Five years after the Civil War, a freed Black woman masquerading as a man was determined to travel to Colorado from New Mexico. The deed for land in Colorado was Moses “Mo” Washington’s only hope to exercise her new-found freedom. Surrounded follows Mo as she embarks on a journey laden with terror and uncertainty.
The “broad-brimmed” black hat covered a third of Mo’s face; her appearance was good enough to fool white men. She held a Bible close to her heart; after all, hiding within it was her life’s most important possession—the deed. Every time Mo lost hope, the sight of the deed comforted her. It reminded her that the struggle would end soon and that she would truly enjoy her freedom in her own land one day.
‘Surrounded’ Plot Summary: What Happens In The Film?
As Mo approached the stagecoach, she was scrutinized by the driver. Even with her papers and ticket, she was asked to sit where the luggage was stored. Freedom was only a few days away, and Mo chose not to protest. The stagecoach finally took off, and the hope of a safe place seemed all the more close to Mo. After resting for the night, the passengers boarded the vehicle, but soon road agents caught up with the stagecoach. Shots were fired, and the stagecoach came to a halt. Mo hid herself behind a piece of cloth and restricted her movement. The passengers were forced to get off the vehicle, and initially, no one noticed Mo.
As the agents searched for valuables, one of the passengers, Mr. Fields, recognized the leader of the group. Tommy Walsh was a notorious man, infamously known for robbing a bank. It was Tommy who found Mo hiding at the back of the stagecoach. He stated that for outlaws like him, everyone was equal. Mo got off the vehicle with the rest of the passengers. Mr. Fields pretended to be sick, and as soon as Tommy neared him, he tried to shoot, but he failed. Tommy shot him in the stomach, and the sound of the gunshot triggered the horses, and they galloped away. Mo ran as fast as she could and hopped on the stagecoach. Two of Tommy’s men were onboard as well, and the stagecoach approached a cliff at great speed. Before jumping off the stagecoach, Mo offered her hand to the woman seated in it. Even though Ms. Borders knew that death was near, she chose to sit tight. With no other option in hand, Mo jumped off the vehicle and watched the stagecoach crash down the cliff.
With a gun in her possession, Mo shot Tommy’s men, and after some time, the passengers, along with the driver, Curly, came to the spot. They held Tommy hostage. Curly was ready to shoot him dead to avenge Andy’s death, but Mr. Wheeler calmed him down and asked him to take Mr. Fields to a doctor while he went to get hold of the Sheriff at Wagon Gap. Tommy was tied to a tree, and Mo was asked to stand guard. Before leaving, Mr. Wheeler handed her a matchbox and a rifle to protect herself at night. As soon as the men left, Tommy attempted to find a way to convince Mo to let him go. Meanwhile, all Mo could think about was her deed, and she hoped and prayed for it to be there at the crash site.
Did Mo Find The Deed?
Tommy initially tried to blackmail his way out, but later, when he realized that Mo was confident and strong, he tried to break her down. Tommy was not fooled by Mo’s appearance; he knew she was a woman disguised as a man, and he tried to find a way to use it to his advantage. He condemned her for not fighting for her people and stated that even though she might believe that she was free, at the end of the day, she would always be a slave to a white man. Mo had been tolerating the rampant insults, but she was not ready to be called a slave by a white outlaw, and she made herself quite clear with a few gunshots and a chokehold.
After getting a hold of herself, Mo decided to walk to the crash site and get back her deed. Tommy (tied up in chains) accompanied her to the site. He attempted to flee, but he was caught by a group of Native Americans. Mo managed to handle the situation with her tremendous shooting skills and ultimately found her deed. She teared up, realizing that the paper was soaking wet and the written details had been washed off. Her dream of owning land was now gone.
Who Is The Stranger? Is Clay Dead?
After the incident with the Natives, Tommy and Mo became more tolerant of each other. We learn that Mo worked for Union soldiers. She wanted to help those who could not fight for themselves. After watching them closely for four years, she chopped her hair, put on men’s clothes, and walked to the army base. No one doubted her, and she was handed the uniform. She tasted freedom for the first time when she wore her uniform. As a soldier, she had her basic necessities covered, and after she left her post, she bought a gold claim with the money she had saved. That piece of land was of great value not just to Mo but to those she intended to help. Tommy stated that he was married to an Injun woman and had a kid, and he lost them both due to the war. He was eight when his father and brother were shot dead by cattle barons because they wanted their land. His mother wrote off their land, and everything they had was lost in a few seconds. Tommy believed in the “eye for an eye” approach, but for Mo, making that choice was not as easy. Mo had faith in God, and she believed it was faith that kept her on the right track. She wanted freedom, but the thought of taking half of Tommy’s “dirty” money did not sit right with her. Just as they were negotiating their deal, a stranger approached them.
