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The Last Manhunt - Everything You Need To Know

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With its open frontiers, epic adventures, and a healthy heaping of violence and lawlessness, it's no wonder the Western is one of the most enduring and popular genres in all of cinema. And now, Jason Momoa has tossed his Stetson into the Western arena with "The Last Manhunt," a film that's both a thriller and a love story and one that looks at the Old West through a fresh perspective.

Based on the true story that has its roots in oral history passed down amongst the Chemehuevi Native American tribe, "The Last Manhunt" was released on November 18, 2022. It tells the story of Willie Boy, a Paiute-Chemehuevi outlaw on the run from the law, along with his love, Carlota. Drawing comparisons to the likes of "Romeo and Juliet," the film marries epic tragedy with the grit and gunfights of spaghetti Westerns. If you want to know more about this 2022 film, read on for everything you need to know about "The Last Manhunt."

What is the plot of The Last Manhunt?

The plot of "The Last Manhunt" is based on the real-life story of a Chemehuevi-Paiute man named Willie Boy (who, incidentally, was also the inspiration for the 1969 Western "Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here," starring Robert Redford). The film tells the story of star-crossed lovers Willie Boy and Carlota — they long to be together but Carlota's father doesn't approve. During a confrontation that goes very wrong, Willie Boy accidentally shoots and kills Carlota's dad, causing the 19th-century Bonnie and Clyde to go on the run. 

As a result, a posse is formed to hunt down the couple, including an alcoholic sheriff, a manipulative reporter, and a Native American lawman. Some want to bring Willie Boy back alive, while others want him dead, leading to the titular "last manhunt" and a tragic Western showdown. Bill Bromiley — the president of Saban Films, the company that released the film — told Variety that the movie is "a story about misrepresented culture" and asserted that "The Last Manhunt" tells the "true story of Willie Boy" for the first time.

Who is in the cast of The Last Manhunt?

At the top of the cast of "The Last Manhunt" (which is primarily made up of Alaska Native and Native American actors) are Martin Sensmeier and Mainei Kinimaka, who respectively play the lead roles of Willie Boy and his love interest, Carlota. Sensmeier in particular has a prolific resume within the Western genre itself, having starred in films like "The Magnificent Seven" and Taylor Sheridan's "Wind River," as well as Western television shows such as "Westworld," "Yellowstone," and "1883" (the latter two also coming from the mind of Taylor Sheridan).

In addition to co-writing the story for "The Last Manhunt," "Aquaman" and "Game of Thrones" star Jason Momoa also plays in the film as a character named Big Jim (who, you should know, basically functions as an extended cameo). Other cast members include "Dark Winds" and "Doctor Sleep" star Zahn McClarnon, "Killers of the Flower Moon" star Lily Gladstone, Raoul Max Trujillo of "Mayans M.C.," and the film's director, Christian Camargo.

Additionally, the film features the talents of Brandon Oakes, Wade Williams, Tantoo Cardinal, Amy Seimetz, and Jamie Sives. All told, "The Last Manhunt" boasts an excellent cast, filled from top to bottom with talented actors and several veterans of the Western genre.

Who wrote and directed The Last Manhunt?

While Jason Momoa helped create the story, is starring in the film, and is producing through his On the Roma banner, he didn't direct. Those duties went to Christian Camargo, who previously directed 2014's "Days and Nights," a film about a family's intense Memorial Day weekend that stars the likes of Katie Holmes, William Hurt, and Allison Janney.

In addition to directing "Days and Nights" and "The Last Manhunt," Camargo has had quite a bit of acting experience. He starred in the Jason Momoa AppleTV+ series "See" and has played in movies like "The Hurt Locker," "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1," as well as TV series like "Penny Dreadful," "Haven," and "The Goodwife." Of course, most people are going to recognize Camargo from his stint in one of Showtime's very best series — "Dexter." If you've seen the show (beware — spoilers), then you'll recognize his face as Dexter Morgan's psychopathic brother, Brian Moser, the Ice Truck Killer.

As for the screenplay, that was penned by Thomas Pa'a Sibbett, who developed the story with Jason Momoa and also wrote "Braven," which was similarly released by Saban Films and also starred Momoa. 

What is The Last Manhunt rated?

As you might have assumed by the plot of "The Last Manhunt," there's quite a bit of violence involved. The whole thing revolves around a shooting and the subsequent manhunt, after all. As a result, "The Last Manhunt" has been rated R for "some violence and language." In addition to humans getting shot to pieces, some horses are killed as well. On the language front, it's exactly what you'd expect from an R-rated movie, complete with F-bombs (via Common Sense Media).

Really, none of this is much of a surprise, as most modern-day Westerns — from "Hell or High Water" to "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" — bear this rating. It means we're delving into dark and serious topics, not to be taken lightly. "The Last Manhunt" is dealing with a real-life story and some serious themes, so the style and tone is appropriately adult.

How are critics and audiences responding to The Last Manhunt?

"The Last Manhunt" had big ambitions. It wanted to tell a true story in a way that honored the actual people involved while also being an engaging Western. Did it succeed? Well, unfortunately for those involved with the making of the film, "The Last Manhunt" is a massive critical bomb.

At the time of this writing, the film has a 13% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, based on eight reviews. The sole positive review comes from Jeffrey M. Anderson of Common Sense Media, who writes, "Even if its languid, loping storytelling lacks urgency, this small-scale, well-acted Western uses its rich, pictorial visual scheme to update the Willie Boy story in interesting, relevant ways."

However, most other critics found the film incredibly dull. Avi Offer of NYC Movie Guru described "The Last Manhunt" as "a sluggishly-paced, anemic and underwhelming Western low on suspense and excitement," and Roger Moore of Movie Nation concurred, labeling the film "a 'true story' Western that's a tad malnourished, stolid and depressingly downbeat." Sadly, most audience members seem to agree with the critics. At the time of this writing, the movie has a measly 33% audience score, based on fewer than 50 reviews.

Where to watch The Last Manhunt

If you're not scared off by the bad reviews — perhaps you really love Westerns, you're a diehard Jason Momoa fan, or you want to make up your own mind about this Old West tale — then you can hunt down "The Last Manhunt" on multiple sites. You can ride on over to Amazon Video, Google Play, YouTube, or Vudu and rent the film for $6.99. If you want to spend a bit more — $14.99 to be exact — you can buy the film on those very same sites.