her friend she is going home. However, she makes one stop first. She wakes Sister Mary by beating her on the head with that pillowcase full of good books. Now, Teonna speaks her native language and begins choking out the nun until she dies. For good measure, pun intended, she heats a ruler and scars the dead women’s face with it so she can wear it forever.


Cara meets the cattle association and takes action. She has a signed note from Jacob that she forged to show she is in charge now holds the notes and announces where Jacob is. Banner confronts her outside, but she spits in his face. Cara has him, and he knows it. He cannot claim that Jacob is not in Wyoming because he would have to admit he murdered and injured members of the Dutton clan.

When does the letter reach Spencer?

Alexandra ends the episode reading the letters to Spencer. The ones he has left unread. This is a glimpse of his family and past, including his experiences in the war. However, up to this point, we thought Spencer’s walkabout and the Dutton timelines were parallel. But when Alex gets to the last letter, it’s the one written by Cara informing Spencer he must come home. How long ago was the letter written? When did the letter reach Spencer?

Three months, Alex tells him.

What did you think of 1923 Season 1 Episode 4? Comment below.

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