The Mustang Ending, Explained: What Happens to Marquis?

The Mustang‘ is a 2019 drama movie co-written and directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre. The film tells the story of Roman Coleman, a prisoner with temper issues who is assigned to participate in an experimental rehabilitation program designed around training horses. Roman bonds with a wild and seemingly untamable Mustang named Marquis. Through his bond with the horse, Roman embarks on a journey of healing old wounds and rekindling his bond with his daughter. Ultimately, the film’s ending raises questions about Roman’s bond with his beloved horse. SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Mustang Plot Synopsis

‘The Mustang’ opens with helicopters gathering a bunch of wild Mustangs to find homes and stop the animals’ overpopulation in the Nevada wilderness. Meanwhile, Roman Coleman is a convict serving prison time for a heinous crime he committed twelve years ago. He has recently been transferred to a correctional facility in Nevada, where a therapist is trying to help him with a rehabilitation program. However, Roman feels incapable of controlling his rage in the presence of others and has resisted rehabilitation for several years, believing he is unworthy of living in the outside world.

Roman’s therapist assigns him to the outdoor maintenance program, where he helps with the day-to-day maintenance of the facility. While working outdoors, Roman interacts with a wild Mustang. As a result, he is placed in the Wild Horse Inmate Program run by Myles, a strict veteran rancher skilled in training wild horses. Initially, Roman struggles to communicate with his horse partner. However, he receives help from Henry, the program’s top horse trainer. Henry explains that the horses trained in the 12-week program will be auctioned. The money from the auction will be used to support other wild horses and their rehabilitation in the outside world.

Meanwhile, Roman’s estranged teenage daughter, Martha, visits him in prison, seeking his signature on some papers. Martha is pregnant and planning to move to the East with her boyfriend. When Martha returns to take Roman’s initials on the documents, he realizes she is trying to sell the house left behind by his mother. As a result, Roman is enraged and yells at Martha when the latter blames his absence for her dire financial condition. Roman carries his anger to horse training and repeatedly hits his horse when it refuses to listen to him.

Roman is removed from the horse training program and placed in solitary confinement because of his anger. However, when a thunderstorm threatens the horses and their safety, Roman is called in to help and redeems himself. Consequently, Roman returns to the training program and starts bonding with his horse, naming it Marquis. Meanwhile, Roman’s cellmate Dan threatens to hurt Martha if Roman does not steal ketamine from the horse stable from him. Henry, who is also stealing the ketamine, is killed by Dan, leading to Roman strangling Dan until he is unconscious.

Later, Roman continues therapy and works on controlling his rage while training Marquis. Roman finds peace in Marquis’ company and musters the courage to apologize to Martha when she visits him. Roman reveals that he accidentally hit Martha’s mother when she flushed his drugs. The injury left her brain dead, and young Martha was forced to look after her sick mother while Roman was incarcerated. Roman’s apology moves Martha, but she deems it incapable of mending their relationship. Roman invites her to the horse wrangling event, followed by the auction, hoping to show her his progress.

The Mustang Ending: What Happens to Marquis?

On auction day, Roman demonstrates Marquis in front of the potential buyers. However, Roman gets distracted after not seeing his daughter, Martha, in the stands. As a result, Roman loses control of Marquis, who is startled by a helicopter and nearly tramples Roman. As a result, Marquis is deemed untrainable. Later, Myles explains to Roman that Marquis will be euthanized. Roman is determined to save Marquis and takes advantage of the fences damaged by the thunderstorm, breaking them to free Marquis from the correctional facility. In the final moments, Roman finishes reading a letter from Martha and looks outside the window to see Marquis return to him.

The film’s story is defined as the bond between Roman and Marquis. Marquis serves as a metaphor for Roman’s own journey, as both are considered incapable of interacting with the outside world and have untamable rage. However, by helping Marquis escape, Roman gives the animal a chance at surviving. Marquis’ return in the final scene denotes that he survived and returned to his trainer, implying there is still hope for Roman. Throughout the movie, Roman resists rehabilitation as he fears hurting others because of his anger issues.

Roman cannot fit himself in the confines of law, order, and system of the outside world, much like Marquis rejects the horse training program. However, his bond with the Marquis encourages Roman to seek redemption. Ultimately, seeing Marquis escape a grim fate because of him might encourage Roman to accept help from those around him and consider rehabilitation. Thus, the movie ends on a heartfelt note, as Marquis is still alive and will likely continue inspiring Roman to become a better person.

Do Roman and Martha Reconcile?

In the film, Roman is estranged from his daughter, as she was very young when he was incarcerated. Moreover, Martha faces a lot of hardships because of her father’s imprisonment. However, it seems like Martha and Roman are finally heading towards rekindling the bond of a father and daughter when Roman apologizes to Martha. The moment not only empowers Roman but also helps Martha see the tender side of her father. Roman is much more than simply Martha’s father. He is a man struggling to reconcile with himself and his past mistakes. However, Roman is slowly healing these wounds through his bond with Marquis. Thus, Martha attending the event means a lot to him. In the end, Martha does not attend the event but writes a heartfelt letter to Roman.

Through the letter, Martha tells Roman how she would write to his parole officers to free her father, only to learn that he did not want to be released. Hence, Martha grew up feeling her father did not care about her. However, more recently, she has started seeing Roman make an effort to improve their relationship. While it isn’t explicitly stated why Martha did not attend the event, she was likely in labor then. Martha ends the letter with a photograph of her son, Martin, promising to bring the baby to see his grandfather on her next visit. Thus, the film’s ending heavily implies that Martha is ready to forgive Roman for his past shortcomings, and the father and daughter are on the verge of reconciliation, adding to the film’s redemptive themes and hopeful ending.

Read More: Where Was The Mustang (2019) Filmed?