Wind River

During the winter on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, expert tracker and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent Cory Lambert discovers the frozen body of 18-year-old Natalie Hanson in the snow. Her body is barefoot, without proper winter attire, miles from any building, and has a blood-stained forehead and groin. FBI Special Agent Jane Banner arrives to investigate a possible homicide, because the FBI has jurisdiction over murder cases on reservations. The next day, Banner learns from Natalie’s father, Martin, that his daughter was dating a new boyfriend, but he does not know the man’s name or where he lives. The autopsy shows blunt trauma and sexual violence and confirms Lambert’s deduction that the girl died from exposure. She suffered pulmonary hemorrhage caused by rapid inhalation of sub-zero air. However, the medical examiner is unable to confirm the death as a homicide, and Agent Banner cannot get additional help from FBI investigators.

Lambert discovers that Natalie’s “new boyfriend” was Matt Rayburn, who works security at a nearby oil drilling site. The next day, Matt’s body is discovered, nude and already ravaged by scavenging wildlife. Lambert tells Agent Banner about his own daughter’s death three years earlier. Her body was discovered in the snow, following a party at their house while he and his wife were away. No one was charged in her death.

Banner, accompanied by Tribal Police Chief Ben Shoyo and two county police officers, visit the drill site where they are met by several of the company’s security guards. They claim that Matt had stormed off a few days ago, following an argument with Natalie, and has not been seen since. One guard mentions that they heard about Natalie’s body being found by monitoring law enforcement radio channels. Agent Banner notes that the victim’s name had not been released. One of the police officers notices that the security guards are slowly surrounding Agent Banner and her team. The confrontation quickly escalates into an armed standoff as they argue over who has jurisdiction. Agent Banner defuses the situation by asserting FBI authority. She asks to see where Matt was bunking, and they resume their approach to the trailer.

A flashback shows Natalie in bed with Matt in his trailer, in what seems like a loving relationship. Unexpectedly, Matt’s security colleagues barge into the trailer after a night of hard drinking. Pete, Matt’s roommate, taunts them and tries to sexually assault Natalie, which provokes Matt to violence. The other guards retaliate by beating Matt down while Pete rapes Natalie. Matt’s attempt to fight back gives Natalie an opportunity to escape, while the group bludgeon their co-worker to death.

Back in the present, Lambert has retraced the tracks from where Matt’s corpse was found back to the drilling camp. Meanwhile, Agent Banner and the three police men approach the security crew’s sleeping quarters. Lambert, looking down at the group from a distance, radios a warning to Police Chief Shoyo. But Agent Banner is wounded in the chest by a shotgun blast fired through the door by Pete. An all-out firefight ensues at point-blank range. Chief Shoyo and the other two officers are killed. Just as the surviving security guards prepare to execute Agent Banner, Lambert kills four with his high caliber rifle. Pete, also wounded, flees on foot. Lambert catches him and, at gunpoint, takes the guard up to the foot of Gannett Peak. After forcing his confession related to Natalie and Matt, Lambert offers him the same chance as Natalie had: he can run barefoot to a distant road wearing only light-weight clothing, rather than being shot. Pete runs but quickly succumbs as his lungs give out from the frigid air, suffering a pulmonary hemorrhage.

When Lambert visits Banner in the hospital, he praises her toughness. He later visits Martin, Natalie’s bereaved father, and finds him sitting outside his house wearing his “death face” paint and holding a handgun. Lambert tells Martin that the case is closed and that the man responsible for Natalie’s death went out, “with a whimper.” They share grief over their daughters’ deaths. A title card follows this scene, stating that missing-persons statistics are kept for every demographic group except for Native American women, whose numbers remain unknown.