The English is a historical western drama about a woman who travels across America with revenge on her mind. Along the way she meets a Native American who helps her get to her destination. The series is now streaming on Prime Video.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
A woman reminisces about her past and a man she deeply cared about. 13 years earlier in 1890, a couple of American soldiers kill a Native American named Running Hawk. They plan to kill his wife and son too but a Native American soldier orders them not to.
The native is Sergeant Eli Whipp of the Pawnee nation who served as a scout in the army. Following his service, he plans to head back to Nebraska where he was born and take claim to some land that is his right.
A week later, Cornelia arrives at a hotel in the middle of nowhere and is welcomed by Richard Watts. She’s come from England by herself and Watts offers to show her a Native American for the first time.
He has Eli tied up and claims that Eli walked into his establishment and asked for a drink but because his skin is a different colour, he deserves punishment. Cornelia offers to pay for his freedom but Watts knocks her out cold instead.
He lets Eli go without his belongings and plans to have his way with Cornelia before killing her. Eli returns later and kills Watts and his men, saving Cornelia in the process. She says that she is headed to Wyoming and asks Eli to help her get there.
Eli isn’t too keen on it but decides to go along with her. In Wyoming, Thomas Trafford is an Englishman who deals in cattle over there. He is called away by his right-hand man, Thin Kelly, to an urgent matter.
They head to the nearby town of Hoxem to talk to Sheriff Marshall because Trafford’s cattle were attacked and their calves were pulled out. Trafford believes that it’s the work of the Irishmen settling in this newly found town established by a man named Melmont.
Cornelia and Eli are making their way across the great plans. Cornelia’s son passed away and she’s looking for the man responsible to take revenge.
A couple of bandits corner a German Mennonite with a pregnant wife. They want to take all that he has and kill the man while leaving the wife to fend for herself.
Eli helps Cornelia with her shooting and teaches her how to find her way if she’s on her own. Cornelia says that she’s quite handy with a bow and arrow as well.
Along their way, they see a Native American couple with an allotment of land. They remain vigilant and later on, run into the bandits that killed the German. Despite the numbers disadvantage, they kill the bandits.
They find the German’s carriage with the wife inside. Eli says that it’s too late for the mother but he can still save the baby. Cornelia also finds a young girl hidden in a compartment in the carriage.
They’re not sure what to do with the children so they take them to the farm belonging to the elderly Native American couple. The couple tells them that the rest of the Mennonites are a couple of days’ ride away in the opposite direction.
Cornelia decides to go there with the children while Eli stays behind at the farm and waits for her. A man named Timothy Flynn kills his wife and himself near Hoxem. His friend Billy Myers is worried about him.
Trafford gets into a dispute with Billy’s wife, Martha over cattle. Martha’s cattle wandered out into the range because of a broken fence and Trafford’s men took them in as their own according to the law. Billy is later found gutted and displayed for all to see.
Eli feels that there is something shady about the couple at the farm. Cornelia runs into a woman named Black Eyed Mog and her two sons but they let her go peacefully.
Eli finds out that the couple informs the bandits of anyone that passes by and then takes a cut. They put something in his food and he falls unconscious when he’s trying to leave.
Cornelia reunites the children with the rest of their clan but the Mennonites tell her that the couple is involved in the deaths in that area. She rushes back to the farm and only finds the woman. She kills her and then waits for the man so that she can find out where he took Eli.
He tells her that Eli was delivered to a Native American named Kills on Water. Kills on Water questions Eli about something he saw back when he was in the army.
In 1875, Thomas Trafford, Thin Kelly and David Melmont arrived in Wyoming to clear up the land for cattle rearing. Melmont was responsible for making sure Trafford’s finances were in check because he had a history of failed endeavours.
Along their journey, they come across a camp of Cheyenne Natives. They avoid them but later on, they meet some soldiers who went AWOL, Jerome McClintock, Billy Myers and Timothy Flynn. The soldiers are looking for Native Americans to kill and Melmont offers to show them.
Trafford doesn’t want any part of it and they knock him out and leave him with Kelly while they massacre the village. Eli was sent there to look for the soldiers and when he finds them, he chooses to keep his mouth shut about what happened.
