River Wild Ending, Explained: Does Trevor Die?

Directed by Ben Ketai, ‘River Wild’ is a survival thriller film starring Leighton Meester, Adam Brody, and Taran Killam. The film follows Joey and Gray Reese, siblings with a close but fraught relationship. When Joey accompanies Gray for a white water rafting trip with two strangers, Van and Karissa, Gray’s old childhood friend and business partner, Trevor, joins the group, much to Joey’s chagrin.

During the group’s overnight camping trip, Trevor plays a hand in fatally wounding Van, which unfolds a series of dangerous events. As he holds the Reeses, Karissa, and a dying Van hostage, forcing them to traverse unsafe waters, the former must find a way to beat him and escape with their lives. If you’re curious to see how this adverse adventure ends for the main characters, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘River Wild.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

River Wild Plot Synopsis

Joey, a medical professional, drives out to undertake a rafting trip with her brother, Gray, and two of his new tourist customers, Van and Karissa. Upon arriving at the location, Joey learns that Gray’s best friend, Trevor, has also decided to join them on the trip to catch up with Joey, even though it’s his day off. Although Joey is less than pleased about the addition, she doesn’t show it and prepares for the journey. Out in the river, the group enjoy their time together in nature before arriving at a shore where they make camp for the night.

At first, everything runs smoothly, with everyone sitting around a campfire, sharing stories and joking around. As the night settles in, Joey retires to her tent shortly before Van leaves for the woods to relieve herself. Trevor follows after Van for the same but soon returns screaming for help. When the group ventures to check on Van, Joey realizes that the young woman has a severe skull fracture from falling down on a jagged rock.

Trevor claims that Van simply slipped on the forest floor. Inversely, Van tells Joey that Trevor grabbed her, which resulted in the accident. After realizing their satellite phones are dead, the group decides to brave the waters at night, traveling to the nearest ranger station and getting help for Van. On the way, after a particularly harsh rapid, the group’s raft flips over, with everyone going overboard into the water. Although Gray manages to pull Van to the shore away from the currents, the fall leaves her in worse condition.

Afterward, once everyone is safe, Joey tells Gray what Van told her about Trevor and shares her suspicion that Trevor flipped the raft on purpose since he doesn’t want Van to survive. Nonetheless, Gray refuses to believe Trevor would do something like that and ignores Joey’s concern. The next morning, the group arrives at another shore, and Gray leaves with Trevor to get help from the Ranger.

However, Trevor begins to argue against calling for help at the station, not wanting to get in trouble for Van’s injuries. The situation escalates, leading to Trevor stabbing the Ranger, Walt. As the Ranger dies, Trevor realizes he has a big problem on his hands and arms himself with Walt’s gun. Gray tries to talk some sense into Trevor, which proves to be difficult. Eventually, Gray ends up helping Trevor blow up Walt’s car and body to make his death look like an accident.

Following this, Trevor and Gray return to the raft, where Trevor holds the girls hostage and forces them to paddle along the river so that he can flee to Canada through the non-patrolled river split. During their journey, Van dies due to a lack of medical help, and the group has to dig a grave for her in the middle of a forest. Similarly, when a traveler tries to help Joey and the others at night, Trevor catches him and shoots him dead as well.

With three murders under his belt now, Trevor becomes more dangerous, desperate to flee from the country. However, when the group returns to the water, Karissa covertly punctures the raft with a pocket knife. As a result, the group has to stop by a shore to fix the raft. Under the guise of searching for the patch kit, Gray pulls out a bear mace and attacks Trevor, giving Joey and Karissa the opportunity to escape.

River Wild Ending: Does Trevor Die?

Joey, Gray, and Trevor used to be friends as kids who always had an interest in rafting. After growing up, Gray gets in trouble with the law after he starts dealing drugs. When the cops catch up to it, Trevor decides to take the fall for Gray to ensure that the latter lives a better life. As such, Gray feels a sense of debt to Trevor and constantly supports him regardless of what he learns from Joey.

Due to the same, Joey believes her brother will always pick Trevor over her. Moreover, when she was fifteen, Trevor sexually assaulted her, but her brother did nothing about it, claiming he thought Joey liked Trevor even though she was a minor. The incident strained Joey’s relationship with Gray, and her current predicament reminds her of the same. Therefore, when Gray finally stands up to Trevor, it marks a moment of growth for his character.

While Gray and Trevor fight, Joey and Karissa flee into the woods. However, after hearing a gunshot, Joey realizes her brother is hurt and decides to return for him while encouraging Karissa to run away. Although Trevor comes after Joey, he loses her trail after she jumps down a cliff into the river. Since Trevor is afraid of heights, he’s unable to follow and has to take the long route back.

By then, Joey finds Gray, who survived despite getting shot in the stomach and escapes into the river with the raft. Nevertheless, Trevor acquires a kayak after killing a couple of travelers. While Trevor follows after the duo, an injured Gray guides Joey into paddling through the dangerous route, dubbed “The Beast.” Still, Joey is unable to master the waters, and the pair ends up falling overboard.

Fighting against the current, Joey gets herself ashore and pulls Gray up in time to save him from a steep cliff. Still, Trevor catches up to them and stabs Joey in the back, leaving her static and unable to fend for herself. Throughout the film, Trevor keeps dropping dead body after dead body to cover up for his initial crime. Since the man has spent years in prison, he doesn’t wish to return. As such, his solution is to it is to ensure no witnesses are left behind.

Consequently, in the end, Trevor straddles an immobile Joey, trying to run her through his knife. Nonetheless, at the last moment, Gray finds his strength and pulls Trevor off his sister. Locking him in a hold, Gray drags himself and Trevor over the shore and into the river current. The rapids carry the men down the cliff, and they fall atop rocks that seal their fate. Ultimately, Gray sacrifices himself and kills Trevor to ensure his sister’s safety.

Does Joey Survive?

Trevor’s death marks the end of the tormenting rafting trip. Still, the danger isn’t yet over for Joey. Even though Gray intervened in time to prevent Trevor from hurting Joey any further, she still sustained a brutal injury. Trevor stabs Joey in the back near her spine. As a result, her movement is limited, preventing her from escaping the remote riverside woodland either through the raft or on foot.

Still, as Joey lies unmoving on the forest floor, she hears the faint sound of a chopper flying overhead. After Karissa manages to escape Trevor, she leaves to find help. As such, Karissa, alongside a Park Ranger, circles above the river with hopes of finding Joey and the others. However, Joey is hidden underneath the thick forest foliage preventing the rescue team from spotting her.

Realizing the same, Joey decides to fight for her life, fixing herself as best as she can. By inflicting a severe wound on her collarbone, Joey regains the ability to move again and stumbles out near the shoreline, signaling the chopper. Karissa spots Joey, and the rangers take her on board, providing her with the necessary medical attention to keep her alive.

Joey makes it out of the experience alive alongside Karissa. Trevor’s death likely brings some sort of closure for Joey since her old abuser is gone now. Nevertheless, the loss of her brother will cause major trauma for Joey, as will Van’s death for Karissa. Even though the pair escapes with their lives, the trip’s traumatic events will stay with them for a long time.

Read More: Is River Wild Based on a True Story?