Wild America (film)

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

Wild America
Wild America poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWilliam Dear
Produced by
Written byDavid Michael Wieger
Music byJoel McNeely
CinematographyDavid Burr
Edited byO. Nicholas Brown
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • July 2, 1997 (1997-07-02)
Running time
106 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$7.3 million[1]


In the summer of 1967, Marshall Stouffer is chased in Fort Smith, Arkansas by his two older brothers, Mark and Marty; the 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. Marshall repeatedly and secretly gets revenge on his brothers' pranks against him by pulling diminutive 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. Despite their father Marty Sr.'s insistence that they cannot afford the camera, he relents after their mother, Agnes, says she will give them her "vacation" money that she has been saving for several years. Marty & Mark purchase the camera & 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 Native American woman. The woman tells them that it's located near Arapaho Peak in Montana.

After a strange man (Danny Glover) saves Marshall after going down the stream, he tells the brothers about the cave where it is too. During the journey, they meet a woman whose husband was killed by bears, when returning to their van, they discovered they been robbed, but they still got the film, Mark breaks his leg after getting into a fight with Marty. Despite his injury, they continued finding the Bear Cave, they discovered it and begin filming while the bears are asleep, but the bears wake up, luckily the brothers sing a song that puts them to sleep. However the bears wake up, after some Bat Guano lands on one of their lamps and they managed to escaped, not before grabbing the camera. Upon returning home, Marshall learns his Dad never flew the plane and things start going downhill when the brothers' father get injured and is in the hospital, causing the boys and their mother to do the work now.

The next day Marshall flies the plane, but Leon (Tracey Walter) jumps in helps while flying it, after flying it, his father ends up being impressed for learning how to fly it. 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.



Wild America grossed $7.3 million.[1]

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 27% of 22 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 4.5/10.[2]


  1. ^ a b Wild America Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "Wild America (1997)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2017-04-01.

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