Exceptional. Meek\'s Cutoff is a casting masterpiece. Michelle Williams gives an awesome performance as usual, but Bruce Greenwood steals the show. Greenwood gives an Oscar-worthy performance playing Stephen Meek, a know-it-all, heavily bearded man, who is contracted to lead three families out to the new west. As smart as Meek claims to be, the families soon lose confidence with his navigational skills when they can\'t find water in the scorching desert. To add to the frustration, the group comes across an Indian who appears to be scouting them on horseback. Disagreements and tension run high as Meek wants to kill the man immediately when they capture him due to his past experiences with Indians. The rest of the group doesn\'t feel this way, and they decide the Indian knows the area much better then they do, and that he is their best shot at finding water quickly. As the Indian begins to draw on rocks and leave stones behind him on the trail, the group becomes more suspicious and frightened that the Indian might be signaling to his tribe. Since the Indian doesn\'t speak english, the viewer is caught in a predicament to believe whether he means good or harm to the vulnerable group. The movie does start out a little slow like many westerns, but unlike many westerns, the viewer gets what appears to be a very authentic and realistic view of what the old west was like in 1845. This combined with Meek\'s compelling dialogue and personality allows the viewer to get through the first 20 minutes or so without losing interest. The rating of 4/5 was a little generous, as the movie deserved more of a 3.5 rating then 4.0 rating, but certainly exceeded a 3.0. This is the reason for the 4 star rating. The ending, unfortunately, was the weakest part of the movie, and left me a little upset that such a masterpiece had to end that poorly. It\'s understandable why the writer did this, but it could have gone much better (personal preference). The rest of the movie was so good that a 4.5 or 5.0 rating would be worthy otherwise. Very well done and worth the time.