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Documentary traces voyager’s journey, tragic end
Uncovers real story behind Into the Wild

For Release: 2009-05-22 13:30:00

The inside story of the man and the journey made famous in the book and subsequent movie Into the Wild is revealed in The Call of the Wild, airing Tuesday, June 9 at 8/7 p. m. CT on KET2.

For the documentary, filmmaker Ron Lamothe followed in Chris McCandless' footsteps, revealing more about the epic journey of the self-described "aesthetic voyager" who died on Alaska's Stampede Trail in August of 1992.

McCandless' death followed a two-year cross-country odyssey, a "spiritual pilgrimage" that took him from Atlanta to Arizona, down into Mexico, and from California's Salton Sea to the streets of Las Vegas -- and the small town of Carthage in South Dakota -- as well as many places in between. By the spring of 1992, the 24-year-old McCandless had made his way north to Alaska, where he lived in the woods north of Mt. McKinley for 113 days before his death by starvation.

Once an obscure Generation-X cult figure, McCandless is now familiar to millions of readers and moviegoers around the world, and has become one of the more polarizing figures in contemporary cultural discourse. On the one hand, there are those who see him as the quintessential seeker, a spiritual pilgrim akin to Henry David Thoreau. On the other, according to his detractors, he's just another dreamy greenhorn, an arrogant and misguided man whose mistakes ended in his death.

In Alaska, the film uncovers never-before-seen evidence that sheds new light on the case, and the mystery surrounding his death. This new evidence directly contradicts both Into the Wild author Jon Krakauer's interpretation and that of Sean Penn's recent film adaptation of the story.

The Call of the Wild is produced by Lamothe and presented by South Dakota Public Broadcasting. More information about KET programming and education services, as well as how to support KET, can be found at

Contact: Ellen Soileau



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