The Burrowers is a 2008 Horror Western film written and directed by J. T. Petty. The film is based on an original short film, Blood Red Earth directed by Petty.
The year is 1879, and beyond the fringes of civilization a handful of pioneers maintain settlements while exploring the unknown territories. One night, a family from one of these settlements is brutally dragged into darkness by a group of unknown invaders. At first the kidnappers are thought to be hostile Native Americans, and a posse forms to bring the family back home safely. Venturing out into the unmapped territories is an Irish immigrant desperate to find his lost love, a naïve teen eager to prove his worth, a former slave seeking his fortune, and a hardened pair of battle-weary Indian fighters. But nature’s wrath and the tomahawks of hostile tribes are not the only threats that this group will be forced to confront, because as the bodies begin to multiply and the truth about the abductors gradually emerges, these rescuers will find out that there are forces in this world that cannot be described in human terms—and that seem to have motivations beyond our comprehension.
A species, called “Burrowers” by the Natives, used to subsist on buffalo. When white settlers depleted the buffalo, the species began to survive on human meat – first hunting nearby Indians and later the settlers. One tribe in particular, the Ute, have experience in combating the hunter-species. The “Burrowers” first lace their victims by cutting them and drugging them with a toxin. The victim is then buried alive and eaten only after decomposition has begun. By the time the film’s protagonists meet up with the Ute their numbers are severely depleted, but the Ute method of drugging someone already infected with “Burrower” toxin proves effective. When the “Burrowers” go to eat the twice drugged victim they themselves fall asleep and are vulnerable, especially to the rays of the sun, which are the only apparent thing that can kill them. However, the surviving member of the posse, the Irishman Coffey, is unable to discover exactly what the Ute used to drug the “Burrowers”, as most of the remaining Ute are executed by the overzealous cavalry. The film ends with the suggestion that the “Burrower” attacks will continue.
J.T Petty takes viewers on an unusual and frightening venture into the Horror Western with The Burrowers.