Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren as Jacob and Cara Dutton in 1923.

10 Parenting Lessons We've Learned From The Dutton Family In 1923

For starters, don’t mess with a matriarch.

Originally Published: 


As 1923’s first season comes to a close and with Season 2 on the horizon, we find ourselves reflecting on some of the lessons we’ve learned from this generation of Duttons and discovered that many have to do with parenting...

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

#1. Parents Take Many Forms

Jacob and Cara may not actually be parents, but they raised their nephews John and Spencer and are grandparent figures to their great-nephew Jack. They are the undisputed heads of the family and lead with (gruff) love.

#2. It Takes A Village...

When Teonna runs away from the residential school — in victory and terror — she finds herself alone in the badlands and far from home. When Hank finds her, and realizes he knows her father, he heroically steps up to help.

#3. Take Joy In Your Children’s Joy

Cara writes in letters to Spencer that she will often forgo chores just to sit back and observe how in love Jack and Elizabeth are and it’s just a sweet reminder how much of parenting is reveling in someone else’s happiness.

#4. Nobody Ever Outgrows Needing A Mother

It’s a truth that Cara understands and Emma, in her sorrow, couldn’t grasp. No matter how old your children get, they will never not need you. Not in the same way they did when they were little, but always.

#5. Nothing Warms The Heart Like A New Baby

Even in the throes of painful healing, the idea of a new life coming into a family is a balm for the soul.

#6. Some Fathers Are Terrible

The. Absolute. Worst.

#7. Parents Always Look Toward The Future

Both Cara and Jacob are intently focused not just on the survival of the Duttons and the ranch but of continuing the legacy of the family and having something substantial to pass down to their nephews.

#8. Your Children Are Their Own People

Whether it’s Spencer going to Africa, Elizabeth defying her mother, or Alex escaping a “real estate” marriage, 1923 shows again and again that children are not merely extensions of their parents... and should never be thought of as such.

#9. “Breeding Pairs” Are (Almost) Unstoppable

In Kenya, Spencer is caught unawares when he realizes that the man-eating “leopard” (also woman-eating; RIP Flirty Lady) is actually a pair of parents. We’re not Team Leopard (RIP Kagiso) but it’s impressive what they do together!

#10. Don’t Mess With A Matriarch

She’ll be the first to tell you that she kills slow....

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