Wind River Ending Explained & Film Analysis

The action takes place on the Windy River Indian Reservation. Corey Lambert – one of the main characters, the huntsman. He finds the corpse of an Indian Natalie in the forest. The girl died of hypothermia, she ran barefoot in light clothing for several miles. The FBI sends young agent Jane Banner. The pathologist mentions that the girl was raped, but refuses to issue a murder report, because the cause of death is a ruptured lung.

Because of this, the FBI cannot send other specialists to investigate the case. Jane decides to unravel the crime herself and accepts help from Corey, who knows all the surroundings of the reservation very well. They are accompanied by the local police chief, Ben.

In the middle of the film, Jane understands why Lambert got involved in this case. His daughter, the same age as the late Natalie, passed away three years ago after running away from home after a party. The crime could not be solved, Corey still blames himself for this.

They learn from Natalie’s brother that her boyfriend works as a security guard at an oil rig next to the reservation. Later, his body is found naked in the woods. This is followed by a flashback about the night Natalie died. The girl came to her boyfriend, drunken comrades burst into the van, raped the girl and beat her boyfriend to death.

The investigation led Ben and Jane to the territory of the oil rig, to the same van. A shootout broke out between the guards and the reservation police. Only Jane survived. Corey came to her aid, shooting two employees of the drilling rig with a rifle.

Later, Lambert caught up with the escaped rapist Natalie, forced him to confess and let him go to the mountains, where the man died in agony from wounds and frostbite.

Until the final shootout, the action of the film develops slowly, allowing you to enjoy the landscapes and dialogues of the characters. Psychological portraits of the inhabitants are drawn, paying attention to the semantic subtexts of the film.

Meanings of the movie Windy River

The most dangerous animal

At the beginning of the film, three wolves were trying to attack a herd of sheep. One wolf was shot by Lambert, the rest ran away. Predators are compared to the main characters: Corey, Jane and Ben. Ben is killed in the final shootout.

The metaphor raises a topical issue about the most dangerous animal in nature: man. Between the lines, the main thought emerges: “What kind of madness are people capable of?”

Another scene testifies to this. In the forest, Corey follows the footprints of an animal that preys on their livestock. In a cave under the snow, he finds a cougar with two cubs. However, next to the cave, he sees another trace – from a snowmobile – and realizes that this is related to the crime.

The relationship between fathers and children

Natalie’s parents didn’t know who her boyfriend was or where she went. Martin, the girl’s father, explained to the FBI agent: “She was an adult.” Jane replied, “Almost.”

After the dialogue, Jane asked the man if it was possible to communicate with his wife. Martin said: “Why do you need my permission. You are an adult.” And he added, “Almost.” Jane entered the room and saw Natalie’s mother cutting her wrists.

Midway through the film, Corey confronts Jane about his daughter’s death. Three years ago, he and his wife decided to spend time in a hotel, and classmates came to visit the girl. The party has begun. “Perhaps,” Corey says. – I don’t know. I don’t know much.” “We always took care of her, tried to foresee everything … And then we relaxed,” the man still blames himself for the death of the girl.


The indigenous population of the United States – the Indians – the colonists once moved to these alienated lands. During the film, landscapes of steppes and snow-capped mountains are replaced by dialogues about this depressing place.

Teenagers are bored here: Chip and his drug addict friends were cooking methamphetamine, in the flashback scene Natalie, lying in bed with her man, dreamed of moving from the reservation to sunny Spain. Resigned old people in their simple houses philosophized about karma.

Even police chief Ben said it’s better to be in jail than live here.

The fact that the inexperienced Jane from Las Vegas was sent to investigate the crime (there was no closer employee), and the fact that, due to the absence of a “direct” reason for the murder in the protocol, they could not send other FBI agents, speaks of discrimination of the rights of the inhabitants of the reservation. This political subtext is indicated at the end of the film.

The end of the film

Corey came to Martin, the father of the crime victim, and saw him sitting in the backyard with a revolver in his hand. Martin painted himself the “face of death” and was about to kill himself, but the phone rang. “For the first time in years, Chip called me.” Natalie’s brother asked to be picked up from the police station.

“I need to sit here and think about her.” Martin’s face showed the acceptance Corey spoke of in the middle of the movie. The father realized that it was impossible to avoid pain in order to leave his daughter in his memory. The call from his son gave him hope.

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