The Devil to Pay Ending, Explained: Is Tarlee Dead?

‘The Devil to Pay’ is a thriller film written and directed by Ruckus and Lane Skye. Set in the vast wilderness of the Appalachian Mountains, the movie revolves around the conflicts faced by Lemon, a married woman who is roped in to repay her husband’s death following his disappearance. When her son’s life hangs in the balance, Lemon is forced to navigate the complex and tense land conflicts in the small community while searching for a way to save her son. The fast-paced and slick thriller has plenty of action and shocking moments of violence that invest viewers in Lemon’s story. If you are looking for answers about the story’s conclusion, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘The Devil to Pay.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Devil to Pay Plot Synopsis

‘The Devil to Pay’ opens at a small house on an Appalachian mountain where Lemon Cassidy lives with her son, Coy. Her husband, Tarlee, works for a local landlady Tommy Runion. However, Tarlee is missing for a few days, and Lemon assumes he has gone on one of his benders. As a result, she and Coy are left alone to do the house chores. One day, two men who work for Tommy arrive at Lemon’s house. The men reveal that Tommy wants to meet with Lemon. However, they do not allow her to take Coy along. Instead, the men remain at Lemon’s house, watching over Coy.

Lemon walks to Tommy’s house and meets the Runion family matriarch. Tommy explains to Lemon that Tarlee was caught stealing from her. However, Tommy gave Tarlee a chance to repay his debt. She asked him to perform a task for her in exchange for writing off the debt. Nonetheless, Tarlee has gone missing, and Tommy assumes he fled with her money. Therefore, she takes Coy hostage and forces Lemon to complete the task. Lemon has no choice but to work for Tommy as her son’s life is in danger.

Lemon sets out to search for Tarlee. However, she first stops at Grady’s house. He asks her to deliver a jar of sulfuric acid to a religious cult that lives on the outskirts. After providing the jar, Lemon realizes that the cult uses it for torture. Later, Lemon tracks down Tarlee’s truck and discovers that his hands were chopped off. She finds a pocket watch in the glove compartment belonging to Peter Knox, Tommy’s rival landowner. Lemon collects the pocket watch and hands it over to Tommy. However, she reveals that Tarlee is likely dead from bleeding out.

Tommy explains that Tarlee stole the wrong watch and sends Lemon to Peter’s house with Bull, her brother. Lemon tries to forge an alliance at Peter’s house by revealing Tommy’s plan. Peter reveals that his and Tommy’s family have been in a truce for years, and killing a member could lead to a war. However, recently Peter took down a tree planted by Tommy’s grandfather after it was struck by lightning, leading to her seeking revenge. Bull intervenes and kills Peter and prepares to blame his death on Lemon. With no help and a target on her back, Lemon must find a way to survive and save her son, forming the rest of the plot.

The Devil to Pay Ending: Does Lemon Save Coy?

After realizing she has been tricked into doing Tommy’s dirty bidding, Lemon makes a run for her life. She creates a distraction and escapes from Bull. However, Lemon knows that the Runions will keep coming after her. Therefore, she lures Bull away from the town and takes him to the cult’s land. The religious cult follows a strict no-weapons policy. As a result, when Bull follows Lemon to the cult’s land, he is apprehended. The cult’s leader punishes Bull for his arrogance and kills him using sulfuric acid.

With Bull dead, Lemon returns home to rescue Coy. Lemon strategically targets the women looking after Coy. She uses Bull’s truck to lure Wade outside the house. Lemon attacks him with a crowbar. When Wade refuses to stand down, Lemon brutally kills him by smashing his skull. The last remaining member of the Runion gang, Dixon, tries to threaten Lemon. However, she retrieves a gun and forces him to stand down. She asks him to tell Tommy that their deal is over.

If Tommy comes after Coy again, Lemon threatens to raise a Query that could jeopardize Tommy’s business. However, Dixon’s words convince Lemon that her actions will lead to war. Lemon realizes that Tommy will not spare her. Therefore, she kills Dixon and heads to confront Tommy. At that house, Tommy tries to talk Lemon out of harming her. However, Lemon shoots Tommy dead. With all the threats negated, Lemon reunites with her son in a heartwarming moment.

Ultimately, Lemon succeeds in protecting her son despite being double-crossed by Tommy. Moreover, Lemon cleverly takes out her enemies and makes the deaths look like a result of a war between the Knox and the Runion factions. Hence, Lemon proves that when her child’s life is in danger, a mother can be a force to be reckoned with.

Lemon’s actions echo the moral of the story she tells Coy earlier in the film, where a person must do anything necessary to survive as the crooked and evil world will always try to destroy them. Thus, Lemon’s story comes full circle as she goes from being a homemaker to a force of fury when her son’s life is threatened. The film ends with Lemon using the money she took from Tommy’s house to start a new life. Lemon and Coy drive away into the sunset, leaving the carnage behind.

Is Tarlee Dead? Where Is His Body?

In the film, Tarlee is mainly missing from all the action as he is believed to have absconded. However, Lemon knows that her husband would not leave her and their son to fend for themselves. Later, she learns the truth about Tommy’s deal with Tarlee. Although Lemon does not believe that Tarlee stole money, she suspects that Tommy set him up. Nonetheless, she decides to complete the task assigned to him in order to track Tarlee down.

Eventually, Lemon discovers Tarlee’s truck and, based on the gory scene, deduces that he ended up in a scuffle with Peter Knox. Lemon finds Tarlee’s fingers chopped off in the truck. Therefore, she is forced to confront the possibility that her husband is dead. However, since Tarlee’s death happens off-screen, it is easy for Lemon and the viewers to hope for his survival. However, Lemon exclaims that the nearest hospital from the site of Tarlee’s truck is 38 miles away. Hence, it is likely that Tarlee bled out and died before he reached the hospital.

In the film’s final moments, Lemon visits Grady, revealing she is leaving to make a life down the mountain. Grady tells Lemon that a dead body was discovered fifteen miles from the mountaintop. Lemon is overwhelmed to learn that Tarlee tried his best to reunite with his family. Nonetheless, Grady confirms that Tarlee is dead and his body has been found. The information allows Lemon to move on from the tragic events that destroy her family in just a couple of days.

Read More: Where Was The Devil To Pay (2019) Filmed?