The movie opens on a battered young woman running through the snow barefoot at night. Clearly in a lot of pain, she stumbles on. We cut to the much longer introduction of Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a tracker and hunter for Fish and Wildlife. We're introduced to his job and his family before he finds the girl frozen in the snow - someone he knows. This brings inexperienced FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) to the Wind River Indian Reservation to investigate. She gets assistance from Cory, who has plenty of his own reasons to help.
I loved the first half of the movie: a dark character-driven mystery, very well written. Not as thrilled with the second half: the big shootout and revenge set piece fit with what's happened in the story, but I preferred the more thoughtful first half. The man who wrote and directed, Taylor Sheridan, has made it clear in interviews - and with closing title cards - that the movie is all about how shit life on the reservation is, particularly for women. I'm not disagreeing, but I do get a bit pissed off at movies that deliver messages so blatantly. It's well acted and well written, but I found it a bit frustrating.