The stranger handed his gun to Mo and stated that he was simply a farmer who came to help her. Apparently, Will Clay met Mr. Fields and Curly, and they told him about Mo and Tommy. Tommy doubted the man from the get-go, but Mo showed interest in his offer. Clay suggested they take Tommy to his farm, rest the night there, and collect the bounty first thing in the morning. He offered Mo 70% of the money and pretended to be a caring Black man who was looking out for a woman his daughter’s age. Mo fell into his trap after she realized that Tommy had lied to her about the amount of money he stole from the bank. Tommy warned Mo that the man was a bounty hunter and he would kill them both any minute. Mo suggested that they wait for the sheriff, but the man insisted that they travel to his farm. Mo handed him his gun and decided to leave Tommy in the hands of the stranger. But something struck Mo as odd. The bottle of whiskey that Clay was drinking belonged to Mr. Fields. Mo pointed her gun at him, and finally, Clay gave away his truth. He was a bounty hunter who had been searching for Tommy for the last five months. He killed Curly and Mr. Fields to get the money for himself. Clay pulled the trigger, only to realize that Mo had taken the bullets out. Clay’s partner attempted to shoot Mo from one side, but she managed to tackle him. After an intense scuffle, Mo pushed Clay into the fire. Mo shot him twice and spared him a painful death.
What Happened To Tommy?
The next morning, Tommy’s men arrived after he repeatedly called for them. Mo was ready to fight his men, and with a blunt blow at the back of his head, Tommy lay unconscious on the ground. She shot one of his men with an arrow and ran for her life. Meanwhile, Tommy came back to his senses when three of his men arrived. He instructed them to follow Mo and bring her to him in exchange for their share of the loot. While Pike and Tuco followed Mo, Goldie waited with Tommy. He was not interested in fighting Mo; he simply wanted Tommy to hand over his share of the loot like he had promised. Goldie freed Tommy in hopes of money, but Tommy did not wait for a second to shoot him dead.
Meanwhile, Mo tactically shot Tuco, but Pike got hold of her. He attempted to choke Mo, but she refused to give up. She picked up a bough that was lying on the ground and repeatedly smacked Pike. She choked him with it and crushed his head with a large stone. It was Tommy versus Mo once again. Mo was ready to fight for her life, but Tommy proposed a mutually beneficial deal once again. He proposed an alliance: “Tommy Walsh and the colored girl.” Mo refused to accept his deal; she could not trust a white boy to make her dreams come true. As they settled for a duel, Mo shot Tommy before he could raise his pistol. She was enraged by the fact that Tommy did not care to learn her name. No matter how tragic Tommy’s life was, he could never understand Mo’s struggle. Tommy was glad that he died at the hands of a feisty Black woman, and before dying, he disclosed the place where he had buried the looted money in a cryptic way.
‘Surrounded’ Ending Explained: How Did Mo Find The Stolen Money?
At the end of Surrounded, Mr. Wheeler arrived with the sheriff, and they found Mo resting under a tree with dead bodies around her. She explained that Tommy’s men knocked her out of her senses, and when she woke up, she saw dead bodies lying around. The Sheriff and Mr. Wheeler concluded that the two groups fought, and they ended up killing each other. Tommy was a wanted criminal, and the deaths of him and his gang members were nothing but good news. In a way, Mr. Wheeler helped Mo escape further questioning. Mo was asked to bury the bodies and leave. Since the location of the looted money remained a secret, the Sheriff and Mr. Wheeler concluded that there was no point in searching for it. They headed to the saloon for a drink, while Mo breathed an air of relief.
Mo noticed a grave with a cross made out of branches. She realized that when Tommy said that her faith would bring her freedom, he meant for her to look at what lay underneath the stones. Upon removing the stones, she found a bag full of cash. With the money in her possession, Mo headed towards her destination, and this time nothing could stop her. While Mo was hesitant about taking the looted money, in the end, it seemed to be a divine indication. Everyone who eyed the cash died in one way or another. Her prayers were answered; she might have lost the land, but she could now buy much more with what she had earned. Meeting Tommy was not bad luck; it was her destiny. Visually stunning, Surrounded does a good job executing the essential elements of the genre. While Letitia Wright delivers an earnest performance, the character lacks depth. We only get information, but we do not get to know the person in her entirety. Surrounded is Michael Kenneth Williams’s last film, and he was a delight to watch on-screen.