Murder at Yellowstone City is a new Murder Mystery Western, filmed at The Yellowstone Film Ranch in Montana. Written by Eric Belgau and directed by Richard Gray, it stars Gabriel Byrne, Thomas Jane, Isaiah Mustafa, Anna Camp, Aimee Garcia, and Emma Kenney, with Nat Wolff, and Richard Dreyfuss.
Murder at Yellowstone City: The Story
It is 1881, in Montana Territory, and Cicero, a former slave, played by Isaiah Mustafa, wanders the American frontier searching for a place he can live in peace. Proud, powerful, a student of Shakespeare. “I was raised by myself, or the wind. I go by the name I chose,” he says.
Cicero thought Yellowstone City might be the place he was looking for – a gold rush boomtown gone bust, populated by outcasts who moved West looking for the same thing as him.
These outcasts are an interesting mix of characters. A saloonkeeper (Richard Dreyfuss) hides his union with the man he loves (John Ales). A daughter of the Mexican wars (Aimee Garcia), ferociously protective of the saloon girls and the town’s orphans. A Lakota Sioux woman (Tanaya Beatty), the sole survivor of the massacre that took her band, is caught between the culture she lost and the life she is building.
But on the day Cicero arrives, a penniless prospector (Zach MacGowan) strikes a vein of gold that promises to bring the town back to life. That would have been a great thing, but then the prospector is murdered.
The town’s Sheriff is James Ambrose (Gabriel Byrne), a former soldier, turned lawman, who sees justice as a tool for his town to take care of its own. He immediately suspects the newcomer, Cicero – “the only man who doesn’t know what I’ll do to him.” Cicero is thrown in jail, where he sits, patiently looking for a way out.
Alice Murphy (Anna Camp), a passionate missionary who is married to the town’s new minister, comes to pray with the condemned prisoner. She doesn’t believe he is a murderer, enamored with his honesty and presence. As time passes, evidence of Cicero’s innocence grows, and Alice and her husband, Thaddeus (Thomas Jane), a former outlaw who “came to God because I was running from the devil,” side with Cicero.
Then Cicero escapes … and then there’s another murder at Yellowstone City. And another. Sheriff Ambrose is further convinced that Cicero is to blame. He mobilizes the town to hunt the fugitive down, while Thaddeus and Alice resolve to see true justice done. And when Cicero, injured from a shootout, takes refuge in the church, they pledge to stand with him, regardless of the consequences.
Yellowstone City seemed like a sleepy western town, but many of the locals have dark secrets they want to keep hidden, that give them reasons to kill. The brutal murders pit neighbor against neighbor, and Yellowstone City goes down a bloody path to a final showdown that not all will survive.
Building Yellowstone City
Richard Gray scouted almost western towns and back lots across North America, looking for the perfect location. Not finding what he was looking for, Gray says “we built YellowstoneCity from scratch in Montana. It took over two years … but that gave us time to think about every scene, every beat, the weather, and the look of each season.”
Richard Gray was impressed by Eric Belgau’s classic western story as a rare murder mystery western. “I was so excited reading the screenplay. Eric did such a fabulous job. Murder mystery westerns are rare, that was super cool and original, but there is still such a classic western here and that’s what really impressed me.”
At the heart of this story, he saw fascinating characters, each with major decisions to make. The story deals with life-altering injustice, and what folks are prepared to do to seek truth and true justice. These characters are prepared to risk – and lose – their lives. The heroes here are not prepared to remain silent. “And that’s what really makes this film tick,” Gray says. “The themes, moments and truths in this story are timeless, and incredibly relevant, then and now.”
