Harrison Ford’s Role on ‘Yellowstone’ Prequel ‘1923’ Revealed — He’s Not Who We Thought!
Given the two actors' ages, relative to the time and place of this new Taylor Sheridan drama, common thinking was that Ford was playing an older version of Tim McGraw's character from 1883. This was problematic because (chronologically), the last time we saw James Dutton he'd just taken a bullet to the belly, but no one saw him die or be buried. It was the most reasonable explanation, though, given the few details released by Paramount.
Now, not only do fans know who Ford and Mirren will be playing, they have enough information to create a fuller family tree (please do, because the soup is getting thick over here). Ford (age 80) is going to play Jacob Dutton, the brother to James Dutton and the head of the Yellowstone Ranch (led by Kevin Costner's John Dutton in the modern day). Mirren (77) plays his wife, Cara Dutton.
At least one character from 1883 is being represented in 1923: John Dutton Sr. (played by Audie Rick in 1883) was very young during 1883, but Variety shares that he'll be played as an adult by James Badger Dale, who starred in a show called Hightown on Starz in 2020 and Season 3 of the Keifer Sutherland drama 24 in 2003, as CTU agent Chase Edmonds. John Sr.'s come-lately brother Spencer (we think it's his brother, although it's never confirmed) is not listed yet as a 1923 character.
The rest of the 1923 cast announcements both clarifies and obfuscates the Dutton Family tree. It's not clear how we get from James (McGraw) to John (Costner), but it is clear we shouldn't guess. Although, we'll probably try.
Darren Mann: Jack Dutton, John Dutton Sr.'s son, great nephew to Jacob Dutton.
Marley Shelton: Emma Dutton, wife to John Dutton Sr., mother to Jack.
Michelle Randolph: Elizabeth Strafford, a "feisty and capable young woman set to marry into the Dutton family.
Brian Geraghty: Zane, a loyal ranch foreman.
Aminah Nieves: Teonna Rainwater, a young woman at a government residential boarding school.
Julia Schlaepfer: Alexandra, a British woman who meets one of the Duttons abroad.
Sebastian Roché: Character unknown, confirmed by Deadline.
Dale's John Dutton Sr. is also described as the right-hand man to Jacob Dutton (Ford). Interestingly — and perhaps importantly — no sons are listed for Jacob Dutton yet, meaning the ranch could fall to John Sr. after Jacob's death, thus putting back in place a lineage that gets us to Kevin Costner's John Dutton. Be warned that there is another John Sr. somewhere in the future, however — Dabney Coleman played the role in a Yellowstone flashback, but it's not possible the character played by Rick and now Dale could be the same, as he'd be about 120 years old.
Ford's Jacob Dutton adds a new wrinkle to the family. 1883 fans knew James Dutton had a brother, as Clare Dutton was Margaret Dutton's sister-in-law. The only way she could be related to her this way and have the last name Dutton would be if she married James' brother, but that brother died (hence Clare's widow status). We now know there were at least three boys in the mid-19th century Dutton household.
Confused? Don't worry — earlier this year, we put together a linear family tree that goes Dutton to Dutton, and we stand by it, even if there have been conflicting messages about how man "greats" to add to "grandfather" when talking about James and John Dutton.