The Burrowers

  • Directors: JT Petty
  • Producers: Peter Block, Alex Franklin, Robert Hall, Lauren Kisilevsky, William Sherak, Jason Shuman, Alton Walpole
  • Writers: JT Petty
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller, Western
  • Actors: Clancy Brown, William Mapother, Laura Leighton, Sean Patrick Thomas, Robert Ri chard

When a family of Dakota Territory pioneers is violently abducted and a posse is assembled to venture into the badlands and rescue them, the frightening truth they discover in the hills leads them to believe man may not be the only hunter stalking the Old West. The year is 1879, and beyond the fringes of civilization a handful of courageous pioneers maintain settlements while exploring the unknown territories. One night, under the shimmering Western stars, a family from one of these settlements is brutally dragged into darkness by a group of unknown invaders. At first the kidnappers are thought to be hostile Native Americans, and a posse forms to bring the family back home safely. Venturing out into the unmapped territories is an Irish immigrant desperate to find his lost love, a naïve teen eager to prove his worth, a former slave seeking his fortune after gaining his freedom, and a hardened pair of battle-weary Indian fighters. But nature’s wrath and the tomahawks of hostile tribes aren’t the only threats that this group will be forced to contend with, because as the bodies begin to multiply and the truth about the abductors gradually emerges, these rescuers will find out that there are forces in this world that can’t be described in human terms — and that seem to have motivations beyond our comprehension.

A species, called “Burrowers” by the Natives, used to subsist on buffalo. When white settlers depleted the Buffalo the species began to survive on human meat – first hunting nearby Indians and later the settlers. One tribe in particular, the Ute, have experience in combating the hunter-species. The “Burrowers” first lace their victims by cutting them and drugging them with a toxin. The victim is then buried alive and eaten only after decomposition has begun. By the time the film’s protagonists meet up with the Ute their number is severely depleted, but the Ute method of drugging someone already infected with “Burrower” toxin proves effective. When the “Burrowers” go to eat the twice drugged victim they themselves fall asleep and are vulnerable, especially to the rays of the sun. However, the surviving member of the posse, the Irishman Coffey, is unable to discover exactly what the Ute used to drug the “Burrowers”. The film ends with the suggestion that the “Burrower” attacks will continue. In addition to the environmental message about changing ecosystems the film assesses prevailing attitudes towards Blacks and Natives amongst the settlers in the West, with especial focus on the brutality of the US cavalry.

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