THE MARKSMAN*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film starts in Mexico, where a young boy named Miguel (Jacob Perez) is living with his mother Rosa (Teresa Ruiz). Someone close to her calls and warns her that the cartel is after her, so she and Miguel need to flee immediately. We then see cartel leader Mauricio Guerrero (Juan Pablo Raba) has captured Rosa’s brother Carlos (Alfredo Quiroz), since he stole money from them, and he warns Carlos that his family is next before they hang his body by an overpass.
In Arizona, retired former marine Jim Hanson (Liam Neeson) is working by the U.S.-Mexico border to keep an eye out for undocumented migrants attempting to cross. He spots a few near him and reports it. As he follows, he sees that one is injured and gives him water before calling someone to bring medical assistance.
Jim’s home is put up for foreclosure, and he doesn’t have many work options. He lives alone with his dog Jackson, but his closest company is his stepdaughter Sarah (Katheryn Winnick), who is a police officer. They are both missing her mother since she passed away, and Sarah takes Jim home from the bar and puts him to bed.
When Jim goes to the border the next day, he comes across Rosa and Miguel trying to make it past the fence once Mauricio and his goons make their presence aware. Jim attempts to report them to Border Patrol, but Mauricio and two other men step out of their vehicle. After realizing that they are a threat, Jim tries to have Rosa and Miguel hide, so Mauricio’s guys begin to open fire. Jim returns fire and hits Mauricio’s brother, killing him. He gets Rosa and Miguel in the truck and starts to drive away as Mauricio chases the vehicle on foot. Jim shakes him off and gets away. Mauricio then makes a call to reinforcements.
After they get far enough, Miguel sees that Rosa was shot. Jim takes her out and lays her down as she is dying. She gives Jim a bag of stolen money and an address, requesting to Jim that he take Miguel to family in Chicago. Jim then waits as medics and other officers arrive to retrieve Miguel. He is told by another officer that Miguel blames Jim for his mother’s death.
When Jim sees the money in Rosa’s bag, he feels compelled to return for the boy. He learns from someone at the station that Miguel will be deported and go back with a family member, but Jim also sees Mauricio and his men waiting in a van outside. Jim tricks the officer at the front to let him see Miguel, and he smuggles the boy out of the station. Mauricio notices and follows. Jim returns home briefly to get Jackson and his guns before heading forward.
Mauricio and his guys make it to Jim’s home to gather personal information, and he also steals a marine pin from Jim before they burn his house down. The gang members then set up shop nearby where one of Mauricio’s men tracks Jim’s credit card information.
Jim stops at a gas station and picks up an atlas to get to Chicago. Not long after they leave, Mauricio and his men stop at the gas station where he intimidates the gas station clerk (Amber Midthunder) that tended to Jim. He looks at security footage to find him before killing the clerk, and they continue to pursue.
Jim gets food for him and Miguel before returning to the road, but the truck breaks down from overheating. He stops at a nearby shop and uses money to get it patched while sleeping in the truck for the night. Miguel takes Jackson out for a walk and uses some money to get supplies. Sarah has also become aware of what Jim has done and contacts him to return Miguel, but he stresses that the situation is life or death.
After returning to the road, Jim is pulled over by a trooper (Vic Browder) who asks him to step out of the vehicle after he confiscates his weapons. The trooper claims to want to talk to Miguel, but Jim notices the man talking on the phone to someone else. When Jim points this out to the trooper, he quickly realizes he is working under the cartel and that he has sold them out. The trooper draws his gun on Jim, but Jackson bites his arm and helps Jim overpower him. Jim knocks the trooper out and goes with Miguel and Jackson to hide as Mauricio and the others come by. After seeing that their targets have fled, he kills the trooper and they take Jim’s guns.
Jim stops at a gun store to get more guns and later stops at a motel for the night after thinking it was safe since he didn’t use his card. Mauricio and his goons kill the motel clerk before going to find Jim and Miguel. He gets the boy and hides after alerting the cops. They hide long enough before the cops arrive, but Mauricio sees Jackson and shoots him before leaving. Jim gets his dog’s body and gives him a proper burial in the morning.
Jim feels that he should just take Miguel back to Mexico, but after another talk with Sarah, he decides he has to finish the job. Sarah even decides to cover for him and not let her colleagues know where Jim is headed. Jim and Miguel stop on the side of the road for the night where Jim shows Miguel how to use a gun, and they also burn the cartel money to stay warm.
Nearing their destination, Jim sees Mauricio and his goons have found them and are getting close. Jim manages to shake them briefly to give him enough time to get a spot to snipe them. He shoots the driver and causes their van to crash before taking Miguel to hide on a nearby farm. He shoots the youngest member before Mauricio and the other member follow. Miguel creates a diversion to allow Jim to shoot the last member before Mauricio goes after them. He finds Miguel and holds him at gunpoint to lure Jim to him. He tells Jim he plans to recruit Miguel as a child soldier like he was, even trying to get Miguel to pull the trigger on Jim himself. Using what he learned from Jim, Miguel empties the magazine and has Jim fight Mauricio. He gets stabbed in the process, but when Miguel gets the gun, he hands it to Jim, and he shoots Mauricio in the stomach. He leaves him the gun with one bullet to give him his next choice. Mauricio gives Jim his medal back, and Jim and Miguel hear Mauricio turn the gun on himself as they leave.
Jim walks Miguel to his family’s house in Chicago, and they are elated to see him. Jim disappears and goes on a bus, where he notices the stab wounds again. He leans over and closes his eyes.
Jim Hanson is a former marine who encounters a Mexican woman, Rosa, crossing the border with her son Miguel, as they are running from cartel leader Mauricio. Rosa is killed and leaves Miguel in Jim's care with stolen cartel money and asks that he take him to family in Chicago. Mauricio and his men pursue after Jim shoots and kills his brother.
Jim bonds with Miguel on the road, even as they are pursued by the cartel and Jim's cop stepdaughter Sarah. Mauricio kills Jim's dog Jackson, as well as several other people in his pursuit of the two. They catch up to the two near a farm, but Jim kills three of Mauricio's thugs before facing off with him in the farm. Jim gets stabbed but manages to shoot Mauricio in the stomach before leaving him with one bullet to give him his last choice. Mauricio chooses to shoot himself.
Jim successfully brings Miguel to his family, but when he gets on the bus, it is implied that he may die from his stab wounds.