Synopsis by Mark Deming
A braggart meets his match in a courageous woman in this period drama from independent filmmaker Kelly Reichardt. It's 1845, and Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood) is a boastful, rough-hewn wilderness guide who has been hired by three families who want to start new lives on the other side of Oregon's Cascade Mountains. Meek constantly tells his charges that he knows the Oregon Trail like the back of his hand, but when they veer off for a shortcut he says is foolproof, they soon find themselves in forbidding territory, without water and with Indians on the horizon. While the men of the party travel with Meek, their wives are made to follow them in a separate wagon, and Emily Tetherow (Michelle Williams), the strong-willed wife of Solomon Tetherow (Will Patton), begins openly questioning Meek's competence among the other women, especially her friend Millie Gately (Zoe Kazan). While making their way through the wilderness, the party happens upon a Cayuse Indian (Rod Rondeaux); Meek captures the Indian and proposes they kill him, but Emily bravely speaks up for him, believing he has the right to live and perhaps the knowledge to lead them safely over the mountains. Meek's Cutoff was an official selection at the 2010 New York Film Festival.
arrogance, bragging, Native-American, Pacific-Northwest, rebel, trail [path], wagon, water, wilderness, xenophobia