First Cow

Both heartwarming and tragic, it is a story of 2 young men in 1820 trying to make a living in the Northwest.

First Cow

This intriguing film heads in the opposite direction of Nomadland. Unlike aging, middle-class individuals hitting the road trying to find a way back to themselves, here we have two young men trying to find a path to achieve financial success.

The film centers on John Magaro’s role as Cookie Figowitz, a young man who has earned his nickname. Joining a group of fur trappers as they travel through Oregon, he prepares all of their meals. Growing tired of their harassment, he departs to begin a baking business with a Chinese man.  His goal is to one day open a restaurant.

Orion Lee gives a splendid performance as King Lu, a stranger in a strange land. He and Cookie hit a little bit of gold when they discover a cow tied to a tree deep in the woods. They hit pay dirt when Cookie milks her and proceeds to sell all of the buttermilk biscuits he can make.

Unfortunately, our two lads go from admired emerging businessmen to scoundrels when their unauthorized access to the cow is discovered. In a role made for his talents, Toby Jones plays the cow’s owner, and he is not a happy man. Cookie and King are hunted like human animal prey and the film will leave you both tense and teary eyed.

Directed by Kelly Reichardt, the film captures some of Oregon’s wonderful scenery while using a delightful soundtrack that reflects the movie’s pulsating emotion. The movie reminds us that life is not fair to many, and that sometimes good guys die young.