Dead Man's Burden

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Reviews Counted: 17

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Average Rating: 3.3/5

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Movie Info

Set in 1870 in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, DEAD MAN'S BURDEN is the story of Martha (Clare Bowen, ABC's Nashville) and her husband Heck (David Call, Tiny Furniture), who are struggling to make ends meet on the rural New Mexico frontier. When a mining company expresses interest in buying their land, Martha and Heck see their ticket to a better life. Their hopeful plans are soon complicated when Martha's oldest brother Wade (Barlow Jacobs, Shotgun Stories), presumed dead during the war, returns to the family homestead after learning of their father's death. A defector to the Union Army, Wade soon discovers that Martha is hiding secrets of her own. As the two siblings become reacquainted, torn between a desire to reconcile with the only family they have left and their clashing convictions, tension and suspicion continue to mount. Filmed on location in the rugged high desert of northern New Mexico, DEAD MAN'S BURDEN, shot in the style of a classic western, marks Jared Moshé's directorial debut. (c) CineDigm

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Clare Bowen
as Martha McCurry
David Call
as Heck Kirkland
Barlow Jacobs
as Wade McCurry
Richard Riehle
as Three Penny Hank

News & Interviews for Dead Man's Burden

Critic Reviews for Dead Man's Burden

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (11)

It's a strong debut for Moshe, who, with the exception of some of the oater dialogue, shows both a reverence for and a knowledge of the genre that's intriguing.

May 23, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Ponderous but lovely, simple but elegant, it should appeal to fans of Westerns.

May 3, 2013 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Small in scale but with a grand visual ambition, "Dead Man's Burden" draws nourishment from its burned-out desert setting and ambling pace.

May 2, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/5

Despite visual nods to dozens of classic Westerns, the film cannot break through with its own vision.

May 2, 2013 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

The story is modest to the point of occasionally seeming slight, and the ending is a tad too cute in the way it circles back to the beginning, but even those flaws just make it feel more authentic. See it now, before it gets rediscovered.

May 2, 2013 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
AV Club
Top Critic

You never get over the feeling that you're watching modern actors play frontier-drama dress-up. It's a deathblow.

Apr 30, 2013 | Rating: 3/5
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Dead Man's Burden


In "Dead Man's Burden," Wade McCurry(Barlow Jacobs) has survived the Civil War only to find that he is not entirely done with violence just yet. And then once he gets to his family homestead in Texas, he has to prove to his younger sister Martha(Clare Bowen) and her husband Heck(David Call) that he is who he says he is and that his death was greatly exaggerated. That's only to discover that he is too late to attend his father's funeral. "Dead Man's Burden" is a great looking western that has some deep thoughts on the nature of frontier justice. But as far as any kind of story or characterization goes, the movie is sadly paper thin, with acting on the amateurish level of historical reconstructions.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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