In Bolivia, Butch Cassidy (now calling himself James Blackthorne) pines for one last sight of home, an adventure that aligns him with a young robber and makes the duo a target for gangs and lawmen alike.
The year is 1845, the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, and a wagon team of three families has hired the mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a short cut, 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 each other's instincts for survival. When a Native American wanderer crosses their path, the emigrants are torn between their trust in a guide who has proven himself unreliable and a man who has always been seen as the natural enemy. Written by
When the party are sorting through pots and pans after the wagon wreck, a kettle which by its color could only be aluminum or silver, is shown. Large kettles were not made of silver (and even if they were, would not have been carried by settlers) and aluminum was not in use as a material for cookware in the 1850s. Aluminum was not produced in commercial quantities until well into the 20th century. See more »
[reading from Genesis]
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
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1. It's a kind of revisionist western movie, at odds to show the real kind of people moving through the continental landscape and odyssey immortalised in old style westerns. These people were poor, religious, often clueless but fortified by their simplicity and determination to seek a fortune. The Indian presence highlights a tension and paradox for early settlers and their guides, where they were reliant on Indians and Indian knowledge to complete their journey. 2. The over all feel of the movie is one of hardship and breakdown of trust. It's about chance and gambling of one's life. Now this serves to emphasise a kind of truth about the risk early settlers took but it also reflects the traumatic journey the real Steven Meek took when he guided settlers through the Oregon desert back in the 19C. The film tweaks certain portrayals. Steven Meek is portrayed as a rough-neck, hard drinking never-do-well chancer who was quite capable of being a cold killer. This may well have been true for the guides like these who led the way through for the first settlers. But Meek was in real life a local fur trapper, who was married and both he and his wife worked hard to rescue the settlers they he had inadvertently led into adversity on that trip. Also to add that the native Indian who accompanied them was not a prisoner and came along specifically to make sure the party could keep near a good supply of water. The disastrous trip saw the loss of perhaps more than 1/10 of it's members but up to 1000 did finally reach safety which was in fact due to Meek's raising the alarm at a near by settlement. Much of the loss of life was due to camp fever and a shortage of supplies. Also the bringing of too many livestock helped to compete with grass and water supplies along the way. Meek was guilty of not knowing the landscape where he had indicated he did and this promoted despair and agitated the fatality rate. But to give him his due, the land at key sections had been utterly changed in appearance by drought that year and it was this that caused him to lead the party to near total disaster.
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