NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by David G

Young Helena (Brooklynn Prince) lives in the Northern Michigan wilderness with her mother, Beth (Caren Pistorius), and her father, Jacob Holbrook (Ben Mendolsohn). Beth calls Helena back to their small cabin, but Helena ignores the call and finds Jacob. Jacob teaches Helena how to track a deer through the forest; when they see it, Helena takes a shot but misses, disappointing Jacob. Back home, Jacob gives Helena a tattoo on her forearm as a “reward.” While hunting, Helena and Jacob encounter the paw of a trapped animal, and Jacob explains the animal gnawed its own arm off to escape. Helena’s hunting improves, and Jacob gives her more tattoos.

While Jacob is out one day, a man arrives lost on an ATV. Beth begs the man to help them and drive them away before Jacob returns, but Helena refuses to get on the bike, confused by what her mother is saying. Jacob returns and kills the man, but Beth knocks Helena unconscious and drives them away. Helena wakes up in the office of Sherriff Clark (Gil Birmingham), who promises her that she is now safe. Beth explains that Jacob kidnapped her and took her to the woods years before; Helena refuses to believe her mother, calling her a liar. Jacob helps Helena escape the station, but the police arrive and arrest Jacob.

Years later, adult Helena (Daisy Ridley) lives in suburbia and works a desk job. She covers up her facial tattoos every day with makeup. She picks up her daughter Marigold (Joey Carson). She takes her to a playground where she teaches Marigold about different types of birds and trees. They return home and join Helena’s husband, Stephen (Garrett Hedlund), for a work picnic. When Stephen’s colleagues ask about her background, Helena gives a made-up story.

On the highway, Jacob and another prisoner attack a guard, cause an accident, and escape. Helena returns to find police at her house; Special Agent Illing (Yanna McIntosh) informs her that Jacob has escaped, and they are searching to see if Helena and he have had any contact, which Helena is adamant has not happened. Stephen learns that Helena’s father is the “Marsh King,” a secret she had kept from him, and he is upset to have been left in the dark.

Helena watches news coverage that explains how Helena was born after Beth had been abducted and that Beth died from an apparent suicide four years earlier, having never recovered from the trauma. Stephen takes Marigold to a hotel for the night. Alone at home, Helena retrieves a hidden box of mementos from her childhood, including a hunting knife, wanders into the forest, and swims in an isolated lake. Jacob and the other inmate are picked up at a gas station by an accomplice. Sherriff Clark visits Helena to check on her; he laments that Beth never got a chance to meet Marigold. Helena explains that though Clark, Beth, and she became a family after the rescue, she felt Beth never wanted Helena around because she only saw Jacob in her. Clark assures her that Stephen will forgive her.

Illing tells Helena that they found Jacob’s body in a burnt-out car near the Canadian border based on three gold teeth in one of the bodies. Helena tells Stephen she stands by, not revealing the truth because she thinks Stephen would never have married her. Helena stops him from leaving and tells Stephen the truth about her childhood through the history of all her tattoos. Helena takes Stephen and Marigold to meet Clark, and he shares happy stories of Helena’s childhood. Clark reminds Helena that Jacob’s falsely appropriated many Native American traditions, and Helena should remember that Jacob was not a good man. Helena wakes up from a nightmare thinking Jacob has broken into their house, then discovers fresh dirt on the floor in the morning. She tracks the prints only to learn the dirt came from Marigold’s shoes.

At the farmers market, Helena hears a bird call and sees a man who resembles Jacob walk away. She chases after him, but he disappears in the crowd. Helena returned home and set up a series of traps around the house’s perimeter. Helena puts Marigold to bed and then has a memory from the wilderness of Beth giving her a straw doll. A bell on one of the traps goes off; she investigates and finds a dead rabbit strung up in a snare. Helena calls Clark, who tells her to move on, but her paranoia grows once she finds straw dolls in Marigold’s room.

Helena tells Stephen she has to do something but can’t tell him what; she buys supplies and then drives into the wilderness. Helena makes her way to her childhood cabin in the wilderness and finds it abandoned. Jacob shows up and repeatedly calls Helena “Little Shadow,” the nickname he gave her, and reveals he never stopped keeping track of her. Jacob is upset not to have met Marigold, and he explains he wants to take Helena and Marigold to Canada to be a family again, as their life in the wild was perfect. Helena explains she has a new family and remembers the time she saw Jacob attempt to drown Beth for trying to escape. Jacob says he did not kidnap Beth, but instead, they had run away together, and everything Helena has been told is a lie. Helena insists this is the end of their story and asks Jacob to leave her and her family alone; he agrees, and they hug goodbye.

Back at the cabin, Helena finds Clark, who has followed her. She confesses to him that Jacob was there but is now gone, but Jacob reappears, shoots and kills Clark, then throws and traps Helena in a pit. Jacob leaves, saying he will get Marigold so they can be a family. Helena manages to escape and retrieves Jacob’s hidden hunting rifle from the cabin. She tracks Jacob as he escapes in a canoe down the river and shoots him out of the canoe. Helena continues to stalk Jacob through the wilderness, using Jacob’s lessons as guidance. Jacob hides in the marshland and shoots Helena in the leg, then forces her to lead him to the kayak that she used to get there. Helena tells Jacob that she always blamed her mother for everything that happened but finally knows the truth about Jacob.

Helena throws herself and Jacob off a cliff into the river, badly injuring them both. Helena retrieves a gun and shoots Jacob in the head just before he does the same, telling him she remembers his lesson to always protect her family. Helena kayaks back to civilization and her family, leaving Jacob’s body in the riverbed.