Dark Harvest Ending, Explained: Who Is Sawtooth Jack?

‘Dark Harvest,’ a horror film ripe with 60s imagery complete with an eclectic small town plagued by a Halloween spirit, follows the story of a young man and his quest to unravel the supernatural secrets within his community. Every Halloween night, Richie Shepard’s small town prepares its teenage boys to fight against the immortal Sawtooth Jack, whose hunt ensures a promising harvesting season for the town. However, after Richie’s older brother, Jim, wins a year’s hunt and escapes the community, Richie finds himself yearning for the same future.

Nonetheless, Richie’s intentional participation in the annual “Run” may just end up costing him more than he bargained for. Richie’s narrative remains steeped in intrigue and mystery, inviting questions about the town’s peculiar behavior that only ever comes out during Halloween. Thus, the viewers must be curious to uncover the mystery of Sawtooth Jack. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Dark Harvest Plot Synopsis

The Run is a townwide hunt where teenage boys are encouraged to unleash savagery and protect their community by hunting Sawtooth Jack, an urban legend who arrives in town every year. The city’s Harvest Guild encourages this tradition by providing an incentive: a luxurious life for the winner, allowing him the resources to move away from town and showering his family back home with fortune. As such, after Jim Shepard guts Sawtooth, he earns himself a ticket— or a Corvette— out of town, leaving his parents and little brother, Richie, behind.

For the same reason, when the Run nears again next year, Richie, who feels abandoned by his brother, itches to participate regardless of the town’s rule that bars relatives of previous winners from The Run. Inversely, most other boys are less than thrilled about the mandatory hunt. Even though most people have never seen Sawtooth in person, leading to his legendary status, the town is ripe with horror stories about the pumpkin-headed creature.

Due to the same, Richie’s parents are against their younger son’s participation in the run, leading to an eruptive argument in the family. Yet, it’s only when the boy receives a rare letter from Jim, regaling him about his adventures and homesickness, that Richie attempts to run away from the town. Nevertheless, Officer Jerry Ricks, who’s immensely serious about the Run, prevents Richie from doing so by knocking him out.

Three days later, on the night of the Run, Richie wakes in a frenzy and storms out of his house to join the hunt despite his parents’ request otherwise. Simultaneously, the town’s teenage boys, whose parents locked them in their rooms without food to increase their hunger, flood out on the streets to confront Sawtooth Jack. Richie and his friends particularly drive out to the cornfields, from where Sawtooth is said to emerge in search of the creature.

However, once the group actually faces Sawtooth, they realize how much of a real threat the creature poses. While Sawtooth cuts down his enemies in the blink of an eye, Richie barely manages to escape with his life. During the same, he also runs into Kelly Haines, who, like Richie, is participating in the hunt despite its boys-only rule.

As the night progresses, Sawtooth covers more ground in the town, making his way to his final destination, the Church. Meanwhile, Richie realizes he needs a better weapon to overpower Sawtooth, leading Kelly and him to steal Officer Ricks’ gun and hotwire the cop’s car outside his house. Nonetheless, Ricks ends up using the radio in his car to lure the duo out. Thus, Richie finds himself confronting Sawtooth for the second time that night. Nevertheless, a peculiar detail about the creature prevents the boy from pulling the trigger on his enemy.

Dark Harvest Ending: Where Is Jim? Is His Disappearance Connected to the Sawtooth?

Most of Richie’s storyline revolves around the resentment he holds on to against Jim after the latter leaves town after he wins the Run. Given the town’s rural dispositions, all winners are eager to leave once the Harvest Guild offers to fund their travel while also ensuring a comfortable life for their family. Consequently, after Jim kills Sawtooth, he goes down the same road.

As a year goes by, Jim himself becomes an urban legend of sorts around town, with rumors abound about how the young man is supposedly spending his newfound freedom. The speculative gossip surrounding Run winners is also nothing out of the ordinary in Richie’s town. However, the second time Richie confronts Sawtooth, he notices something about the creature’s attire that makes him evaluate the town’s entire history.

As it would turn out, every winner to escape from the town ended up cutting all ties with the town, never to return again. Often, news came of someone’s death, but no tangible proof existed of their survival after the Run. During a tense conversation with his mother about the same, where she eerily attempts to pretend everything is fine, Richie realizes the ugly truth behind Sawtooth Jack.

