In 1845, in the early days of the Oregon Trail, a small wagon train 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.
The migrants 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 migrants, and especially Emily Tetherow (Michelle Williams), 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.
Leo Won was the makeup department head; Linda Andrews was the key makeup.