Wild America (film)

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This article is about the film. For the television show, see Wild America (TV series).
Wild America
Wild America poster.jpg
Wild America theatrical poster
Directed by William Dear
Produced by Gary Barber
James G. Robinson
Irby Smith
Mark Stouffer
Steve Tisch
Bill Todman Jr.
Written by David Michael Wieger
Music by Joel McNeely
Cinematography David Burr
Edited by O. Nicholas Brown
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • July 2, 1997 (1997-07-02)
Running time
106 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $7,324,662[1]

Wild America is a 1997 adventure comedy film directed by William Dear, written by David Michael Wieger, and starring Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Devon Sawa and Scott Bairstow. Based on the life of wildlife documentarian Marty Stouffer.


The film opens in the summer of 1967 with Marshall Stouffer (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) being chased by his two older brothers, Mark (Devon Sawa) and Marty (Scott Bairstow). The two oldest brothers love using Marshall to film him in stunts, which he dislikes. Occasionally Marty and Mark will show footage of their antics in their garage to all their friends. Time and time again, Marshall secretly gets revenge on his brothers' pranks against him by pulling diminutively malicious stunts like cleaning the toilet with his brothers' toothbrushes, and filling their canteens with downstream river water that they were at that current time urinating in.

Mark and Marty have a dream of filming dangerous animals around the country, and the dream starts when they find a rare, special camera in a shop where they have their films developed. Much against Marty Sr.'s (their father's) recommendation, Agnes (their mother) loans them the money she was saving up and they begin planning their trip. Their father is against this idea.

The three brothers start camping. First, they miss a shot at catching an eagle, then go to film some alligators, and start by seeing a man who was attacked by an alligator. As they go in a swamp on a boat, Mark throws some bait but it lands in the trees, trying to retrieve it, his clothing gets stuck in a branch underwater and he starts to drown, Marshall and Marty drive the boat in attempts to save him, but it crashes into another branch, which sends Marshall flying into the water. Marshall gets a knife from Marty and cuts Mark loose, but Marshall is now dealing with a bigger problem; he and the alligator are face to face. Marshall is able to get back on the boat in time. When they get back to the hut, the alligator man (Strango) tells them about how back when he served in the Korean War he befriended a fellow soldier named Phil. Strango and Phil would exchange stories about their wilderness adventures. Strango would talk about hunting alligators and Phil would tell tall tales about bears. This rouses Marty's attention and he asks about it. Strango states that Phil was talking about a cave full of hundreds of bears somewhere "out West."

They drive northwest until they reach Devil's Playground in Colorado, "the last home of the wild American wolf." Devil's Playground is located on government protected land. They catch footage of a wolf creeping up on a doe. Then as the wolf is about to ambush the doe there is a series of explosions. The brothers look up and see two F-4 Phantoms flying overhead. The pilots see the brothers and turn around, firing missiles at them eventually hitting a giant boulder knocking the three down. As they get up a herd of wild horses comes thundering towards them. They get in the truck just in time to film it. When the horses pass Marshall sees an owl that looks a lot like his owl Leona. The three follow it and discover a cave. On the wall of the cave is an ancient Indian drawing of a cave filled with bear-shaped figures. Marty and Mark draw it on Marshall's chest and show it to an old Indian woman. The woman tells them that it's located near Arapaho Peak in Montana.

They display their film at the school gym, and everyone claps, but when their adversarial affiliate DC makes a rude comment, their dad begins to applaud, having the crowd cheer and clap. DC, who is always being a "devil's advocate" from the beginning, becomes the only one who wants his money back, which he gets from Marty Sr., but everyone else comments all of the brothers with compliments. Marshall and his Dad smile at each other at the end, and there is a dialogue telling where the family ended up going after that.



  1. ^ Wild America Box Office Mojo

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