‘The Last Stop In Yuma County’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Is The Knife Salesman Dead?


A film like The Last Stop in Yuma County is almost like a ticking time bomb—you know things are going to go wrong in every possible way, and the fun lies in the waiting. The ones caught up in the mess had places to be, but as luck would have it, they all ended up at a diner in the desert where the air conditioning was not working. Francis Gallupi’s debut feature, The Last Stop in Yuma County, starring Jim Cummings as The Knife Salesman, is comical, entertaining, and a period crime thriller worth watching.

The guy at the gas station, Vernon, informed his customers that the pumps had run out of gas, and there was a fuel truck on the way to fix the issue. The customers could either wait at the diner or risk running out of gas and getting stranded in the desert since the next gas station was four hours away. Naturally, every car that stopped at the station was ultimately parked in front of the adjacent diner run by Charlotte. She was a sweet woman who tried to comfort the travelers with refreshments. Maybe she assumed that it would be a good day for her business, but unfortunately, things turned out to be quite the opposite.

Spoiler Alert

What was Beau and Travis’ plan?

Through a radio announcement, we are told that two men robbed a bank of $700,000 and escaped in a green Pinto with a damaged rear end. As luck would have it, these two men, Beau and Travis, ended up at the diner as well. They had run out of gas, and Vernon advised them to wait at the diner until the fuel truck arrived. While Beau was the level-headed, calculative criminal, Travis was all muscle and rage. They planned on hiding in Mexico, but the sudden delay in their plan made them tense, and the heat added to the frustration. 

The first one to enter the diner was a salesman who sold knives; his name is not revealed in The Last Stop in Yuma County, and he is simply referred to as The Knife Salesman in the credits. Charlotte was easy to talk to, and the salesman ended up mentioning that he was on his way to meet his daughter, who lived in California with his ex-wife and her husband. Charlotte packed him her specialty, a rhubarb pie, for his daughter. Through their brief conversation, the salesman realized that he could trust Charlotte with a secret. He had been staring at the green Pinto parked outside, and it perfectly matched the description mentioned on the radio. Charlotte was alarmed when the salesman suggested that maybe the two men who had entered the diner were the robbers the police were searching for. Her instinct was to inform her husband, Charlie, the Sheriff of Yuma County. She did not consider that the robbers were not new players, and her body language gave away that she was making a call to ask for help. She had no choice but to cut the call when Beau threatened to kill her. 

Beau and Travis made a little arrangement with them—they promised to not harm Charlotte and the salesman if they kept quiet and allowed them to leave without causing any trouble. Even though Charlotte and the salesman agreed to the deal, they knew that they had to get rid of the robbers. Meanwhile, Beau and Travis tried to come up with an alternate plan, but unfortunately, there was none. Their best bet was to wait for someone to stop by at the diner with a tank full of gas, and lucky for them, a regular customer at the diner, Pete, walked in. The minute Beau figured that Pete’s truck had gas, since he had filled up yesterday, he decided it was time to finally play it dirty.

Who were Sybil and Miles?

Sybil and Miles were small-time young criminals whose goal was to become the new-age Bonny and Clyde. When they arrived at the gas station, Miles recognized the green Pinto immediately. They had hit the jackpot, and all they had to do was find a way to get their hands on the bag full of cash. After failing to force open the trunk of the green Pinto, the young couple walked into the diner, hoping to find the right moment to rob the robbers. 

All of a sudden, Beau held Charlotte at gunpoint and announced that he would not let her go until Pete handed over the key to his truck. Pete agreed to give them the keys, but only after they let Charlotte go. While they tried to bargain, the old couple, Robert and Earline, at the diner did not hesitate to pull out their gun from the bag. Robert pointed his gun at Beau, giving Pete the perfect opportunity to bring out his gun as well. Miles tried to make money out of the situation, and he pointed his gun at Pete in the hopes that the robbers would give him a small share of their loot. Everyone at the diner was pretty much carrying some form of weapon, and that heightened the comical aspect of the film. Beau promised Miles that he would give him some cash, and he played according to their plan. Pete was ready with his keys and asked Beau to let go of Charlotte after he handed him the keys. But Miles was not happy with that idea. He could not trust the robbers, so his best bet was to take the keys and hand them to the robbers after they gave him a portion of the loot. Miles was driven by adrenaline, and he trusted the robbers a little more than he should have. They were professional criminals, while he was just a young man trying to replicate the gangsters he had seen in films.

What led to the diner massacre?

Charlotte anticipated that things would go wrong, so she carried a knife with her when she went to the kitchen to grab a plate of biscuits and gravy. While the men had their guns out and were trying to come up with a deal, Charlotte was waiting for the right moment to stab Beau in the leg. To think of it, there could have never been a deal with the bank robbers. They were on the run, and they had too many witnesses. They knew that Charlotte’s husband was the sheriff, and it was obvious that the minute they would step out, she would make a call to him. The only choice they had was to shoot everyone dead and leave without any trace. By the time the police found out, they would be long gone. Robert had noticed Charlotte grab her knife, and he begged her to stab Beau already. Charlotte stabbed Beau, and in a matter of seconds, everyone started shooting each other in the room. Beau was shot in the neck, Travis was unharmed, the salesman survived, and Sybil managed to stay out of the mess as well. 

