Breaking Down the Differences Between 1883 and 1923: Which Yellowstone Spinoff is Better?

Image credit: Legion-Media

Paramount+ has already released two spinoffs of its hit series, and fans are debating which one is better.

Taylor Sheridan has built quite an empire at Paramount+. His meteoric rise to dominance began with the launch of Yellowstone in 2018. The show starred Kevin Costner as the patriarch of the Dutton rancher dynasty in Montana and was an instant hit with audiences who wanted a gritty but realistic adult-centred series.

As Yellowstone kept going from strength to strength, Paramount gave Sheridan carte blanche by letting him develop as many prequels to the original as he wanted.

So far, Sheridan has released two: one about the Duttons in 1883 and the other about them in 1923. The first series follows the first-generation Duttons as they leave the city and head west to find somewhere to settle. The other series depicts the struggles of the next generation of the same dynasty during westward expansion and prohibition.

Both prequels have been praised by critics and fans alike, but which one is better?

Some Redditors say there is a lot more to this question than meets the eye. First of all, the two series are completely different in terms of narrative. 1883 has a far more straightforward plot: it simply follows the Duttons as they travel from one point to another.

In a way, 1883 is just a show about the main cast going from place to place and meeting a bunch of new people along the way. 1923 has a far more complex plot with three different intertwining storylines, so in terms of the plot, 1923 beats 1883 hands down.

But 1923 definitely looks cheap next to 1883: it's as if all the show's budget went on hiring the Hollywood royalties Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren for the main parts, with the costumes and sets treated as an afterthought.

Fans have constantly been complaining that 1923 looks like a cheap theatrical production rather than a real story with real people. 1883 is much better on this count, beautifully depicting the harsh conditions the ranchers endure as they travel out west. So if realism is what you're after in a show, then 1883 would definitely rank as the better Yellowstone spinoff in your book.

But most importantly, as many fans point out, the two shows are completely different in terms of the topics they deal with.

1883 has been dubbed a dating simulator by some fans because of its relentless focus on Elsa Dutton's romantic life. 1923 is a show about outlaw cowboys and is packed with action, putting it in a completely different genre if you will.

Each series is great in its own way, but most fans tend to prefer 1923 as it's slated to have a second season, which is expected to rectify most of the shortcomings of the first one.