There’s a moment near the start of 1923‘s first episode in which Helen Mirren‘s Cara Dutton tilts her head to the heavens and screams. In order to avoid spoilers (and so as not to bring the Taylor Sheridan industrial entertainment complex down upon our heads), we’re not at liberty to say what leads up to this harsh cry. But we can tell you that the moment — which is on full display in the Paramount+ series’ trailer — is an outlier for Mirren’s character: a capable, pragmatic Dutton matriarch keeping the family ranch going nearly a century before the events of Yellowstone.
Which isn’t to say that Cara, nor husband Jacob (played by Harrison Ford), are immune to the harsh realities of life in rural Montana in the first part of the 20th century. After all, it’s right there in the prequel’s official logline: We’re entering an era in which “pandemics, historic drought, the end of Prohibition and the Great Depression all plague the mountain west and the Duttons who call it home.”
When TVLine got the chance to speak with Mirren ahead of 1923‘s premiere Sunday, she elaborated on the challenges facing John Dutton III’s forebears.
“Certainly, there are storm clouds gathering around them. Cara, as you very rightfully pointed out, is well balanced, is fundamentally peaceful, and what brings her to this point of extremity?” (Editor’s note: Mirren gracefully skirts that question, but she’s Helen freaking Mirren, so we’ll let it pass just this once.)
Press PLAY on the video above to hear Mirren also address the relationship between her character and Jacob (who is the brother of James Dutton, played by Tim McGraw in 1883), then hit the comments with your thoughts!