The death of Meriwether Lewis, the famed explorer, may not be as solid as everyone thinks and the mystery of the incident may be revealed in this interesting film from Clark Richey.

On October 11, 1809, explorer turned governor of Louisiana Meriwether Lewis was found dead. Some believed it was a suicide. Others believed it was foul play. Two years later, Alexander Wilson, Lewis’ best friend, is determined to get answers. He goes to the Grinder farmhouse in Tennessee. Priscilla Grinder was apparently the last one to see Lewis alive.

The circumstances involving Lewis’ death is quite a mystery. There are a few different stories involving what had happened to Lewis. Was it actually a suicide? Was he robbed? Was he killed after having an affair? Was it retaliation for the expedition he and William Clark done nearly a decade prior?

Writer and director Clark Richey has had a love for the history of the United States and one of the things that intrigue him are circumstances involving events such as the death of Meriwether Lewis. For his directorial debut, Richey, with the help of historians in researching the topic, has come up with an interesting story involving the death of Lewis and the circumstances around it. The film brings to mind the classic Akira Kurosawa film Rashomon and even Zhang Yimou’s Hero, where different stories and theories are depicted that have the same endgame.

To make a film of this caliber work, the cast has to be exceptional and in the case here, they succeed. Evan Williams does an amazing job as the ill-fated Lewis. We see Lewis in different predicaments, that start out in the same manner. This comes before we are given different twists and events that lead to the same result, with Lewis dying. The various events that we would see are quite interesting and they help churn out some great performances from the cast, especially Amye Gousset as Priscilla Grinder, the last person to see Lewis alive.

Billy Slaughter does wonders as Alexander Wilson, Lewis’ best friend who attempts to learn the truth of the circumstances of his friend’s death. When he interrogates both Priscilla and her husband Robert, played by Sonny Marinelli, this is how we get to see those Rashomon-like sequences. Add to the mix the legendary John Schneider as Choctaw Tribe agent James Neely, who in history was the one who gathered Lewis’ belongings and buried him only to disappear himself not long after, which leads to the possibility of another circumstance involving Lewis’ passing. Look out for an appearance from the director himself as Lewis’ expedition partner William Clark.

Mysterious Circumstance: The Death of Meriwether Lewis is quite a fascinating look at whether what we have read for so many years might not have exactly been executed as we imagined. With a stellar cast, Clark Richey has belted an amazing feature film directorial debut.


Vision Films presents a Six Shooter Studios production in association with Fisher Producers, Maven Entertainment, and Starling Road Productions. Director: Clark Richey. Producers: Morgan Cutturini, Amye Gousset, and P.J. Leonard. Writer: Clark Richey. Cinematography: Michael Williams. Editing: Keita Ideno.

Cast: Evan Williams, John Schneider, Amye Gousset, Sonny Marinelli, Billy Slaughter, Lance E. Nichols, Marcus Dupree, Clark Richey.

This film is playing in select theaters all over the U.S.