Vernon entered the diner after he heard the gunshots. He shot Travis dead, and he thought that trouble was over, but Beau was still alive. Beau killed Vernon. The bullet wound in the neck was severe, and Beau had no chance of survival. Sybil realized she had the upper hand now and could walk out of the diner with all the cash, but there was one problem—the salesman. She had no experience with guns, and when she tried to shoot the salesman, she missed the mark. The salesman did not have much of a choice but to kill Sybil. So, he stabbed her. The Knife Salesman had two choices: he could either be a good, responsible citizen and inform the police about the massacre, or he could run away with the money. While he initially thought of doing the right thing, he could not let go of the cash.

Did The Knife Salesman Make It Out Alive?

With everyone at the diner dead, The Knife Salesman could do whatever his heart desired. He loaded the bag of cash in the trunk of his car. He then went ahead and found a way to transfer the fuel from Pete’s truck to his car. Everything was going pretty smoothly, but he tried to perfect each step a little too much, and that led to more problems. He went back to the diner to leave the car key in Beau’s pocket, and that was when a couple drove up to the diner. The Knife Salesman left the diner through the back door, and he saw the reaction of the stranger from a distance. He was about to inform the police when the salesman stopped him. He tried to explain how he was an innocent survivor, but David refused to believe him. All he wanted was for the salesman to wait until the police arrived, but of course, he refused to do so. 

The Knife Salesman pointed his gun at the couple, and they promised not to inform the police, but the salesman could not trust them. He had a change of heart when he found out that the woman was named Sarah, just like his daughter, and he decided to give them a chance. He offered them ten thousand dollars to drive away, and while the couple initially agreed, they soon figured out that he had the money that was stolen from the bank. The salesman tried to prove his innocence, but he realized that the truth seemed too impossible to believe, so he chose to say what the couple had already started to think. He lied about being the bank robber and killing everyone at the diner. He wanted them to be afraid of him, so he asked them to hand over their IDs and threatened to shoot them otherwise. He tried to scare them by shooting in the air, but that turned out to be a massive fail. David assumed that the gun was not loaded, and he tried to tackle the salesman. Amidst the madness, the salesman pulled the trigger once again and ended up shooting Sarah. He had to get rid of David as well, and in the process, he ended up puncturing the fuel pipe of his car. 

The salesman drove off from the scene, thinking that he would finally make it to California with seven hundred thousand dollars. He was unaware that the gas was constantly leaking, and he would not even make it out of the county. Meanwhile, Sheriff Charlie was concerned when he could not reach his wife, and Vernon did not respond to the calls as well. He decided to check out the diner and was dumbfounded to see the bloody massacre. He broke down when he saw Charlotte’s lifeless body. He collected himself to investigate the case, and that was when he noticed the fuel trail. He handed David and Sarah’s baby, who was left in the car, to Gavin and went on to follow the trail.

Was The Knife Salesman innocent?

After his car ran out of fuel, The Knife Salesman had no choice but to walk with the bag of cash. There was no chance that he would make it out of the desert, but what else could he have done? It was already too late to be the good guy, and he was terrible at being the bad guy as well. He was left with no choice. Greed got the best of him—had he chosen to be an honest man, then maybe he could have met his daughter in California. But given the circumstances at the end of The Last Stop in Yuma County, The Knife Salesman could have never made it to his daughter’s. He found the fuel truck lying upside down by the side of the road. The reason behind the massacre was right there in front of him. He could refuel his car, but then again, the leak was impossible to fix. 

Meanwhile, the sheriff found the salesman’s car parked by the side of the road. He had seen the car parked outside the diner that morning while dropping his wife off. It was the only car missing, and the cash from the green Pinto was also gone. The sheriff joined the dots. The Knife Salesman was standing on top of the truck when the sheriff found him. He tried to hide from the sheriff and repeatedly begged to explain how he was a good guy. When he was given the chance to speak, he admitted that taking the money was a mistake, but he continued to vouch for his innocence. But the sheriff had already noticed that the knife used to stab Sybil was from the same collection that the salesman was carrying. He also had no explanation for killing Sarah and David and leaving their baby in the car. As much as he wanted to believe he was a good man, he had committed too many sins to wash the blood off his hands.

In The Last Stop in Yuma County‘s ending, The Knife Salesman set fire to the fuel truck, which led to an explosion that killed Sheriff Charlie. But before dying in the explosion, the sheriff shot the salesman as he tried to escape. The bullet wound made it impossible for him to run away. Even with all the money in his possession, he knew he could not be saved. Life had played a cruel game on him, and while he thought he was making the most of it, he ended up a fool who chose money over life. So what will happen to the stolen money? Well, we can assume that Gavin will follow the fuel trail, and ultimately, the police will seize the cash. 

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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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