TV Recap: “Big Sky: Deadly TraiIs” Season 3, Episode 6 – “The Bag and the Box”

Welcome back to Helena, Montana with Episode 6 of Season 3 of Big Sky: Deadly Trails. This episode is about two specific items, titled “The Bag and the Box.” It’ll make a whole lot of sense once you’ve seen it. Without further ado, here is this week’s detailed episode recap.

It’s 2:12 am when Vicki Mendoza (Lisette Nichols) wakes up to a noise downstairs. Waking up her husband Diego (Rodrigo Rojas), he goes downstairs to confront what he thinks are raccoons in their garbage cans. But when Vicki hears him yell “Hey,” she rushes down to make sure Diego is okay. Opening the garage, she sees their black 1979 Firebird Trans Am peeling away, her husband motionless on the floor, a pool of blood fanning out under his head.



Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) has brought Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick) and Beau Arlen (Jensen Ackles) to the sight of the burned blue and white Suburban in the woods. The fire chief has confirmed that it was arson and as they inspect the truck, they find that the VIN was destroyed. But Cassie, a car buff, knows that sometimes a second VIN is included on the engine block. Jenny helps her open the hood as Beau steps away to answer a call. There is indeed a second VIN, which Cassie sends to Denise as Beau tells Jenny they have to go respond to a homicide.

Deeper in the woods, Walter (Seth Gabel) returns to his cabin and tells Paige (Madalyn Horcher) that he couldn’t find the bag in her tent. She gets flustered and asks him to look again, which makes Walter snap about how he’s a better person than her boyfriend Luke, suspecting that his mother may be the one who has the bag. Paige is confused, asking why Sunny would take it. “She has to clean up my messes,” he explains. Paige tells Walter that she knows he won’t hurt her and asks if he can try searching for the bag again. “Sure, I can do that,” he answers.

Deputy Poppernak (J. Anthony Pena) fills in Beau and Jenny when they arrive at the Mendoza house. The assumption is that this was a targeted attack to steal this specific black 1979 Firebird Trans Am. Shortly after, they get a report that the stolen car was found abandoned, and Jenny and Beau respond to the call, meeting Officer Knox Lister (Jonathan Flanders). “I figured she was about the prettiest thing I’d see this entire shift, but I guess I was wrong,” Knox says, trying to flirt with Jenny who rolls her eyes. Beau gets to work inspecting the car, finding that someone cut into the interior of the trunk, presumably looking for something. Looking in the engine, Beau finds that Diego had a GPS tracker on his car and he removes it. Jenny continues to dismiss Knox’s interests and he departs. Beau gives her a hard time, and she says “I don’t date cops, not anymore.” Turning their attention back to the car, they discuss that whoever stole it was more interested in finding something inside than in the car itself. Beau asks what it could be. “Something worth killing for,” Jenny responds.

Cormac (Luke Mitchell) stocks the bar at Sunny Day Excursions when Cassie walks onto the scene. They flirt briefly before she reveals that she didn’t stop by to see him, but to talk to his parents. He offers to take her to their tent. Before they enter, we see Sunny (Reba McEntire) and Buck Barnes (Rex Linn) discussing their plans to relocate Walter to a more remote cabin. Reading Sunny’s face, she is noticeably annoyed by Cassie’s arrival, but tries to hide it with her sugary smile. Cassie asks to speak with Buck alone, dismissing Cormac, but Sunny stays in place. “I wanted to ask you about a truck that’s registered in your name,” Cassie says, eliciting an immediate defensive response from Buck, who says he has a lot of vehicles registered to his name for his business. She informs them that a blue and white Suburban registered to Buck was set on fire not far from the camp last night. Sunny and Buck feed off each other’s lies, telling Cassie that it was sold about 10 years ago and from their memory, the buyer paid cash. When Cassie says it may have been involved in the death of the missing backpacker and shares that she saw it being driven by a suspicious person, describing the physical characteristics of Walter. Sunny tells Cassie that when they get back home after this group of campers leave, they will check their files in the attic to see if they have any details about who the truck was sold to. When Cassie leaves, Sunny’s smile vanishes as she tells Buck that she doesn’t like her.



Avery (Henry Ian Cusick), Carla (Angelique Cabral), and Emily (Cree Cicchino) eat breakfast together and the conversation quickly turns to Luke, who Emily says went off with the “Freaky new couple” instead of Mary. Carla reminds them that they were supposed to be done investigating Luke, which annoys Emily. “He’s the one who likes to snoop in tents,” she says before realizing that was supposed to be a secret. She mouths “Sorry” to Avery as he tells his wife that he was concerned by Paige’s disappearance, which is why he took a look. He says he wanted to make sure they were safe to avoid having to call Emily’s father, Beau. “I didn’t want to look weak,” he apologetically adds. This is a new version of the story to Emily, who was previously told that he entered Luke and Paige’s tent accidentally. She takes this opportunity to ask if he saw anything suspicious. “No, fortunately,” Avery says, keeping his eyes locked on his coffee cup.

