Paul (Grant) and Meryl (Parker) are a yuppie couple from New York City going through a separation when they witness a brutal murder. When the murderer actually comes after them, the government secretly whisks them off to a ranch owned by a marshal (Sam Elliott) and his wife (Mary Steenburgen) near the tiny town of Ray, Wyoming. While they are there, Paul and Meryl begin rebonding with each other, while the killer uses every method in the book to hunt them down.
Did You Hear About the Tropes?:
- Babies Ever After: Meryl and Paul have attempted this before, and they've been unsuccessful, kicking off the rift in their marriage.
- Bears Are Bad News: Paul certainly thinks so, developing a severe (although fairly rational) fear of the beast as soon as he sees a warning poster about them, and stocks up on anti-bear spray at the first opportunity. It does not help him.
- Brutal Honesty: Clay has an abundance of this. Reconstructed when he brusquely gets to the heart of the issue and tells Paul and Meryl to just make it work.
- California Doubling: Ray, Wyoming, is actually Roy, New Mexico.
- Close-Knit Community: Everyone in Ray leaves their keys in their cars in case anyone ever needs to borrow one.
- Dumb Blonde: Despite being a nurse, Kelly gets confused about what number comes after five.
- Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Discussed. Overall Paul comes across as a good adulterer. It happened once and he regrets it but Meryl is still treated fairly for being angry that he would cheat on her at all. Meryl is pretty much the same as she slept with someone else while they were already separated but Paul interprets it as her trying to get back at him.
- Happily Married: Clay and Emma. Emma mentions that they have had their struggles in the past but thinks that's normal for a couple who's been married as long as they have. Paul and Meryl by the end.
- I'm Thinking It Over!: Meryl invokes this trope:Cop: Would you rather die in New York or live somewhere else?Meryl: I'm thinking.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Clay manages to knock the killer unconscious with a thrown horseshoe.
- Pair the Spares: Paul and Meryl's assistants end up together.
- Rule of Symbolism: Deconstructed in the opening. Since he can't adopt a star as an apology gift, Paul's assistant offers that Paul could adopt a black hole for Meryl. Given how failure to start a family started the conflict, Paul is more than aware that a black hole might send the wrong message.
- Shoot Out the Lock: The killer does this to the lock and the deadbolt on Meryl's door without any damage to the doorframe or the deadbolt itself.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Paul's assistant does this to Meryl's assistant when she tries to contact the Morgans in violation of the witness protection. She tazes him in response. Although she's really sorry about it because she reacted on instinct thanks to her self-defense training.
- Witness Protection: Drives the plot of the film.