Leave No Trace Ending Explained: Why Does Will Leave?

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Leave No Trace Ending Explained

Debra Granik’s 2018 drama film Leave No Trace is an American production.

Based on Peter Rock’s 2009 novel My Abandonment, which is based on a true story, was written by Granik and Anne Rosellini.

The story revolves around Ben Foster, a post-traumatic stress disordered parent who served in the war, and his little daughter Thomasin McKenzie who lives in a wilderness.

leave no trace ending explained

The 2018 Sundance Film Festival saw the world debut of Leave No Trace, which was then given a theatrical release by Bleecker Street on June 29.

The movie received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, garnering accolades for Foster and McKenzie’s performances.

It also has the most reviews of any movie with a perfect Rotten Tomatoes score.

Plot Summary

leave no trace ending explained

Tom, his 13-year-old daughter, and Will, an Iraq War veteran with PTSD, reside in an old-growth forest park not far from Portland, Oregon.

They use woodland survival techniques to maintain their isolation while occasionally visiting the town for food and supplies. Will makes money by reselling the benzodiazepines he received from the VA to other veterans.

They are detained by social services and arrested by park authorities after a jogger spots Tom in the woods.

Despite not going to school, Tom is deemed to have educationally advanced for her age. In return for Will’s labor on the farm, a house is located for them to live in on a Christmas tree farm in a rural area of Oregon.

Will reluctantly starts packing trees but is concerned by the helicopters that are used to transport them.

leave no trace ending explained

Tom brings the girl to the neighborhood 4H youth club after meeting a local youngster who is constructing his own modest house.

Social services keep tabs on them and demand frequent form completion. Will makes an impulsive decision to depart one morning.

Tom grudgingly follows. When they go back to their park camp, they discover it has been demolished.

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When Will and Tom fail to find a ride in a railroad boxcar, a trucker eventually picks them up and drives them to Washington state before dropping them off in a secluded forest area.

They must construct a makeshift forest survival shelter for the night due to the cold and darkness. They locate a vacant cabin the following day and settle in.

leave no trace ending explained

Will departs in search of food and does not come back. Tom finds him at the bottom of a ravine the following morning, unconscious and with a critically hurt foot.

Local quadcyclists come to her aid and drive them to the mobile home park. Tom won’t allow Will to be brought to the hospital.

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Local resident Dale calls a friend who served as an Army medic to attend to Will’s wound. While Will’s injuries heal, Tom and Will are given an empty trailer in the neighborhood.

The medic provides his service dog, who also has PTSD, to help Will with his nightmares. Tom learns about the beehives from a local.

leave no trace ending explained

Tom wants to rent out the trailer from Dale without telling Will because he enjoys their new house. I will eventually make them go.

The same thing that’s wrong with you isn’t wrong with me, Tom objects, telling him.

Tom pauses after leaving the RV park and tells Will, “I know you would remain if you could.”

They say goodbye with a heartfelt hug. Will goes back to the woods, while Tom returns to the trailer park. Later, Tom hides a food package for Will in the woods.

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Cast

leave no trace ending explained

Ben Foster plays Will, a PTSD-afflicted war veteran.

Tom’s social worker Michael Prosser plays James, Will’s social worker Derek, Will’s daughter

Jeff Kober plays Mr. Walters, a tree farm owner named Dale Dickey plays Dale, the owner of a trailer park named Jean Bauer is played by Dana Millican. John Drescher plays Larry, a man that Will trades prescription drugs for cash with.

Isaiah Stone as Isaiah, a buddy of Tom’s.

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