Tonya (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) and Donno (Ryan O’Nan) have blackmailed Luke (Anirudh Bisharody) into a hike to retrace his steps in hopes that it will jog his memory about Paige’s disappearance. With nothing new coming to Luke’s mind, Tonya asks for more information about the $15 million she and Donno were sent to hunt them down for. Luke mentions that Paige’s journal has a secret phrase that unlocks the account containing the money. “I know the words but not the order it goes in,” he says. “Paige insisted on that.” While they talk, Donno examines a heart-shaped carving with a sticky red goo in a tree. “Maybe someone else took Paige,” he thinks out loud. “Someone you didn’t see coming.”

At the Sheriff’s Department, Popernak has discovered that there were only three of rare black 1979 Firebird Trans Ams registered in Montana – The one that Diego Mendoza was murdered over, another one that was already stolen and reclaimed, with damage reported in the trunk, and a third registered in Helena. This last one was previously registered to a man named Mickey Prescott, who was recently released from prison after serving time for robbery and burglary. Popernak theorizes that Mickey stashed something in the trunk before he was forced to part with it and that’s what he’s after.

Jenny and Popernak go to a motel and knock on door 207. Slowly, the door opens and a friendly older man, Mickey Prescott (Brad Leland), invites them inside. Asking about the car, he refers to it as “Delilah” and says he hasn’t seen it in two decades. When Jenny asks where he was last night, he says he was at the motel and they can go to the office to ask for the security footage to back up his alibi. “I did my time,” he says. “That old car is like all the crimes I committed, part of my ancient past.” Thanking him for his time, Jenny and Popernak leave.

Meanwhile, Beau goes to the home of the third registered black 1979 Firebird Trans Am, finding it parked in the driveway. Approaching the front door, he finds it ajar and nudging it open, sees a man (Chad Brummet) standing at the mantle. A little startled, Beau asks if the man is Craig Thorne and he invites him in when Beau asks about the car. Cut to the two enjoying a cup of coffee, with the man thanking Beau for warning him that his car might be a target. Beau notices that his breast pocket has a tear in it and when they hear a thumping sound, the man gets up and says it’s his dog. He walks away, but Beau’s expression has changed to one of suspicion. He goes to the mantle where the man was standing when he first entered and notices a framed photo is face down. Lifting it up, he sees a photo of the real Craig Thorne, a Black man standing proudly in front of his rare classic car. Beau pulls out his gun and follows the thumping sound down the hallway, opening a door and finding Craig bound and gagged. Hearing an engine start, Beau races outside and jumps on the hood of the Trans Am as it starts to drive away. Before he gets rolled off the hood by a sharp turn, he is able to place the magnetic tracker on the side of the car. Laying in the street, Beau pulls out his phone and calls Jenny.



Denise (Dedee Pfeiffer) enters Dewell & Hoyt with lunch for Cassie, who shares that she can’t find any record of a second owner of the white and blue Suburban. Denise shares that she once sold a car and carelessly forgot to transfer the title over. Cassie says she’s going to have a composite sketch done on the suspicious man she saw driving it. Denise asks for permission to go on some armchair detective message boards about unsolved murders to see if she can find anything about the Bleeding Heart Killer since there are bleeding hearts carved in the trees and a red heart on the foot of the wooden figure found on the dead backpacker’s body.

Through the trees, Walter watches campers on a hike. He doesn’t realize that he, too, is being watched… by Donno. The men address that neither of them are hikers with their absence of water bottles. Walter reveals the knife attached to his belt when Donno asks if he lives in the woods. Donno begins one of his famous unsettling anecdotes, this one about working in the back of a butcher shop and how lonely that job was. Turning sympathetic, Walter asks Donno what he’s looking for. He tells her about the missing woman, Paige. “I haven’t seen her,” Walter lies.

Back at the Sheriff’s Department, Beau limps into Jenny’s office to show her the location tracker he placed on the stolen car. As they watch, it suddenly disappears. Beau believes this to mean that the driver found the GPS device and removed it, but Jenny adds that he could’ve simply pulled into a place that blocks the signal, like a parking garage. They notice that one is right by the spot where the tracking stopped working. Cut to both Jenny and Beau in that structure, approaching the parked Firebird with their guns drawn. Going to the window, the driver is unconscious, blood leaking from a bullet wound in his chest. Shortly after, the body of the car thief is identified as Cecil Ezterhas. Jenny notices a prison tattoo on his elbow and she calls Popernak, who does a quick search and discovers that he was cellmates with Mickey Prescott.

