Does Lowell Die in Rust Creek? [Spoiler]

Jen McGowan’s crime thriller film ‘Rust Creek’ ends with Lowell trying to protect Sawyer from his cousins, Buck and Hollister. Realizing that the two drug dealers will take her away from him, he asks her to use the anhydrous ammonia to cause an explosion to create a diversion. However, he fails to expect Sheriff O’Doyle, who arrives at his house to kill Sawyer and end the state police officers’ search for her. Before pursuing the “missing” girl, the sheriff does “take care” of Lowell with his gun. Still, the movie ends without confirming whether the methamphetamine cook is dead without a doubt! SPOILERS AHEAD.

Lowell’s Fate: Between Death and Survival

After paving the way for Sawyer to run away from Buck and Hollister, Lowell confronts not only the latter but also the cousins’ boss, Sheriff O’Doyle. As Sawyer runs towards Bishop’s Road, she hears two gunshots. After O’Doyle fires his gun twice, he talks to Hollister, indicating that both shots are aimed at Lowell. It is highly unlikely that Lowell will be able to survive two gunshots suffered at point-blank range. O’Doyle is a seasoned lawman who knows how to shoot his target. Considering his experience, he is not expected to miss Lowell when he wants the latter dead.

Even though O’Doyle is rattled and desperate to cover up his drug dealings with the three brothers/cousins, he may not have made a basic mistake regarding shooting down someone at point blank. Director Jen McGowan must have chosen to hide Lowell’s explicit death to leave the viewers with a ray of hope concerning his fate. Lowell is the only exception when the people around Sawyer have been severely merciless towards her. He puts his life on the line to do the right thing, without even knowing whom he is helping. Due to the character’s righteousness and sacrificial mentality, the filmmaker must have chosen to give him another chance at life in the viewers’ minds.

‘Rust Creek’ concludes with Sawyer appearing before the state police officers who have begun searching for her. They may learn about what happened to Lowell from her and rush to the meth cook’s trailer to confirm whether he is alive or dead. Even though realistically nearly impossible, the officers are expected to take him to a nearby hospital and save him if he is fighting to stay alive with his last breath. Still, considering the long confrontation between Sawyer and O’Doyle at Rust Creek, the former and the officers who find her may have run out of time to save Lowell from death.

McGowan made the crime thriller as a film about hope and survival. Sawyer’s battle against three homicidal criminals and the chilling cold in the Kentucky woods to survive in the unfamiliar region ends with her escape from the people who have been hunting her down. As the movie concludes with reaffirming notions of hope, McGowan may not have wanted to make the climax severely bleak or gloomy by explicitly showing Lowell’s death. Since his death is an integral part of the film’s narrative, the director seemingly chose to depict it as subtle as she could.

The crime thriller takes place in a highly hostile setting where most people are considerably selfish and ruthless. O’Doyle, Buck, and Hollister shoot down individuals without showing any compassion or mercy. By juxtaposing them with Lowell’s sacrifice, the movie reaffirms that humanity hasn’t transformed into evil entirely. The meth cook’s death makes it clear that we can still expect a helping hand in time of need as there will be people who will courageously face even death to do the right thing.

Read More: Is Rust Creek (2018) a True Story?