The independent Western, which was in production in Santa Fe before the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Thursday, contains a storyline about the accidental killing of a local rancher.

As details continue to emerge in the wake of the fatal shooting on the set of the Alec Baldwin film Rust, a more complete picture of the movie and the circumstances behind the incident are coming into view.

The story of the independent Western, set in 1880s Kansas, revolves around a 13-year-old boy who must take care of himself and his younger brother after the death of their parents. He "goes on the run with his long estranged grandfather after he's sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher," according to a plot summary posted to IMDb.

Baldwin plays the grandfather, an outlaw named Harland Rust. The actor compared the film to Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning revisionist Western Unforgiven in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter last year.

"In terms of tone, when I read it the first thing that came to mind is Unforgiven," Baldwin said. "That time was filled with some dark realities and some harsh realities."

A vehicle from the Office of the Medical Investigator enters the front gate leading to the Bonanza Creek Ranch on October 22, 2021 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was injured on set while filming the movie "Rust" at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico on October 21, 2021. The film's star and producer Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm that hit Hutchins and Souza.
The movie set of 'Rust'
| Credit: Sam Wasson/Getty

Baldwin is also a producer on the film and helped conceive the idea with writer-director Joel Souza.

"Joel read a story, which was basically the answer to a question: Who was the youngest person ever to hang in the American West?" the actor told THR. "And the answer was a very young kid; I think he was 13 or 14. But literally a boy. We don't have anything to do with the particulars of that case, but that was the seed of where Joel was going with this revenge drama."

Rust also stars Jensen Ackles, Travis Fimmel (Vikings), Frances Fisher (Watchmen), and Brady Noon, a young actor whose credits include Boardwalk Empire and The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.

The independent film was in production in Santa Fe, N.M., on the historic Bonanza Creek Ranch. Previous productions filmed there include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Easy Rider; Walker, Texas Ranger; the 2007 remake of 3:10 to Yuma; and the Coen brothers' The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

On Thursday, Baldwin discharged a firearm that was being used as a prop, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding Souza.

An affidavit from the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department stated that one of the film's assistant directors grabbed one of three prop guns that the film's armorer had prepared on set and handed it to Baldwin, before yelling, "Cold gun!," an industry term used to describe a gun that doesn't have any live rounds in it, The New York Times reported Friday. Per the affidavit, which was issued as part of a search warrant application, the assistant director "did not know live rounds were in the prop-gun" when he did this.

No charges have been filed, and the investigation is ongoing.

Rust set, Alec Baldwin
The Santa Fe set of 'Rust' (inset: Alec Baldwin)
| Credit: Sam Wasson/Getty Images; Inset: Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

The incident occurred hours after half a dozen members of the camera crew walked off the set to protest unsafe working conditions, reports the Los Angeles Times. A source told the Times that the protesting crew members, who were part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, were replaced by nonunion crew members. Witnesses also told the Times that Baldwin's stunt double previously fired two rounds from a gun he had been told was "cold."

"There should have been an investigation into what happened," a crew member said. "There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn't happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush."

The production did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment regarding the Times report but said it was launching an internal review of the fatal incident.

"The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company," Rust Movie Productions LLC said Friday in a statement to PEOPLE. "Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time."

Baldwin, meanwhile, addressed the fatal misfire Friday on social media.

"There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours," the actor tweeted. "I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."

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