King of the Grizzlies is a 1970 adventure film directed by Ron Kelly and written by Jack Speirs, Rod Peterson and Norman Wright as a loose adaptation of Ernest Thompson Seton's 1900 novel Biography Of A Grizzly. The film stars John Yesno, Chris Wiggins, Hugh Webster and Jack Van Evera. The film was released on February 11, 1970, by Buena Vista Distribution.[1][2]

King of the Grizzlies
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRon Kelly
Screenplay byJack Speirs
Rod Peterson
Norman Wright
Based onThe Biography of a Grizzly
by Ernest Thompson Seton
Produced byWinston Hibler
StarringJohn Yesno
Chris Wiggins
Hugh Webster
Jack Van Evera
Narrated byWinston Hibler
CinematographyReginald H. Morris
Edited byG. Gregg McLaughlin
Music byBuddy Baker
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution
Release date
  • February 11, 1970 (1970-02-11)
Running time
93 minutes
CountriesUnited States



Moki, a Cree Indian in the late 19th-century West, works as a foreman on the ranch belonging to his former Army commanding officer, Colonel Pierson. Moki wears the sign of the tribal totem on his hand—a four-toed track, the mark of the grizzly bear. A grizzly bear invades Pierson's land and kills a steer. Pierson shoots the bear and one of her cubs, missing the other. The surviving cub falls over a cliff and into a river and is swept downstream.

Moki searches for the cub and learns that it has only four toes on one of its feet. He names it Wahb, which means four-toed grizzly. He captures the bear, and sets him free on the outskirts of Pierson's land. Wahb survives and grows to maturity. At 3 years of age, Wahb appears and frightens a ranch hand, whereupon Pierson orders Moki to trap the bear; but Wahb avoids capture.

Several years later, Moki encounters Wahb in the mountains. As the bear does not harm him, Moki concludes that a mystical tie binds Wahb's destiny with his own. Wahb reappears on the Pierson ranch at roundup time and stampedes the cattle. Pierson sets out to kill Wahb, but the wily bear doubles back and begins to track his pursuer. Moki attempts to warn Pierson of his danger but to no avail. Pierson meets the bear head on; his horse rears and Pierson is thrown. Wahb is about to attack Pierson when Moki arrives as he climbs down to the colonel.

As he is examining the colonel's injuries, Wahb appears. Moki is armed with only a pistol which is definitely not sufficient to stop an angry grizzly bear. Wahb departs, leaving Moki and consequently Colonel Pierson unharmed. Moki attempts to get him to stop, but his mind is made up. Just when the colonel is about to pull the trigger, Wahb begins to mark a tree with his claws. Moki tells the colonel that, because of this, Wahb will not return to the Gray Bull (which is true; he will stay and protect his territory). Still unconvinced, Colonel Pierson raises his gun one more time, but again Moki calls his name, and, when the colonel turns, he sees the rifle shells in Moki's hand. Seeing how much the bear means to Moki and hoping he will stay away from the Gray Bull now, Colonel Pierson relents, and they go home.





Buddy Baker wrote the score for King of the Grizzlies. The film features one original song written by Jack Speirs. A cowboy sings "The Campfire Is Home" around a nighttime campfire at roundup time for Colonel Pierson's cattle herd.

See also



  1. ^ "King of the Grizzlies (1970) - Overview -". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  2. ^ Dan Pavlides (2016). "King-of-the-Grizzlies - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes -". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2014.