‘New Bandits (Cangaco Novo)’ Ending, Explained & Recap: Is Ernesto Dead Or Alive?


The Amazon Prime series, New Bandits (also titled Cangaco Novo) revolves around an ex-military man named Ubaldo and his journey to discover a traumatizing past that he has forgotten. After being expelled from the army, he took up a job at the bank, but even that did not last for long. Ubaldo desperately needed a source of income, especially with his father, Ernesto, admitted to the hospital for Pompe disease. He came across a document that stated he had land in Cratara, and he decided to find out what it was all about. As soon as Ubaldo reached Cratara, he discovered that he needed the consent of his twin sisters, Dinorah and Dilvania, to get the land. While Dilvania accepted Ubaldo with open arms, Dinorah was defensive and refused to entertain him.

Spoiler Alert 

Why Did Ubaldo Become A Bandit?

Ubaldo’s birth father, Amaro Vaqueiro, was almost a god-like figure in Cratara. He was a bandit who fought for the betterment of the common people of Cratara, and to this day, he is remembered for his good work. When Ubaldo returned to his hometown, the villagers were convinced that he would change their lives. While Ubaldo had no intentions of staying back, everyone around him was hopeful that he would realize the bigger purpose behind his visit. Ubaldo’s birth parents, Amaro and Valdertaria, were shot dead by the Maleiro family, and the villagers assumed that Ubaldo died the same night. Ubaldo’s life was in danger, and his adoptive father, Ernesto, saved him. He kept Ubaldo safe and raised him to live a life of honor. Things did go as planned for Ernesto for a while, but ultimately Ubaldo found out his truth, and he eventually chose the bandit life.

Ubaldo witnessed how Dinorah and the bandit gang conducted bank heists in an unorganized way, and he decided to change it. He needed money to pay the hospital bills, and after taking all factors into consideration, he decided to join the bandit gang. As an ex-bank officer, he had extensive knowledge about how a bank operated and knew the best possible way to get the most money. He was also completely against the bandits harassing common people during a bank heist, and he strictly instructed the gang to leave the common people, as well as the employees of the bank, unharmed. Ubaldo believed in thoroughly planning a heist to execute it to perfection. He always wanted to make sure that nobody was killed or had to be killed in the process. The bandits started to make more money after Ubaldo became the leader of the gang, and for the first time in his life, Ubaldo experienced a sense of success.

Who Were The Maleiros?

The Maleiro family had brought Cratara to ruins as a result of generational exploitation. Gastao Maleiro, the mayor of the town, did nothing to solve the water crisis. Most of the fertile pieces of land were auctioned off and bought by the Maleiro family, and the common people were left to suffer. Most people in town had enormous debts to clear, and the lack of jobs made it impossible. Leinneane was fighting for the rights of the people of Cratara. Her husband was contesting the mayoral election, and she hoped that Ubaldo would help them convince the people of the town that a change was needed. Leinneane and Paulino owned a slaughterhouse, and due to a lack of water, the cattle suffered, as did their business, and as a result, they were unable to create jobs. Leinneane’s methods for the campaign were aggressive, but her husband, Paulino Leite, wanted to play it safe. The unmatched chemistry between Leinneane and Ubaldo gave birth to their affair. Their professional goals were the same, and Ubaldo’s drive to avenge his father’s death and to bring about a change in Cratara impressed Leinneane.

The Maleiros wanted to buy more tactical lands, and Gastao’s father, Deocleciano Maleiro (the senator), was overseeing the project. His instruction was to buy all the land available at the auction, but to his surprise, there was a competitor. Ubaldo and Dinorah offered a million rias to buy a crucial piece of land, further worsening their enmity with the Maleiros. It was eventually revealed in New Bandits that Gastao Maleiro raped Dinorah and Dilvania when they were young. Dilvania lost her speech after the incident, and her blood boiled every time she saw Gastao. During a campaign, Dinorah made up her mind to shoot Gastao, but her boyfriend, Lino, stopped her. Lino and Dinorah followed Gastao’s car. They shot the tire, and that led to an accident. Gastao was gravely injured after the accident, and Lino lost his life due to a bullet wound. Dinorah escaped from the scene.

To seek revenge, the Maleiros hunted down every source of income for the Vaquieros to make it impossible for them to survive. They closed down the electronic shop that Ubaldo had bought; the police demanded that Zeza prove where the auction money came from, and only then could they buy the land; and Leinneane’s slaughterhouse was closed off. The common people started to lose their trust in Paulino Leite after the shooting of Gastao Maleiro. While he denied the charges, many believed he did it to win the election. Gastao had the sympathy of the common people. The police tracked down Ubaldo and Leinneane as they were traveling in their car. The policeman was almost about to shoot Ubaldo (on Gastao Maleiro’s instructions), but thankfully Leinneane grabbed a rock and smashed his head. The war between Maleiro and Vaquiero was declared.

