Strange Wilderness (2008) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • With the ratings dropping for a wilderness-themed television show, two animal fans go to the Andes Mountains in search of Bigfoot.

  • When his father dies, Peter Gaulke inherits "Strange Wilderness," dad's TV show about animals. After ratings plummet and the show is canceled, we watch a long flashback to see its demise. The studio head gives the show two more weeks. An old friend brings a story about Bigfoot in Ecuador, so a long road trip ensues with stops along the way and enough problems, misjudgments, and deaths to sink a less intrepid band. Peter's team faces competition from a better-funded and more practiced set of rivals. Who will find Bigfoot first, and will they get it on tape and save the show? Can Peter make dad proud?


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The movie begins with a few wildlife show bloopers hosted by an elderly man. Shifting to Peter Gaulke talking on the phone, you find that the elderly host is Peter's recently deceased father. Peter inherited the wildlife show, called "Strange Wilderness", but admits he is not as talented as his father.

    He begins to tell his story, which began some months back. With Peter hosting, it becomes obvious that his crew is nowhere near professional and even Peter lacks knowledge of wildlife. This leads to inappropriate scenes and the stating of wildely fictitious animal facts. The crew comprises boom operator Fred, cameraman Milas, Milas's stoner nephew Junior, and lazy laborer Cooker. Peter and Fred meet with their executive, Ed Lawson, who tells them he's cancelling Strange Wilderness in two weeks and is now promoting a new show with famous wildlife host Sky Pierson.

    Desperate to save his show, Peter fortunately meets with an old friend of his dad, Bill Calhoun, who claims to have discovered Bigfoot in South America. The mentally unstable Bill asks Gaulke for one thousand dollars in exchange for the map to Bigfoot. Out of respect, Bill claims to have come to Gaulke first but if Gaulke could not give him the money, he was instead going to sell the map to Pierson. Gaulke convinces Bill to hold to on the map for a few days as Gaulke raises the money to bring to Bill's home.

    Milas informs Gaulke he won't be able to make the trip because of his late age but ensures that his nephew can handle the job. Gaulke hires a "wildlife handler" named Whitaker, an alcoholic car mechanic. They pool their money and start for Bill's cabin in an RV. Gaulke's friend Danny and a new public relations agent named Cheryl join the crew. A little way into the trip, Fred spots sea lions prompting Gaulke to shoot footage. Danny dresses in a giant sea lion costume, intending to get close up shots. Danny is attacked by a shark and seriously wounded. The crew uses their money to pay for Danny's treatment, leaving them broke.

    After a run in with some latino gang bangers, Gaulke and Fred are forced to visit a dentist after having their teeth knocked out. While waiting, Junior manages to steal a tank of nitrous from the dentist to sell and get their money back. Unfortunately the tank begins to leak in the RV causing the crew to go on a two day long nitrous bender. They arrive at Bill's cabin to find out Bill already sold the map to Pierson after being unable to contact Gaulke. Bill is extremely paranoid and needed the money to keep up with his needs for antipscychotics. He has multiple cameras in his home and deduces that he can make out the map for Gaulke from the footage of Pierson's visit. The footage shows Pierson having sex with Bill's wife, enraging Bill and prompting him to hook Gaulke up with a discount for hiring a successful tracker named Gus Haden who would navigate them to their destination.

    Leaving Bill's cabin, Gaulke discovers baby turkeys while urinating. The mother turkey attacks the exposed Peter and winds up with Peter's penis lodged in its throat. It's discovered the turkey was part of a government study and locating the turkey yields the crew a five thousand dollar reward. At the Mexican border, Gaulke pisses off the border agents and they wind up with their RV torn apart and Gaulke walking funny after an assumed cavity search. Once released, the crew takes a plane for the rest of the journey and meet up with a man named Dick who leads them to Gus Haden. During the night, Gus Haden steals all of the crew's possessions, along with the map, and disappears with Cheryl. The crew tries to proceed with Dick as their new guide, but while crossing a river Dick is killed and eaten by piranhas.

    Cheryl returns to their group, claiming she found Gus stealing their stuff and convinced him to take her with him. She managed to get the map after doing a sexual favor for Gus, so the crew drudges on. Sky Pierson and his crew are discovered dead, killed by the natives, leaving behind their firearms that the crew then picks up. They eventually find Bigfoot's cave and Gaulke begins a voiceover with the cameras rolling.Behind Gaulke's back, Bigfoot emerges from the cave, stretching and yawning. Noticing the crew, a confused Bigfoot manages to say "Huh?" before the panicked crew guns him down. In an effort to rescue the story, the crew hangs Bigfoot in his cave so as to make it appear as though he committed suicide, despite the obvious, bloody bullet wounds. Ed Lawson rejects Gaulke, leading to the crew fighting each other and disbanding. It's returned to the beginning scene, where Gaulke is talking on the phone, having concluded his story. Milas visits Peter in his apartment, convincing him to not give up and to reassemble the crew. In the final Strange Wilderness clip, the crew, along with a now healed Danny, taunts the great white shark that attacked in the sea lion scene. It then concludes with Ed Lawson praising Gaulke, stating that people love sharks. With Pierson now dead, Lawson approves putting Strange Wilderness back on the air, much to the suprise of Gaulke and Fred.

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