End of the Road ending explained: Does Brenda save her family?

Netflix’s End of the Road focuses on a single mother, Brenda (Queen Latifah), who accidentally gets on the wrong side of a criminal while on a road trip to Texas. With her brother Reggie (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and two children in tow, she faces immeasurable challenges on her quest for safety.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

End of the road opens with Brenda Freeman packing up her car and urging her children Kelly (Mychala Lee) and Cam (Shaun Dixon) to get ready for the road. Her brother Reggie also shows up just in time for their trip to Texas.

It is established that Brenda’s husband passed away due to cancer and due to financial troubles, they’re moving from California to Texas to live with her mother.

As they start their trip, we see them enter the desert lands of Arizona and the narrative shifts to two men receiving a bag of drug money from the Sinaloa cartel. They work for a notorious criminal named Mr. Cross who is feared around these parts.

One of the guys named Harvey Ruck (Jesse Luken) betrays his partner, kills him and escapes with the cash. Meanwhile, Brenda is forced to take a detour owing to some construction work on the road. They stop at a gas station where a couple of white guys eve tease Kelly.

She returns the favour by gesturing them to buzz off but it does not end there. The boys follow and harass the family, blocking their path. Reggie tries to teach them a lesson but Brenda refuses pointing out that they’re a black family and starting trouble won’t do them any good in this area.

She gets out of her car and asks them to leave politely. The two men turn out to be racist and make Brenda apologise for endangering their “white” lives, which frustrates her.

Putting this incident behind them, the family drives on and stops for the night at a place called Sunset Motel. Unfortunately, things gets worse when they hear a commotion from the adjacent room at 4 am.

Before they can see what’s happening, a gun goes off which terrifies everyone. Waiting for the perpetrator to leave, Brenda and Reggie go next door to check on the victim who turns out to be Harvey.

Being a certified nurse, Brenda tries to save him but is unable to. The next day, we see Captain J.D. Hammers (Beau Bridges) of the Arizona state Troopers arrive on the scene.

He is told about the incident by one of his men who also informs him about the Freemans. He further states that he took their statements and let them go.

Hammers reveals that an informant told him about Ruck and his partner’s orders to deliver a bag of money to Mr. Cross. The officer confirms that they found no bag of money in the room.

Meanwhile, Hammers is also concerned about Brenda and her family as they might have a target on their backs now since they can identify the killer’s voice.

While on the road, Brenda receives a call from Hammers who tries to talk her into coming back for their safety but she refuses. She then receives another call from one of Mr. Cross’ employees about a bag of money but thinks it’s a scam and hangs up.

End of the Road ending explained in detail:

Who takes the money?

While Brenda is trying to save Harvey, Reggie notices the bag of cash under the sink and steals it. He plans on surprising Brenda in Texas but she sees right through him.

He shows her the cash and as expected, Brenda is furious. Reggie sees this as an opportunity to start their lives over and be financially secure but his sister sees the obvious problem with the situation.

She tells him that if the people who killed Harvey come looking for them, it will be impossible for her to protect her children. Reggie doesn’t agree but Brenda has her mind made up.

She gets a call from the mysterious number again and admits to having the money. She lets the caller know that she intends to return it but on her own terms.

They drive to nearby inn called Center Star where Brenda securely puts the bag in a closet inside one of the rooms and leaves the key under the doormat. She calls the number, lets them know where they can collect the money from and leaves.

What happens to Cam?

Thinking that she’s done with this mess, Brenda takes everyone to visit a nearby attraction called Old West Town in Old Bravo. As the name suggests, the place is a recreation of old western towns for tourists.

Reggie confronts Brenda and accuses her ruining their future. She retaliates by preaching about doing the right thing. The family explores the place as Cam excuses himself to go to the toilet.

This is when things go wrong as Brenda gets a call from the same number. The voice on the other side confirms that Cam has been kidnapped by Mr. Cross and Brenda needs to bring the bag of money to the place where he wants.

Terrified, she leaves Kelly with Reggie and drives back to the inn for the bag.

Does Brenda get the bag?

At the inn, Brenda is horrified to see the bag missing. She gets out of the room and notices a young inn employee escaping with it. The thieving girl gets into her car and drives off as Brenda screams at her to stop.

She gives chase and eventually flips the girl’s car over. As she’s about to retrieve the bag, Brenda notices that they’ve crashed near a trailer park. The residents come out and corner her as the girl knocks her out.

Elsewhere, Hammers locates Reggie and Kelly and asks for information. He tells them that they won’t see Brenda and Cam alive if they don’t help him. Kelly opens up about their situation and he offers them a ride to his ranch for safety.

Brenda wakes up and attacks her captors and demands the money. They laugh at her but she manages to shock them to the core when she reveals that the money belongs to Mr. Cross.

This statement forces the residents to return all the money and Brenda rushes to save Cam.

Who is Mr. Cross?

As Hammers reaches his ranch, he introduces Reggie and Kelly to his wife Val (Frances Lee McCain). He then calls the duo to help him with something and opens his car’s trunk to reveal a tied up Cam inside it.

He then points a gun at them demanding his money revealing that he is Mr. Cross himself. The psychotic couple lock the three Freemans inside their basement as Cross calls Brenda to get the money.

The trio in the basement try to escape by breaking a window but a guard dog thwarts their attempts. Cross comes downstairs and Reggie instigates him with shrewd comments. They take this opportunity to throw bleach in his eyes and escape.

They eventually manage to overpower Val and now lock the couple in the basement. Brenda arrives at the property and is elated to see her family safe. They decide to leave the cash bag on the drive way and prepare to leave.

Do the Freemans escape?

Cross and Val escape, find the money bag but still come after the Freemans. A car chase ensues and the couple manages to overpower the escaping family.

Brenda fall out of the car which forces Reggie to stop. She begs Cross to kill her and let the others be as Val drives forward with the intention to run her over. Brenda uses this moment to throw a dynamite stick inside the oncoming vehicle, setting it on fire.

The car burns rapidly and Val accidentally shoots herself. Cross too gets thrown out when it crashes against a tree. As the Freemans leave, Cross’ car explodes. They all agree to not stop driving until they reach Texas.

The next scene sees them sitting at a diner and Reggie reveals that he took some money from the bag to help them with a fresh start. Brenda starts to protest but the kids convince her that they have no one to return the money to.

The film ends with the family enjoying their meal.

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