Meek’s Cutoff. 2010. USA. Directed by Kelly Reichardt. Screenplay by Jonathan Raymond. With Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano
35mm. 104 min.
As three families head west on the Oregon Trail in 1845, it soon becomes apparent that their guide, Stephen Meek, is lost and their lives are in danger from possible attack, exposure, and lack of water and food. This is an uncommon Western tale, focusing on the women who, for lack of a permanent home, fuss over and adjust the meager belongings stored inside their wagons. As the journey becomes more arduous, they must shed tangible links to their past, such as heirloom furniture that weighs down the unwieldy wagons. Alone on the vast plains, the tormented travelers have few options for survival.