Who Shot Duttons in 1923? Why Were They Shot?

Image Credit: Christopher T. Saunders/Paramount+

A prequel to ‘Yellowstone,’ Paramount+’s Western series ‘1923’ revolves around Jacob and Cara Dutton, the patriarch and matriarch of the Dutton family in the 1920s. Jacob holds the office of the Livestock Commissioner, which holds immense value among the ranchers of the state of Montana. The first three episodes of the show depict the unbearable drought that affects the state, which leaves ranchers helpless as they fail to feed their cattle properly. The drought also paves the way for the creation of several conflicts that threaten the lives of the Duttons. In the third episode, a group of men fires guns at the Duttons, making one intrigued about the mastermind behind the enthralling showdown. Well, let us provide the answer! SPOILERS AHEAD.

Why Did Banner Shoot the Duttons?

Banner Creighton and his men shoot down the Duttons. Banner is a Scottish sheep herder who is severely affected by the drought. His flock of sheep gets left behind with little to no grazing land for their survival, only for them to get into private property and graze the land. As the Livestock Commissioner, Jacob Dutton looks into the predicament and makes it clear to Banner that his sheep cannot eat grass from another rancher’s property since the same is reserved for the particular rancher’s cattle. Due to the drought, none of the ranchers has any surplus grass to accommodate Banner’s sheep and Jacob doesn’t want the former’s flock to be a headache for the region’s ranchers.

However, Banner doesn’t agree with Jacob’s reasoning. He replies that his flock of sheep doesn’t know or care about the man-made boundaries of the properties for them to not graze a particular piece of land. Jacob unflinchingly stands by his decision, infuriating Banner, who expresses his wish to kill the commissioner. After the ruling, Banner and his men retaliate against Jacob by leading his flock of sheep to the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch to graze the land reserved for the cattle of Jacob’s ranch. When Jack Dutton tries to confront one of Banner’s men, the latter shoots at the former, infuriating Jacob.

Jacob decides to execute Banner and a few of his men for leading their flock of sheep to the Dutton Ranch and trying to kill the Duttons after their confrontation. The Dutton patriarch then hangs Banner and his men, only for the Scottish sheep herder to escape from death. Jacob gives away Banner’s flock of sheep to a Native American leader for nothing in return since he doesn’t and can’t tend sheep. In the third episode of the show, the escaped Banner returns to his house, immersed in humiliation and without any of his sheep for sustaining his livelihood.

Banner shoots down the Duttons with his men for humiliating him and giving away his sheep or livelihood in other words. As a hot-headed man, Banner exacts his vengeance on Jacob for killing his friends and almost killing him by shooting down the Dutton patriarch and his nephew John Dutton Sr. himself. Banner and his men’s surprise attack on the Duttons is the former’s attempt to protect his ego, which gets severely hurt when Jacob hangs and leaves him to die. By almost killing Jacob, Banner is also challenging or threatening the established norms concerning herders and ranchers of the region.

Banner’s actions, however, are done without much thought about their consequences. By killing John Dutton Sr. and nearly killing Jacob, Banner has put his life on the line again as the Duttons are expected to exact their revenge on him as soon as possible. The third episode of the show ends with Cara writing a letter to Spencer Dutton, asking him to return to Yellowstone to be the guardian of the family in the wake of John’s death and Jacob’s potential death. If Spencer returns to Montana from Africa, one of his earliest duties most likely will be killing Banner for destroying his family.

In the fourth episode of the show, we can expect Spencer to return to Yellowstone and team up with Jack Dutton to kill Banner. Meanwhile, if Jacob dies, Banner may try to change the order that exists among ranchers to accommodate his animals if he sets out to do herding again.

Read More: How Are 1923’s Jacob and Cara Dutton Related to James Dutton?