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"Meek's Cut-Off" -- go and see it!

I went to "Meek's Cut-off" because I wanted to feast my eyes upon central Oregon, where the story takes place.  I knew it was loosely based upon a true piece of history:  a small group of wagon train pioneers who followed Steven Meek (older brother of better-known early Oregon leader Joseph Meek) on a "short cut" to the Columbia River.   The group became lost and very nearly perished in the high desert.

I referred to the movie in a recent sermon. (May 22, "Detour to Disaster?")  However, at that time I had to restrain myself (such discipline required of a preacher!) about listing all the ways in which I saw the Native American in that film as a Christ figure.  

The movie tells how the pioneers came to capture a local Indian.  They argue about whether to kill him (Steven Meek all but cries, "Crucify Him") but in the end they wisely conclude the Indian is the only one who might help them find water.  (Get it?  That water is, for them, Life.)

No one knows this Indian's name ("Who do people say that I am?") and he is almost always silent (see the New Testament accounts of Jesus before Pilate).  The film shows the pioneers quietly discussing their sense of his leadership.  In the end, they both trust him and doubt him.  (Sound familiar?) 

They actually decide several times whether to continue following him or not. (That rings true.)  By the end of the film, even the hapless Steven Meek who had argued for killing the Indian becomes (like Paul in the New Testament?) a follower, too.  

The Indian has a visible scar as an identifying mark (hmmm).  Although the film ends before the pioneers reach the "promised land" we as viewers see the Indian walking off into the horizon.  At least for this viewer there was the strong sense, "They are crazy if they don't follow him."   

Go to see "Meek's Cut-Off" if you like Oregon high desert scenery, or unforgettable acting, or historical insight, or just to see if there are other Biblical allusions that I've missed.  I think you'll be glad you did.

Pastor Diane 


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