Bone Tomahawk Ending, Explained: What Happens to Samantha O’Dwyer and Deputy Nick?

‘Bone Tomahawk,’ directed by S. Craig Zahler, is a 2015 Western movie that offers a unique blend of Western and horror genres, bringing forth a haunting tale of survival, sacrifice, and the brutality of the human spirit. Starring Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, and Richard Jenkins, the movie covers the harrowing journey of a tight-knit team under the leadership of Sheriff Franklin Hunt. This group includes a sharpshooter, a deputy, and a town resident. Their mission is to rescue townspeople who have been abducted by the savage and cannibalistic Troglodytes tribe.

As they delve deeper into the uncharted wilderness, they encounter grisly trials and terrifying horrors, all in the name of saving their beloved townfolks. If you’re curious to see what dangers Sheriff Hunt and his team face amidst the unforgiving wasteland, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Bone Tomahawk.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

Bone Tomahawk Plot Synopsis

Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell) stands as a beacon of integrity and dedication to upholding law and order in the windswept and desolate expanse of Bright Hope. With unyielding resolve, he tirelessly pursues miscreants and outlaws, resolute in his mission to defend his beleaguered town. In his relentless quest, he finds allies in the form of Deputy Chicory (Richard Jenkins) and Deputy Nick (Evan Jonigkeit). Together, they take on regular patrols to protect the town from those who would threaten its fragile peace. Bright Hope is not just a town of dusty streets and fading hope. It is a place where peculiar characters thrive, each possessing their own idiosyncrasies. One among them is Arthur O’Dwyer, a control freak with a zeal for accomplishing tasks. He’s also a cowboy and the husband of Samantha O’Dwyer (Lily Simmons), the town’s nurse. Then there’s John Brooder, a renowned and confident Gunslinger.

One fateful evening, Deputy Chicory approaches Sheriff Hunt with a grave expression etched on his face. He reveals that he encountered a suspicious stranger during his patrol. According to Chicory, the stranger made its way toward the heart of the town, taking refuge at the Learned Goat bar. Unbothered yet cautious, Sheriff Hunt rides to the Learned Goat and confronts this stranger named Buddy. Buddy (David Arquette) lies about a simple visit to reconnect with an old friend. Sheriff Hunt, however, was not one to be easily swayed by vague narratives. Sheriff Hunt presses for the truth until Buddy’s confidence crumbles, leading to a gunshot that finds its mark in Buddy’s knee.

Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Sheriff Hunt dispatches Brooder to summon Nurse Samantha. The Sheriff needed her to tend to the injured stranger and extract the bullet lodged in his leg. Meanwhile, a disturbance in the night rouses Buford from his sleep. Buford (Jeremy Tardy) goes into the barn, unaware of the danger. Unfortunately, he’s attacked and killed by the same shadowy figure shown at the start. Upon discovering the body, Clarence (Fred Melamed) rushes to the Sheriff’s home to inform him about Buford’s murder. He also reveals that the Sheriff’s office is completely empty. Sheriff Hunt investigates the barn and runs over to see what befell Samantha and his prisoner. Therein, Hunt finds a strange arrow and sends Chicory to fetch the Professor while he meets Arthur to inform him about the unfortunate event.

The professor (Zahn McClarnon) reveals that this is the work of cave dwellers called Troglodytes. These people are not just sinister, but they are also cannibals. They sustain themselves by feasting upon the flesh of humans. The reason they left Buford’s body behind was that he was an African American. According to the professor, Troglodytes believe African Americans to be poisonous. Sheriff Hunt organizes a search party to scour the “Valley of Starving Men.” John Brooder, Deputy Chicory, and Arthur O’Dwyer also join the search party. Their path is fraught with hardship, as they must traverse a five-day journey in just three. The group is also venturing into uncharted territory, and the number of Troglodytes they may encounter is unknown.

Aware of the gravity of their situation, Sheriff Hunt advises everyone to keep their heads cool. In this treacherous domain, where the unknown lurks at every turn, he understands that their intellect and resourcefulness are their sole advantages against the cunning cannibals. Not to mention, Arthur’s injuries put them at a great disadvantage. On the way, the group encounters a couple of Mexican drifters. However, Brooder shoots and kills them, convinced that they’re scouts. Chicory, on the other hand, believes them to be just drifters. Unfortunately, the group is ambushed during the night. The ambushers injure Brooder and escape with their horses. Brooder’s horse, Sausy, resists but is shot and killed.