Rather than emerging from the dead annually, Sawtooth Jack is a mantle passed down from one unfortunate soul to another. The soul in question gets chosen through the Run, i.e., each year’s winner gets turned into the Sawtooth to be unleashed onto the town the following year. Therefore, the current Sawtooth wreaking havoc upon the town is actually Jim, who never got to leave the town and got turned into a nightmarish creature.

Why Does Sawtooth Jack Terrorize The Town?

After the alarming revelation about Sawtooth Jack, the pieces fall into place, pointing toward the obvious culprit behind the terrifying conspiracy: The Harvest’s Guild. Even though the organization’s motives aren’t revealed, their involvement in creating Sawtooth remains evident. Richie and Jim’s father, Dan, prove the same by confessing that the Guild told him and his wife everything about Jim’s inevitable fate after his big win.

For the same reason, the parents were against Richie’s involvement in the Run. Furthermore, the knowledge of what happened to their first son keeps them drowned in guilt, leading to their skittish behavior whenever he is brought up in conversation. It also explains what drove Richie’s mother to suicide after her son figured out the truth about Jim.

Additionally, the Guild’s involvement with Sawtooth’s creation also provides a motive for the creature’s targeted hatred toward the town. Each year, Sawtooth is actually a young man whom the town once compelled to fight for them with fake promises, only to turn him into a monster. Therefore, once they rise from their grave— in their new form following a brief crucifixion, every Sawtooth generation yearns to lay waste to their former town.

Nevertheless, this year, Richie has finally discovered the real truth behind the menacing tradition. As such, he decides to end the madness, prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure the town doesn’t make another Sawtooth Jack. Even so, the town’s mob, made of hungry young men and one vengeful police officer, stands in Richie’s way, preventing him from protecting his brother.

Toward the end, after a showdown outside the Church, Ricks pushes the town bully to shoot Sawtooth. Yet, Richie prevents the boy from finishing the job, perhaps hoping to still salvage his brother’s sole. Still, his efforts are in vain, as Jim— beyond transformed from the boy he used to be— urges his younger brother to end his monstrous life. Consequently, Richie ends up shooting Sawtooth Jack in the head, killing his brother and securing a doomed victory in one fell swoop.

Does Richie Become Jack Sawtooth?

Even though Richie knows the truth about the town’s villainous conspiracy, he realizes he can’t outright fight the powerful Guild. Therefore, his best plan of action remains an escape from the town with Kelly by his side. Once Kelly and Richie learn the truth about their town, neither wishes to reside within it any longer. Moreover, if Richie manages to run away, it would rob the Guild of next year’s Sawtooth, which might help the town uncover the reality behind the legend.

Consequently, Richie plays along with Officer Ricks and the Guild’s fanfare, allowing himself to be corralled to the annual dance as the Run winner. Meanwhile, he covertly plans to drive away with Kelly past the town’s border once he receives his ceremonial Corvette. While the teens successfully drive away, Ricks catches on to their plans, leading to a chase.

Thus, Richie realizes Ricks won’t stop looking for Kelly as long as the young man is with her. For the same reason, he decides to confront Ricks with the hopes of subjugating him while also informing Kelly to drive away without him if he fails to return. As such, while Kelly waits for the boy, Richie ventures into the cornfields with Ricks.

Since Sawtooth emerges from these fields, sacrifices are made within the same field. Even though Richie manages to get the drop on Ricks and almost win his freedom, a strange farmer appears and delivers a fatal blow to Richie’s head, burying him in his prepared grave.

Afterward, as the town prepares for Halloween a year after Richie’s death, the elusive farmer who killed him digs him out of his grave to tie his body on a cross as the next Sawtooth Jack. The farmer has been preparing winners’ transformed Sawtooth corpses for years now and does the same to Richie’s dead body, fixing a pumpkin over his head and filling his insides with candy. However, once the ritual is complete, Dan, who lost his entire family to the Guild’s monstrous conspiracy, attacks the farmer, stabbing him to death.

In the end, Dan frees Richie from the cross days before Sawtooth’s anticipated return to the town. The man holds a grudge against the town and wants to give his son the satisfaction of destroying the place that has taken so many innocent lives. Therefore, Dan frees Richie, who is now Sawtooth Jack, to burn down the small town.

Read More: Is Dark Harvest Based on a True Story?