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.
Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Neal Huff, Tommy Nelson and Rod Rondeaux
Directed by Kelly Reichardt...
Press pack: Meek's Cutoff continues Reichardt's penchant for foregrounding those too often ignored by society, history, and Hollywood--in this case, the women in the story. “Meek's Cutoff is told from the vantage point of those without the power, from the people who don't get a say in the decisions that are being made," says Reichardt. Even the film’s 1.37:1 aspect ratio could be seen as representing the viewpoint of the women looking at the trail, curtailed by the narrow scope of the bonnets they wear. In researching the film, Reichardt read diaries of women who made the migration west. "The women's stories offer such a specific take on the history - one totally different from the one portrayed in the Hollywood Western.