Bone Tomahawk Ending: What Happens to Samantha?

With no choice remaining, the group presses on without their horses. The recent development jeopardizes the whole mission, especially since John is already wounded. His cuts are bleeding, and there is a risk of them becoming infected and developing gangrene. Arthur’s life would be over if he underwent an amputation out in the open space. Regrettably, Arthur’s condition worsens, and he has to stay put. The group presses on without Arthur and reaches a series of valleys. However, they can’t determine which one is the “Valley of the Starving Men.” Hunt, Chicory, and Brooder decide to take a closer look and find caves marked with bones and skeletons. Brooder enters the valley, signaling them to follow. Unfortunately, they are ambushed by the Troglodytes.

Brooder is gravely injured and urges Hunt and Chicory to advance while he provides cover. He also requests that Hunt give him dynamite for his last stand. Unfortunately, Hunt and Chicory don’t get very far before they are abducted. Even Brooder meets his end while trying to take out a Troglodyte with a firearm. The two are taken to the cannibals’ holding area. Samantha reveals to Hunt and Chicory that she’s fine, but Nick isn’t doing well. Troglodytes arrive, strip Nick of his clothing, and kill him. However, before dying, Nick discloses that Purvis (Buddy) is a murderer and has killed many in their sleep. He also desecrated the sacred ground of these troglodytes, compelling them to follow him to the town.

Samantha is furious to learn that Hunt has allowed his ailing husband to join the search party. However, Hunt informs her that Arthur is okay. Hunt devises a plan to poison the Troglodytes with opium tincture, but they only have a limited quantity. Hunt lures three of the Troglodytes to drink from his whisky flask. Meanwhile, Arthur reaches the cave and kills three Troglodytes. The cannibals catch onto Hunt’s plans and shoot him with his own repeater. Arthur arrives at the cave and frees Samantha and Chicory. However, Arthur decides to stay behind and cover their retreat. The trio walks out of the cave, and the movie concludes with the echoes of three gunshots.

Did Sheriff Hunt Survive?

Sheriff Hunt, a brave man, felt a profound sense of duty and responsibility to rescue Samantha from the Troglodytes, especially since he had initially summoned her to treat Purvis. Recognizing the overwhelming odds against them, Sheriff devised a plan to incapacitate the cannibals using the limited opium he had remaining. However, the cannibals quickly uncovered his scheme and forcibly dragged him out of his cell. In the ensuing struggle, they shot Sheriff, but he managed to seize one of their weapons and decapitated one of his attackers.

Severely wounded from multiple gunshot injuries and substantial blood loss, Sheriff Hunt made a selfless decision to remain behind. His intention was to provide Chicory, Samantha, and Arthur with a chance to survive, similar to what Brooder had done for him. The film leaves us in suspense, never revealing Sheriff Hunt’s ultimate fate. However, it is highly probable that he succumbed to his injuries. Even if he somehow survived the final confrontation with the cannibals, his severe wounds would likely have proven fatal within a matter of hours.

What Happened to Purvis?

Purvis was an morally reprehensible man known for his heinous crimes of murdering people in their sleep and robbing defenseless travelers. He frequently targeted small convoys lacking protection, and would swiftly escape after stealing their meager belongings. In a cruel turn of events, during one of his raids, Purvis ventured dangerously close to the Troglodytes’ caves. He intentionally desecrated their sacred burial grounds, a location of profound importance to the Troglodytes’ religious beliefs.

In retaliation, the Troglodytes killed his partner, but Purvis survived the encounter. Seeking refuge, he fled to the nearby town of Bright Hope. Unfortunately, the vengeful Troglodytes tracked him down and, in the process, abducted not only him but also Samantha and Nick. The film never explicitly reveals what occurred with Purvis during his captivity. However, before meeting his tragic fate, Nick disclosed that Purvis had boasted about his desecration of the Troglodytes’ sacred site. This strongly implies that the cannibals likely killed him and, disturbingly, might have included him in their gruesome meals, as they did with the others they captured.

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