The year is 1870, and a fragmented America still strains to pick up the pieces from a savage Civil War. Martha (exciting newcomer Clare Bowen) and her husband Heck (David Call, Tiny Furniture) are living on a homestead that Martha’s father purchased on the rural New Mexico frontier, and struggle to make ends meet. When a mining company expresses interest in buying their land, Martha and Heck see their ticket to a better life.
Their hopeful plans are soon complicated when Martha’s oldest brother Wade (Barlow Jacobs, Shotgun Stories)—whom she had thought killed during the war —returns to the family homestead after learning of their father’s death. A defector to the Union Army, Wade soon discovers that Martha is hiding secrets of her own. As the two siblings become reacquainted, torn between a desire to reconcile with the only family they have left and their clashing convictions, tension and suspicion continue to mount. Filmed on location in the rugged high desert of northern New Mexico, Dead Man's Burden, shot in the style of a classic western, marks Jared Moshé’s directorial debut.