The Homesman wants to do justice to its female characters. It shows the brutal ways in which the woman went crazy with painful honesty because that’s what the characters deserve. It followed a strong female lead to promote female fortitude, but ended Mary Bee’s story in alignment with the times. The film wants to tell a story about women through the lens of female life, but doesn’t sugarcoat that lens along the way. In the end, while Tommy Lee Jones wants to leave us with a glimpse into the horrors of frontier life for females, a life which got the best of all the female characters, the film isn’t afraid to remind viewers that America’s story was shaped by men.
As Robbie Collin for The Telegraph says, “The splendid, haunting final shot shows a boatload of rowdy male revellers drifting off downriver and back out West, where fortunes can and might be made – by men. But we, along with the camera, are left on the bank, in the dark.”