In 1847, the United States was a land of pioneers, of gold-starved Americans making their way west. It was a period of Manifest Destiny, the inevitability of the country extending its boundaries, stretching out its arms and consuming all the land it could.Miscellaneous info ->
Captain John Boyd (Guy Pearce) has become both a "hero" and a victim during this period of relentless consumption ... in ways he could never have imagined. Boydís journey to hell begins when an act of cowardice during a horrific Mexican-American War battle earns him banishment to a desolate military outpost, a waystation for western travelers in the barren and icy Sierra Nevada mountains in California.
Upon his arrival he is greeted by a small, motley group of soldiers, including his commanding officer, Hart (Jeffrey Jones), a man who has pretty much given up on life; Toffler (Jeremy Davies), the fortís personal emissary to the Lord; Knox (Stephen Spinella), the "doctor" who never met a bottle of whiskey he didnít like; Reich (Neal McDonough), the no-nonsense soldier of the group; and the over-medicated Cleaves (David Arquette), a cook whose meals are inspired more by peyote than culinary ambitions.
Into this cold, bleak and bizarre world staggers a stranger, Colqhoun (Robert Carlyle), a half-starved Scot who had been traveling with a group of settlers until they became snowbound. Seeking refuge in a cave, they soon ran out of food ó and were forced to consume one another. Colqhoun barely escaped becoming an hors díoeuvre himself.
Colqhounís tale has ramifications beyond cannibalism and the will to survive. It involves an old Indian myth called Weendigo, which states that a man who eats the flesh of another steals that personís strength, spirit and very essence. His hunger becomes an insatiable craving: the more he eats, the more he wants, and the stronger he becomes. There can never be enough, and death is the only escape.
Boyd and the others soon get up close and personal with the Weendigo legend after discovering that Colqhoun holds an incredible secret, one that eventually will present Boyd with the ultimate carnivorous conundrum: whether to eat dinner or be dinner. Itís feast or famine for this beleaguered soldier: will he die a lonely heroís deathÖor become a cannibalistic abomination ó happy, strong and glowing with health?