‘Gold’ Ending Explained: Does Zac Efron’s character survive?

Gold Plot Synopsis

Sometime in the near future, Zac Efron’s unnamed character (he is listed as Man One) arrives at a desert outpost to meet a man who is supposed to take him to a place called the Compound for work. As arranged, the man turns up (he is listed as Man Two) and Man One hops into the man’s vehicle to begin the long journey to his eventual destination.

It’s not long before the car gets a puncture so the two men are forced to take a break. Man One gets his first look at the harshness of the desert landscape and watches in surprise as a wild dog injures another animal and eats its meat. The dog is relying on its survival instincts, of course, and Man One has to rely on these himself when the car breaks down a second time and he is left alone in the desert wilderness.

Does he survive his plight? Read on to find out more.

Why does Man One find himself alone?

Man Two manages to fix the puncture but the car breaks down again. As the two men try to find a way to repair the vehicle, they spot something glittering beneath the sand and stone of the desert around them.

As is obvious from the title of the movie, the shiny material they find is a huge chunk of gold. Unfortunately, it’s stuck in the ground and to get it out, the men need to get hold of an excavator. Luckily, Man Two knows just where to find one and after repairing the car, he asks Man One to stay behind to protect the gold from any other human beings.

Is Man One’s life in danger?

Well, the very fact that he is left alone under the sweltering heat is dangerous enough, although he does manage to create himself a shelter. But there are other threats to his life, including a scorpion that pops up out of the ground intermittently, a snake, and the possibility of dehydration and starvation as his food and water supplies start to run out.

Later in the movie, Man One also has to flee from a sandstorm and this threatens to wipe him out. Then there are the wild dogs that patrol the desert looking for food. Man One manages to fend these off with a lit torch but they are constantly on the prowl, waiting for him to collapse under the desert heat.

Does anybody arrive to help Man One?

After struggling alone for a while, a woman turns up on foot to guide Man One to a nearby waterhole. However, Man One is mistrusting of her as he is worried that she might be after his gold. After the two get into a fight, Man One strikes her with a shovel, kills her, and sets fire to her body.. or does he?

It might be that the woman is just an illusion as it is clear that Man One is starting to mentally unravel. When an identical woman turns up later claiming to be the dead woman’s sister, it seems likely that she is an illusion too.

Does Man One make it out of the desert alive?

Man One’s only hope of survival is Man Two but despite his promise that he would return with the excavator, he fails to show up.

Therefore, Man One is left to fend for himself against the harsh desert elements and the dangerous wildlife.

Unfortunately, both his mind and his body weaken and he is left helpless when the wild dogs arrive to have another go at him. This time, they manage to overcome Man One and they hungrily tear flesh from his body.

As can be expected, Man One does not survive this attack, but hey, at least he gave the dogs the opportunity to survive another day.

Does Man Two ever return?

In a last-minute reveal, it would seem that Man Two didn’t travel very far at all. He has been standing on a nearby hillside watching Man One battle the desert alone. Wanting the gold for his own selfish desires, he obviously decided to wait until Man One had perished before claiming the hidden treasure for himself.

After Man One has become dog food, Man Two heads to the gold’s location. But before he can claim his prize, an arrow appears out of nowhere and kills him.

As to who fired the arrow, we never get to find out. Could it be the dead woman’s sister? If she wasn’t an illusion, this could be likely. Or it could simply be another passerby that was lying in wait to get the gold for themselves? In the desert, it’s a dog eat dog world as men (and women) will do anything they need to do to survive and gain victory over another.

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