You can currently watch the Yellowstone prequel 1923’s massively popular opening episode for free on YouTube. The ranching Dutton family was initially introduced by Taylor Sheridan in the immensely popular neo-Western series Yellowstone on the Paramount Network. The time-set prequel series 1883, which followed Sheridan, added more information on the Dutton family and their vast Montana ranching business. With the release of 1923, viewers are now treated to another another chapter in the Dutton narrative, featuring Hollywood great Harrison Ford as Jacob Dutton and Oscar winner Helen Mirren as Cara Dutton.
Yellowstone viewers clearly can’t get enough of the Duttons’ antics, as evidenced by the fact that the most recent prequel, 1923, not only made a major splash but also set a record for the biggest premiere on Paramount+. Thankfully, the premiere of 1923 was also broadcast on Paramount Network for anyone who didn’t want to pay for Paramount+. Unfortunately, Paramount+ will now be the only place to see the remaining episodes of the series. However, the first episode of 1923 is still available to watch for free on YouTube through the Paramount+ channel for those who missed it.
Yellowstone was unquestionably a big thing for Paramount Network and Paramount+; it became the channel and streaming service’s trademark programme and received enormous ratings on both. The scope of the show, however, was insufficient for its creator Sheridan, who consciously set out to outdo himself with 1923. When it became known that Ford and Mirren had been hired to lead the show’s ensemble, those lofty objectives were in fact immediately made clear. Given his position as a major movie star who had avoided small-screen work for the past three decades, Ford’s engagement was especially significant.
However, 1923 feels larger than Yellowstone not just because of Ford’s presence. The plot spans a wider geographical area, including the African plains where Spencer Dutton, played by Brandon Sklenar, may be seen using leopard hunting to cope with his post-World War One PTSD. The budget for 1923, which Sheridan claims exceeds what HBO spent on the first few seasons of Game of Thrones, reflects the reality that it is obviously expensive to film in Africa.
In terms of viewership for the premiere episodes, 1923 outperformed the first one with a reported 7.1 million viewers as opposed to Yellowstone’s 2.8 million. Since the first episode of season 1, Yellowstone’s audience has undoubtedly increased, and its season 5 premiere received an astounding 10.3 million viewers across all platforms. Being an exclusive to Paramount+ hurts 1923’s ratings, but maybe putting the first episode online may persuade a few more people to subscribe to the streaming service, giving 1923 a chance to surpass Yellowstone even more.