Running time: 122 mins

First Cow

Director : Kelly Reichardt

Summary :
A cook and a chinaman buddy up on the Oregon trail and develop a scam stealing milk to make irresistible cakes to sell to the trappers and prospectors.

: Chief Factor: Toby Jones (Chief Factor)
Cookie: John Magaro (Cookie)
King Lu: Orion Lee (King Lu)
Oregon, USA
Arri Alexa Mini
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 (Academy)

Last seen:
Sat 4th Sep 2021


A film of three parts. Firstly on the trail with the trappers where Cookie (John Magaro) encounters King Lu (Orion Lee) on the run in the woods. Cookie helps King Lu escape his pursuers.

Later in town Cookie bumps into King Lu who offers him somewhere to stay and they become friends and partners in a scheme to sell cakes that cookie makes using milk they are scrumping from the big man (Chief Factor - Toby Jones) of the town who has imported a cow.

Inevitably the scheme is discovered and the two find themselves on the run separately and then together. The end brings us back to the beginning where we saw a woman with a dog in modern day Oregon discover two skeletons in a shallow grave in the woods - without explicitly explaining how they got there we assume they must have been Cookie and King Lu.


Slow paced relationship western

by rogerco on Sat 4th Sep 2021. Streaming proj @ home

The first part in the woods with the trapper crew introduces a slightly dreamlike quality which is then the background for the two unlikely friends life together in the shack and developing their business in the frontier township which is a very male environment.

When the Chief Factor, inevitably, becomes aware that he is the fall guy, the pair go on the run (literally) and split up to escape downriver (literally in King Lu's case) but then seem to magically arrive back at their shack (now destroyed by the factor's men) where they are reunited and set off again for San Francisco (technically it was Yerba Buena in the 1820's). We never discover what actually happened to them, but assume they became the skeletons in the opening.

A strange tale, but well told, good acting and cinematography.