Sunny and Beau wash horses when Cormac approaches, apologizing for bringing Cassie into their tent. Sunny says no apology is necessary and she hopes Cassie gets to the bottom of her case. “Kind of weird, though, you owning that truck before,” he says. Buck repeats the defense that he gave Cassie, that he owns a lot of trucks. “Tell me, you and Cassie got something-something going on?”, Sunny asks. Beau denies it. “Need to work on your poker face,” Sunny teases, asking her son to join them in washing the horses.



Jenny and Beau arrive at the motel and kick open the door to room 207. They find Mickey sitting at a table with a gun and a lockbox. “Let me guess, my idiot cellmate lead you here,” Mickey says as they instruct him to put his hands in the air. Jenny asks what’s in the box. “The ultimate collectible, way cooler than that Trans Am.” Beau offers that if he is compliant, they will open the box and give him one last look at it before he goes back to jail. He agrees and as Jenny handcuffs Mickey, Beau unlocks the box and reveals a Mickey Mantle autographed rookie cart, valued at several million dollars. Mickey tells them that this card and Delilah were the two things he cared about most in life. “Take your last look,” Jenny tells him. “It was worth it,” Mickey replies.

Walter returns to his cabin empty-handed, telling Paige that he met a dangerous man who is looking for her. She starts to freak out, telling Walter that she and Luke stole money and came to Sunny Day Excursions to hide out. Walter tries to calm her fears with an anecdote. “When I was younger I had a friend. Her name was Meredith. People who adopted me, they didn’t like her because she didn’t like the way they treated me. One day they hurt Meredith, they hurt her so bad, made me watch. I couldn’t protect her.” He tells her everything can be fixed, sharing that he burned his adoptive parent's home while they slept. “I made sure that they never hurt her again. I told you I’d protect you. I meant it.” Walter picks up a hatchet.

Campers are practicing archery at Sunny Day Excursions. Donno misses his bullseye and Tonya is shocked. He tells her about the man he met in the woods, saying he doesn’t believe that he didn’t see Paige. Down the line is Avery, Carla, and Emily. Avery impresses his wife by hitting the bullseye, revealing that he was a champion archer in high school. Emily points out that Mary was ditched again by Luke.

For the first time this episode, we see Mary (Sofia Embid), who is going for a solo jog on the trail. She stops to take a break, panting as she notices something odd. A pair of women’s underwear is on the ground. She moves closer and sees a pink hoodie. That leads her eyes to a half-buried cheetah print bag with a luggage tag with a bejeweled “P.” She begins to jog back to camp, but finds Sunny and Buck walking two horses on the trail. “Paige’s bag, I found it in the woods,” she gasps. Buck is ready to go help her, but Sunny steps forward and asks him to take the horses back to their stalls.

At The Boot Heel bar, Cassie shows Jenny and Beau the sketch she had made of the driver of the survivor. It looks just like Walter. Cormac walks in and goes to the bar, Cassie gets up to go see him. He asks if she’s found anything else out about the Suburban registered to his father’s name. He wants to know why she has so many questions for his parents. “I’m just doing my job and I’ve gotta follow the leads wherever they take me,” she says. “Yeah, I get that,” Cormac responds. “And I wanna help you. Just promise me one thing. Be straight with me. My parents may be a lot of things, but they’re good people.” Cassie tells him that she wants that to be true. “Maybe that’s the thing,” he adds. “So do I.”

Mary and Sunny walk toward the buried bag. “I think maybe Luke buried it after he killed her and then some animal dug it up,” Mary says, but then stops and realizes something. “You told everyone you heard from Paige, said she was safe and sound in New York,” she says. Sunny says maybe Luke used Paige’s cell phone to call her and throw her off the track. Sunny turns to continue on, taking a right at the form in the path. “How did you know it wasn’t that way?”, Mary asks not that Sunny is in the lead. Sunny stops and spins around, acting confused. “My mind is spinning with all this, is that the way?”, Sunny plays dumb. Mary remembers that Sunny is the one who checked Paige and Luke’s tent the night Paige went missing and that Luke was brought back to the camp injured, so he wouldn’t have had time to get back to camp, take Paige’s bag without anyone seeing him, and then go bury it in the woods. “This isn’t right,” Mary adds, turning around to run away from Sunny. But her path is now blocked by Buck. She turns back to face Sunny and yells for help, then gasps and falls forward into Sunny’s arms. Sunny looks over Mary’s shoulder and watches as Buck pulls a bloody knife away from Mary’s back.



That’s all for this week. Tune in next week on Wednesday, November 2nd at 10/9c on ABC for “Come Get Me.” Here’s the official episode description.

When shocking new evidence surfaces from the “Bleeding Heart Murder Case,” Jenny and Beau team up with Cassie and achieve a major breakthrough. Elsewhere, Buck struggles with his moral ambiguity, and cracks begin to form in his and Sunny’s marriage.

Alex Reif
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).