The Athens Film Festival started on Friday, and PJ and I had a great night out as a result: dinner at O’Betty’s (I LOVE their tofudog — I always order a “shy” Lily), two movies at the festival, and a quick beer in between.

One of the two movies we saw was Meek’s Cutoff, which is about a small group of pioneers who are lost in the Oregon desert on their way west. I only knew two things about it before seeing it: it is set in the 1840s and it stars Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, and Zoe Kazan. Here’s the trailer:

The film follows three families trying to make it to The Dalles, Oregon. They have hired Stephen Meek, played by Bruce Greenwood, to guide them. Meek is an unemployed fur trapper who claims to know the route; it turns out that he doesn’t. Just as the group realizes that Meek has gotten them lost, they come across an Indian, played by Ron Rondeaux. Meek argues that they should kill him before he brings his tribe to massacre them all, but the leader of the group, Solomon Tetherow, played by Will Patton, maintains that the native can lead them to water. The rest of the movie explores the pioneers’ individual responses to these decisions.

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