Murder at Yellowstone City Main Cast
Gabriel Byrne as Marshal Ambrose has starred in more than 60 feature films including EXCALIBUR, MILLER’S CROSSING, INTO THE WEST, THE POINT OF NO RETURN, LITTLE WOMEN, SPIDER, THE USUAL SUSPECTS, DEAD MAN, THE END OF VIOLENCE, THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK, VANITY FAIR, JINDABYNE and WAH-WAH. His television credits include the acclaimed limited series, ‘ZeroZeroZero.’ He was nominated for multiple Emmy Awards and a Broadway Tony Award, and received a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama Series. As a producer, his credits include the Academy Award-nominated IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER and INTO THE WEST.
Thomas Jane as Thaddeus Murphy is a prolific actor, director, and producer, with extensive credits including the series The Expanse and Hung, and the features The Punisher, 61, The Predator and Boogie Nights. Jane recently starred in the hit thriller The Vanished, and his film Run Hide Fightworld premiered at the 77th Venice Film Festival.
Isaiah Mustafa as Cicero is known for the lead role of ‘Mike Hanlon’ in the horror blockbuster IT: CHAPTER TWO. Isaiah starred in the cult series SHADOWHUNTERS: THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS, which won the People’s Choice Award for Best TV Show thanks to its dedicated fan base. He is also the infamous face of the Hulu campaign directed by Craig Gillespie. In a previous life, he was an NFL wide receiver before becoming a global sensation in the iconic Old Spice Campaign.
Richard Dreyfuss as Edgar Blake is known for starring in popular films during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, including American Graffiti (1973), Jaws (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Goodbye Girl (1977), The Competition (1980), Stand By Me (1986), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Tin Men (1987), Stakeout (1987), Always (1989), What About Bob? (1991), and Another Stakeout (1993) and Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995). Dreyfuss won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1978 for The Goodbye Girl (at the time, the youngest-ever actor, at age 30, to win) and was nominated in 1995 for Mr. Holland’s Opus. He also won a Golden Globe, a BAFTA Award and was nominated in 2002 for two SAG Awards.
Anna Camp as Alice Murphy recently finished shooting “Jerry & Marge Go Large,” and was seen in Paramount’s “The Lovebirds,” as the lead in the Netflix’ “Desperados,” and starred in the NBC comedy, “Perfect Harmony,” along with other film credits including the Pitch Perfect trilogy, Woody Allen’s “Cafe Society,” and the indie film “Here Awhile.” On television, Camp starred in “Good Girls Revolt,” Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” and HBO’s “True Blood.” On Broadway, Camp starred opposite Daniel Radcliffe in the Broadway revival of “Equus,” and in “The Country Girl,” opposite Morgan Freeman and Frances McDormand.
Nat Wolff as Young Jim Ambrose is known for his critically praised roles in The Fault in Our Stars and The Kill Team, actor/musician Nat Wolff is building his resume as a formidable talent, continuing to make music with his brother as “Nat & Alex Wolff.” Most recently, Wolff played Travis Maldanado in the Peacock original series Joe vs Carole, based on the popular Wondery Podcast “Tiger King.” Upcoming, he will be seen in Prime Video’s dark comedy workplace series, The Consultant
Murder at Yellowstone City director Richard Gray is a prolific independent filmmaker, producing features around the world. His debut feature film, the romantic-drama, Summer Coda, starred Rachael Taylor and Academy Award-nominee Jacki Weaver.
In 2015 he released the crime-thriller, The Lookalike, filmed in New Orleans and starring John Corbett, Gina Gerhson, Jerry O’Connell, Gillian Jacobs, and Luis Guzman. In 2016, he directed and produced Sugar Mountain, a crime-drama starring Cary Elwes and Jason Momoa. In 2020, he directed and produced the top-performing Independent film, Robert the Bruce, starring Angus MacFadyen, Jared Harris, and Kevin McNally.
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Eric Belgau started his writing career as a poet and songwriter, gaining a small following in the Pacific Northwest through readings and acapella performances. After moving to Los Angeles to pursue film, he worked in development, rewriting, and episodic animation, and as an entrepreneur in technology and the arts. Now a produced screenwriter and published author, Eric resides in Olympia, WA. He is a voracious writer, and is active in non-profit and for-profit start-ups.