Why Were The Police Searching For Amaro’s Gun?

The Maleiros were in trouble after Ubaldo and Leinneane were admitted to the hospital. It became obvious that the Maleiros had conspired to kill them. Ubaldo made up his mind to do whatever was needed for Leinneane to win the election. Ernesto was heartbroken to see his son live the bandit life, and after the attack on him, he decided he would do whatever was necessary to protect his boy. He torched Ubaldo’s car with all the ammunition that was needed for the robbery. While he assumed it would stop Ubaldo from committing another crime, that did not happen. Ubaldo borrowed money from Leinneane to carry out the planned robbery. Ubaldo and his gang of bandits robbed another bank as planned. But ex-members of the gang led by Ameaco, who had enmity with Ubaldo, ambushed Ubaldo and his gang to take their cut.

While Ubaldo always maintained the policy of never killing anyone, when Ameaco challenged him, he shot him and his gang members dead. This significant change in Ubaldo’s behavior indicates that he has now accepted his life as a bandit and is ready to shed blood for his family. The gang handed over the money to Leinneane for her election campaign. Paulino had figured that Leinneane and Ubaldo were having an affair. He tried to shame Leinneane for the same, but she established that their marriage was only to achieve their political goals, and she was no longer in love with him.

Meanwhile, the police had caught a whiff of Amaro’s gun. The gun Amaro always carried was missing from the secluded farm where he was killed. The gun remained undiscovered up until now, and the police suspected that Ubaldo had a role to play in it. Ubaldo was with Amaro and Valdetaria when they traveled to the farm. Upon hearing gunshots, Ubaldo entered the farm. Mayor candidate Orsorio Leite was on the farm that day, and he was the only person alive. Amaro had contributed to Orsorio’s campaign in the hope of bringing about a change. When Ubaldo saw Orsorio at the farm that day, he pointed his gun at him. Shots were fired, and Ubaldo managed to escape from the scene. The reason for the ambush is yet to be disclosed in New Bandits. It is possible that Orsorio double-crossed Amaro.

Ubaldo carried the gun with him and dropped it into a river. The gun was recovered by villagers and returned to the Vaqueiro family. Dinorah had kept the gun hidden all this while, but with things getting heated up, she decided to use her father’s gun. She used Amaro’s gun in the attempted murder of Gastao, and the bullet shells were recovered by the police. The case was reopened after Ubaldo’s return since the police believed he had witnessed what had gone down at the farm, but Ubaldo did not remember anything from his childhood. While the photograph of Orsorio’s dead body confirms that Ubaldo murdered him, the truth behind the entire situation is yet to be revealed. Ubaldo denies all assumptions and admits that he barely remembers anything from the day of the murder.

Towards the end of New Bandits (or Cangaco Novo), it becomes clear that the police wanted to incriminate Ubaldo for the death of Orsorio, and the gun is a key piece of evidence. They needed the gun to prove Ubaldo guilty, and they arrived to search the church and Ubaldo’s house. Ubaldo was arrested, but the gun was not found. Meanwhile, Dinorah escaped before the police arrived to throw away the gun. She drove to a seaside beach. Since Dinorah had never been to a beach before, she and Lino had planned to travel there together. She tossed the gun into the sea and took a dip. Lino had once told her how the sea takes away all anger, and Dinorah experienced it for the first time. While Lino was not there by her side, the scene, in a way, suggests the union of the lovers. By throwing away the gun that denotes nothing but violence, she was trying to embrace serenity.

Did Ernesto Survive?

Ernesto requested that Leinneane help release his son from prison. We later find out that Ernesto stated that Ubaldo was with him at the hospital during Gastao’s attempted murder. With Ubaldo returning home, it was time for celebration. At the end of New Bandits, Ubaldo thanked Ernesto for always being there for him. Ubaldo had always considered Ernesto to be his only father, and that did not change. Meanwhile, during a campaign speech, Gastao instigated his followers to wage a war against the Vanqueiros. While sitting on the porch of his home, Ernesto watched men enter the church. He knew they were vandals, and he tried to stop them. The men pushed Ernesto to the ground, and he bled to death. The vandals had set the church on fire, and the smoke caught the attention of the villagers. A fight broke out when the vandals created a ruckus at the party. 

During New Bandits’ Ending, Ubaldo entered the church and rescued Jeremias. He learned from Jeremias that his father was inside the church. Ubaldo risked his life to rescue his father, but by the time he carried Ernesto out of the church, he had already died. Ubaldo will never forgive the perpetrators responsible for Ernesto’s death. The church fire was a call for war, and we can expect Ubaldo and his gang to give a fitting response in New Bandits season 2. It seems this is just the beginning of a long fight for power and influence, and Ubaldo will continue to play a key role. The only person who kept Ubaldo grounded is now gone, and we can expect to see him driven by a maddening rage.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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