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Directed by Kelly Reichardt • 2010 • United States
Starring Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan
Kelly Reichardt’s stark and poetic drama is set in 1845, the earliest days of the treacherous Oregon Trail. A wagon train of three families has hired mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a shortcut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert, only to become lost in the dry rock and sage. Over the coming days, the emigrants must face the scourges of hunger, thirst, and their own lack of faith in one another’s instincts for survival. When a Native American wanderer crosses their path, they are torn between their trust in a guide who has proven himself unreliable and a man who has always been seen as their natural born enemy.