Trafford and Kelly reported Melmont and the soldiers at the nearest fort so they got dishonourably discharged and Melmont was jailed. When Melmont got out, he visited Cornelia in England because she was supposed to be Trafford’s fiance.
He tells her that Trafford needs money because he was arrested but Cornelia eventually learns the truth thanks to letters from him. Melmont rapes her and takes the money from her house. She eventually becomes pregnant with Melmont’s child.
Kills on Water offers Eli his freedom if he kills Black Eyed Mog who is a competitor in the bandit business. Cornelia learns this from the man at the farm and she visits Cornelia to kill her. She rescues a Native American boy there and he follows her as she goes to free Eli.
Eli and Cornelia continue on their way but realize that the boy following them has been taken. Meanwhile, Sheriff Marshall is trying to find out more about the deaths of Timothy and Billy. He learns about the Chalk massacre where they killed the Cheyenne tribe with McClintock and Melmont.
Eli tracks the boy to the camp of a cable company where some white men plan to send him to a Christian school. Eli notices that one of the Native American women is Running Hawk’s widow and remembers that the boy is her son. He informs her and she frees him.
The boy leaves with Eli and Cornelia but the man who owns the camp fires at them with a long-range rifle. He gets the boy’s horse but doesn’t get the boy or any of the others. The boy’s mother back at camp shoots the man with a rifle.
Eli fends off the men that come after them but Cornelia falls due to some sickness. Eli takes her and the boy to find a doctor and he finds a man called Flathead Jackson who says he’s a doctor of the mind.
It is revealed that Cornelia is suffering from syphilis which she got when she was raped. Her son had it too and died at the age of 14. The Sheriff finds out that Martha was also raped by Melmont and then forced to marry Billy.
With Cornelia’s truth clear to Eli, they head towards Wyoming to meet their destiny.
The English (2022) ending explained in detail:
What happens to Thomas Trafford?
Thomas is constantly harassed by Melmont so he decides to take his cattle up north to Alberta. He sends Kelly up ahead to get everything ready for his arrival.
Kelly never makes it and later shows up at Martha’s farm, all shot up. Thomas’s manager comes across Cornelia and Eli a while later and tells them that they were hit by a flash flood where all the cattle were washed away.
He also says that Thomas was caught in the flood and even though they could have saved him, he didn’t want to be saved. Thomas dies before Cornelia can ever see him again.
What happens on Martha’s farm?
The Sheriff is with Martha when they see Kelly walk up to the farm. They rush to him and that’s when Eli and Cornelia arrive with the Sheriff’s deputy.
All the pieces fall into place as the sheriff’s deputy says that he found out about the massacre and how Melmont picked up syphilis from a prostitute at the whorehouse they were caught in after.
Martha worries that she and her son might have it too but Cornelia confirms that since they haven’t shown any signs of the illness, she must have been with Melmont while he was in the latent phase and thus, they weren’t infected.
Right then, they are visited by Jerome McClintock, who is at a very advanced stage of the illness. He climbs on top of their cabin and begins firing on them with a Gatling gun. Eli gets out and gets a few shots on McClintock before he rides away.
The notice that Martha’s son is headed to where Melmont is because he now knows what his mother went through.
Who kills David Melmont?
The Sheriff and Martha head towards Melmont while Eli and Cornelia look for McClintock. They eventually come across his dead body and arrive at Melmont’s camp before the others.
Cornelia confronts Melmont but Melmont is the least bit bothered. Cornelia pulls out her gun but cannot shoot him. Right then, Martha shows up and shoots Melmont.
They check up on Cornelia who also collapsed but wasn’t hit. Melmont is still alive so Eli takes a knife and stabs him in the heart.
What happens to Cornelia?
The Sheriff says that he’ll cover up for Melmont’s murder but Eli and Cornelia need to get out of there and go their separate ways. Cornelia doesn’t want to let go of Eli because of the bond they have built during this journey but Eli says that it is time.
They go on different paths after an emotional goodbye.
13 years later, Cornelia is back in England and now she’s riddled with the effects of syphilis. She visits Flathead Jackson’s travelling circus which is in town. She helped finance it back when they first met.
She also asked him to take care of the young Native American boy whose name was White Moon. He’s all grown up now and she meets with him, giving him a memento that Eli gave her when they parted.
He thanks her for saving his life once again and she leaves, finally at peace.