The War Between Image

The War Between

By Bradley Gibson | April 1, 2024

Director Deborah Correa and screenwriter Ron Yungul’s The War Between is that rare tale set during a little-discussed aspect of the Civil War: Confederates came to capture territories in the American Southwest in 1862. Union forces from California marched East into the Sonoran desert to stop them. There have been Westerns that acknowledge the Civil War, such as The Searchers and Dances With Wolves, but not as many that speak to the time when the war actually came to the Southwest. It follows two soldiers from opposing sides of the American Civil War who must cooperate in order to survive being stranded in the Arizona Desert.

“…two soldiers from opposing sides of the American Civil War who must cooperate in order to survive…”

U.S. officer Israel Terry (Damian Conrad-Davis) awakens in the desert, suffering from a head wound. He seems to be the only survivor of a battle near Tucson’s Picacho Peak. Israel crawls until he finds a river. Here, he encounters a Confederate private, Moses Jennings (Sam Bullington), who’s making his way to join Confederate forces. Moses knows some first-aid and offers to tend Israel’s wound if they travel together, as there’s safety in numbers. Israel doesn’t remember much, and it is unclear whether Moses is a friend or foe. But the offer seems genuine, and facing near-certain death alone, he agrees.

As they make the journey to a destination they can’t agree on, Israel and Moses encounter many dangers of the desert, as well as Indigenous people who take exception to their being there. They also must confront the consequences and implications of their disparate ideological biases. While Israel is the better soldier, Moses is more in tune with the land and the indigenous peoples, demonstrating that he can speak Apache and knows much of their culture. A third, reluctant travel companion/captive joins up after a brief firefight. He is an Indigenous man called The Great Seer (Wayne Charles Baker) who is on a quest he must fulfill as penance. Will they go to a Union garrison or find a Confederate fort? The answer to that may mean one of them will rejoin their army as a conquering hero, and one will become a prisoner of war.

The War Between (2024)

Directed: Deborah Correa

Written: Ron Yungul

Starring: Damian Conrad-Davis, Sam Bullington, Wayne Charles Baker, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

The War Between Image

"…it seems that we have learned absolutely nothing in 150 years."

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