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The Missing (2003)

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In 1885 New Mexico, a frontier medicine woman forms an uneasy alliance with her estranged father when her daughter is kidnapped by an Apache brujo.


Ron Howard


Thomas Eidson (novel), Ken Kaufman (screenplay)
2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Tommy Lee Jones ... Samuel Jones / Chaa-duu-ba-its-iidan
Cate Blanchett ... Magdalena Gilkeson
Evan Rachel Wood ... Lilly Gilkeson
Jenna Boyd ... Dot Gilkeson
Aaron Eckhart ... Brake Baldwin
Val Kilmer ... Lt. Jim Ducharme
Sergio Calderón ... Emiliano
Eric Schweig ... Pesh-Chidin / El Brujo
Steve Reevis ... Two Stone
Jay Tavare ... Kayitah
Simon Baker ... Honesco, Kayitah's son
Ray McKinnon ... Russell J. Wittick
Max Perlich ... Isaac Edgerly
Ramon Frank Ramon Frank ... Grummond
Deryle J. Lujan Deryle J. Lujan ... Naazhaao / 'Hunter'


In 19th-century New Mexico, a father (Tommy Lee Jones) comes back home, hoping to reconcile with his adult daughter Maggie (Cate Blanchett). Maggie's daughter is kidnapped, forcing father and estranged daughter to work together to get her back. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


How far would you go, how much would you sacrifice to get back what you have lost?

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »




Release Date:

26 November 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Last Ride See more »

Filming Locations:

New Mexico, USA See more »


Box Office


$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,833,633, 30 November 2003, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$27,011,180, 31 December 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (extended)

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Tommy Lee Jones, Eric Schweig, David Midthunder, and Val Kilmer have all appeared in the Lonesome Dove films. Jones appeared in Lonesome Dove (1989), Schweig appeared in Dead Man's Walk (1996), and Midthunder and Kilmer appeared in Comanche Moon (2008). See more »


When Jones returns to his family and has a talk with Maggie about turning back or continuing with their mission, Maggie is wearing a full skirt. When they ride to rescue the young ladies Maggie is wearing black jeans. Jeans could have been worn by men, but weren't proper for a woman to wear. If Maggie was wearing a pair of men's jeans, they would not fit her tall, thin frame. See more »


Dot Gilkeson: I swear to god I won't stay put.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Although the film was shot in the Super 35 process, the Full Screen DVD mostly version Pans and Scans as if it were shot in Anamorphic Widescreen instead of properly framing it for Full Frame as most Super 35 films are. Only a few shots in this movie were reframed properly. See more »


Remake of The Searchers (1956) See more »


The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze
Lyrics by George Leybourne
Music by Gaston Lyle
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Tight, Suspenseful Western
2 April 2004 | by jharvey-4See all my reviews

"The Missing", starring Cate Blanchett and Tommy Lee Jones, is one of those movies that will come and go without getting noticed by audiences let alone any of the award programs. That's a shame because it's a tightly plotted film with interesting, sympathetic characters in a Western setting, but minus most of the tired Western genre devices.

In "The Missing", Cate Blanchett plays Maggie Gilkeson, a tough, frontier doctor / rancher with two young daughters (played by Evan Rachel Wood and Jenna Boyd), and a farmhand / love interest (Aaron Eckhart) named Brake, who also acts as her family's dedicated protector.

Unexpectedly, her father (Tommy Lee Jones) comes back into her life after abandoning his family years before to live with the Indians. His attempts to make amends for his past mistakes are rebuffed until rogue Indians attack Gilkeson's family and kidnap one of her daughters. Reluctantly, she asks her father to use his hunting & tracking skills to follow the Indians and recover her daughter.

The story in "The Missing" works along two tracks. While following and clashing with the rogue Indians provides ample suspense, action, and peril, the emotional drama between Gilkeson and her father keeps the movie interesting, dynamic, and makes us care about these peoples. For a Western, the film lacks all of the cardboard cutout characters. There are no gunslingers (in the tradition of Clint Eastwood's spaghetti Westerns) in "The Missing". The characters are flawed and emotionally vulnerable in their own believable, endearing way.

As a film, "The Missing" also provides a rare, balanced view of Native Americans during the mid 19th century. They are portrayed as neither doe-eyed victims (as in "Dances With Wolves"), nor are they mindless savages (as in almost any John Wayne Western). I will note that Chidin (Eric Schweig), the primary "bad guy" Indian, seems to go a little over the top at times, but this is forgivable given the film's many other strengths.

Suffice it to say that all of the acting is solid. We probably won't see any 'best actor' or 'best actress' nominations, but you never do with Westerns. Blanchett continues to expand her repertoire ranging from eccentric British Queen ("Elizabeth") to destructive bar trash ("Shipping News") with this role. Meanwhile, Tommy Lee Jones continues to be typecast as "the guy who hunts people" which started years ago with "The Fugitive" and hasn't varied much since.

In the end, one of the things I liked best about "The Missing" is the genuine danger for all of the major characters. The film establishes early on that bad things can and will happen to the characters we like the most. As a result, it's impossible to guess who will make it to the end of the story and that means you have real suspense (an increasingly rare occurrence in suspense films).

So, go see "The Missing" while everyone else is piling into the better-marketed blockbusters. You know you'll get both a good seat and a good movie without a lot of fuss.

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