‘Dark Winds’ Episode 6 Recap & Ending, Explained: Does Joe Leaphorn Capture James Tso and Frank Nakai?

At the end of “Dark Winds” Episode 5, we saw Joe Leaphorn waiting for the right moment to pounce on Frank Nakai while lying down over a boulder. Jim returns to Navajo and arrives at the police station. Bernadette takes Whitover along with her to Canyon de Chelly, James Tso’s house location. “Dark Winds” Episode 6, the season finale, brings all the characters together for the final confrontation. The question is, will Joe be able to bring James and Nakai to justice?


Spoilers Ahead

Dynamite in the Sand

Five weeks before the armored car heist, agent Whitover approaches James Tso and tells him that he wants to be a part of their upcoming heist. Their helicopter pilot tipped him off about their plan, and now they can choose to either get arrested or cut Whitover in. He even offers them a new pilot. He promises to make sure that they won’t get caught.


The sun has set. Jim rushes into the police station looking for Bernadette and finds out that she, accompanied by Whitover, has left for Canyon de Chelly. He contacts Bernadette via radio immediately and talks to her in the Dine dialect so that Whitover can’t understand what they are talking about. He tells her that Whitover is involved in the case. As soon as she tells him that she is headed towards the place where they found the helmet, he sets out behind her. When Whitover asks her what she was talking about, she lies to him, saying that it was about a “cattle rustler.”

Back at Canyon de Chelly, we see Nakai setting up a dynamite detonator as Joe observes discreetly. Bernadette and Whitover arrive at the location, where Bernadette manages to slip away to look for Joe while Whitover takes a leak. Meanwhile, inside the cave, James and Nakai plan their escape, knowing that the police are already on their way. They tell the Mormon guy to drive to Devoted Dan, using their car that’s there inside the cave, and bring back a van. When he gets back, all of them will leave together in the van. Nobody would pay any heed to a Mormon family with two criminals on the loose. The guy leaves in a car that was there inside the cave. The guy leaves the cave in the car. If the guy tries something else, James tells Nakai that they will blow up the cave with the Mormon family in it. They will pay for all the Navajo lives lost in the oil rig explosion. All this is heard by Joe, who has already made his way inside the cave and is hiding inside a cavity formed within it. Outside, Bernadette watches as the car [the Mormon guy] passes her by at a distance.


As Joe tries to peep in through a hole, he knocks some pebbles and dust off. This alarms James and Nakai, who start looking into the cavity. They fire shots into the cavity, which are unable to hit Joe, but their sound reaches Bernadette’s ears outside. Nakai and James then start blocking the outlets of the cavity with rocks to seal in whoever is inside. All that remains is one hole, under which they light a fire to suffocate Joe to death.

Change of Route

The Mormon guy’s car overturns somehow. This was noticed by Guy and a friend of his who were also going somewhere in their car. They rush to help him, who tells them that his family needs help and directs Guy towards the cave. Guy tells his friend to take the guy to a doctor and heads, with a gun, in the direction of the cave. Meanwhile, Jim, who has arrived at Canyon de Chelly and is looking for Bernadette, comes face-to-face with Whitover. When he realizes that Jim has come back to help Joe, he shoots Jim. It is a flesh wound on his right hand. Jim falls unconscious. Whitover begins looking for Bernadette, who has already reached the entrance of the cave and can see the light from a fire burning inside. Whitover, too, notices smoke coming from the cave, thanks to the fire that James and Nakai lit, and heads towards it. Bernadette enters the cave and finds the Mormon wife and two daughters and takes them out with her. On the other side of the cave, Joe manages to wound James by dropping bullets from his revolver into the fire underneath, which explodes, and the shards hit James in his leg. When he and Nakai decide to escape and take the Mormons with them, they find that the woman and her kids are missing. Joe manages to escape the cavity and finds himself in front of a car. Realizing that James and Nakai might use it to escape, he uses his knife to puncture one of the tires. Bernadette brings the mother and her daughters out and tells them to go to her cruiser at the beach at the bottom of the quarry and radio for help. Just then, she sees Jim.


 ‘Dark Winds’ Ending Explained- What Happens to James Tso?

Inside the cave, James and Nakai start packing the money when Whitover arrives and points a gun at them. Joe, too, reveals himself holding a gun at the two. However, Whitover puts his gun on Joe’s forehead, thereby revealing to Joe that he is involved in the case. Whitover shoots Nakai and Joe, takes his cut of the money, and comes out of the cave. Nakai is dead, but Joe is hurt. James too bids his brother goodbye and leaves with the money. Whitover finds the dynamite detonator and starts setting it up when he sees Jim and Bernadette walking toward him with guns pointed at him. Jim tells Bernadette to go inside the cave and check for Joe. She pulls Joe out of the pit he had fallen into. Meanwhile, Whitover tries to woo Jim by offering him some of his money. However, Whitover is shot by Guy, who hears him abusing his daughter. Jim takes Guy’s gun and tells him to leave. Bernadette comes out of the cave and sees Whitover dead. She and Jim shift Whitover’s body inside the cave while Joe goes after James. Realizing that Joe will eventually find out what happened with Whitover, both decide to blow up the cave using the dynamite. Jim even brings the bag of money inside the cave so that it, too, gets destroyed. Joe reaches James’s house, where James catches him off guard and takes his gun away. It is then revealed how James, along with all the other kids, was abused by the church school, and that is the reason why he burnt the church down before escaping. He killed his grandfather out of rage as he had sent James back to school after he ran away from it. Violating Anna Atcitty was also a result of his rage. Realizing what he has done and keeping in mind that he is about to be a father, James is about to shoot himself. Jim tries to stop him, but James tells him to get out of the house. James then shoots and kills himself. Jim and Bernadette blow up the cave by detonating the dynamites.

Joe, Emma, Bernadette, Sally, Guy, and Helen are all standing by a fire. Emma puts her son Joe Jr.’s jacket into the fire, an act of letting go. Sometime later, we see Jim at his childhood Navajo house. He has quit his FBI job. Joe arrives and tells him that the cave has been excavated, but Nakai is missing. And with the FBI being tight-lipped about the whole case as it could ruin their reputation big time, it seems that whatever happened inside the cave will never see the light of day. “Dark Winds” Episode 6 ends with Joe shaking Jim’s hand and leaving for his home, where Emma, Sally, and her baby are waiting for him.

Given that Frank Nakai never really wanted to hurt anyone, including the Mormon family, it is a good thing that he managed to escape. All that he wanted to do was for the betterment of the Navajo people. And it was James Tso who manipulated him and lied to him for his own purposes. Now that the case is finally closed, perhaps Nakai can find a new life. Joe, too, has a family to care for. As for Jim, he will probably return to Navajo, where he has Bernadette waiting for him.

Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata’s greatest regret is the fact that he won’t be able to watch every movie and show ever made. And when he isn’t watching a movie or a show, he is busy thinking about them and how they are made; all while taking care of his hobbies. These include the usual suspects i.e. songs, long walks, books and PC games.

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