Captain John Boyd receives a promotion after defeating the enemy command in a battle of the Mexican-American War, but because the general realizes it was an act of cowardice that got him there, he is given a backhanded promotion to Fort Spencer, where he is third in command. The others at the fort are two Indians, George and his sister, Martha, who came with the place, Chaplain Toffler, Reich, the soldier; Cleaves, a drugged-up cook; and Knox, who is frequently drunk. When a Scottish stranger named Colquhoun appears and recovers from frostbite almost instantly after being bathed, he tells a story about his party leader, Ives, eating members of the party to survive. As part of their duty, they must go up to the cave where this occurred to see if any have survived. Only Martha, Knox, and Cleaves stay behind. George warns that since Colquhoun admits to eating human flesh, he must be a Windigo, a ravenous cannibalistic creature. Written by
Scott Hutchins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The tape loop used during Colqhoun's story is an archival track from the 1920s. See more »
The sprung trap clearly wobbles when supposedly crushing its victims in a way no real trap would. See more »
[looking out over the mountains]
Manifest destiny. You know come april, thousands of gold-hungry Americans will over those mountains, on their way to new lives, passing right through...
[turns around indicating Fort Spencer]
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This is an exceedingly well-made film which, in its portrayal of cannabalism, suggests other themes as well: physical and moral courage and cowardice, exploitation of other people, the evils of carnivorousness...
Taut-faced, moody Lt. John Boyd (Guy Pearce) turns yellow under fire in the Mexican War, but somehow manages to accidentally capture an enemy command post. He is rewarded with a medal, a promotion to Captain, and a transfer to a lonely outpost in the western Sierra Nevada range in California by a commanding officer who sees the cowardice behind the supposed heroism. There, a disheveled stranger (Robert Carlyle, doing his best Rasputin impersonation) stumbles into the post, telling a horrible tale of snowbound travellers in a wagon train feeding on each other when their food runs out. The affable C.O. (Jeffrey Jones, looking as seedy as you might expect an officer in a California outpost in the 1840's to look) decides to investigate, leading his small band of soldiers to a horrible destiny. Jeremy Davies, who played the nerdy corporal in "Saving Private Ryan" also appears, playing pretty much the same character.
All the parts in this movie were excellent - all the performances were outstanding, the photography and editing were great, and the score was amazing. However, although I really enjoyed this movie, it didn't add up as be the great film it should have been. Much of the time, I felt as if I should have been really scared and nervous, but I found myself watching with some detachment, almost as if I were watching a ball game between two teams I wasn't really rooting for.
I don't want the reader to think I didn't like this movie, though. It was really good. It just wasn't outstanding, that's all.
I did like Sheila Tousey as Martha, the Native American woman who lived and worked at the outpost. She was really cute in a sort of Earth Mother kind of way.
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