Trap on Cougar Mountain


1h 34m 1972

Brief Synopsis

Erik lives with his family in the mountains of Utah. Neither his family or their neighbors understand the boy's love of animals and disapprove of him saving the wild creatures in the area from the local hunters. When his rescuing activities get in the way of his chores, Eric is forced to release his

Film Details

Also Known As
Run to the High Country
MPAA Rating
Release Date
Sep 1972
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Keith Larsen Productions
Distribution Company
Sun International Productions, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Virgin, Utah, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m

Synopsis

In the rugged mountains of Utah, a young boy, Erik, indulges his love of wild animals by making frequent trips into the high country where he frees trapped animals and destroys numerous traps set by hunters. At home at Sunset Canyon Ranch, where he lives with his older brother Randy and their parents Rux and Linda, Erik maintains a makeshift animal hospital where he nurses orphaned and injured animals, among them his special pet raccoon, Jelly, who wanders away frequently in search of food. Rux, a dedicated hunter and horse rancher, is disappointed by his youngest son's fondness for his menagerie, as the boy ignores the problems that arise from domesticating wild animals. Although an enthusiastic rancher, Randy does not share his younger brother's passion and is frequently annoyed by Erik's repeated theft of this three-wheel mountain bike to make his trips away from the ranch. Linda, however, consistently supports Erik's adventures and gently encourages him to be more responsible about caring for all the animals on the ranch. One afternoon while motoring on Randy's bike, Erik comes upon a hunter's camper and, entering it, finds numerous guns and ammunition. Erik takes the ammunition to prevent the men from hunting, but when Jelly accidentally knocks the cartons of bullets into the campfire outside, the two barely make it safely out of the camp when the ammunition explodes. Upon returning home, Erik is joined by his friend and neighbor, Kino, who is happy to see Jelly. When Rux insists that Erik return Jelly to the wild, Linda intervenes, but cautions Erik that if he does not clean and repair the cages of his other animals, they will all have to be returned to the wild. Later, when the corralled ranch horses grow agitated, Rux suspects that Jason, a young cougar that Erik raised from infancy and has recently returned to the wild, is prowling nearby, hungry and searching for food. Excited, Erik goes to look for Jason while Linda asks Rux not to harm the animal as he has not yet learned to hunt for himself. Rux insists that it is too late for Jason to learn to hunt and fears that one day he will attack the horses. Discovering Erik playing with the docile Jason nearby, Rux orders his son away and shoots at the cougar, who flees. Taking Randy, Erik, ranchhand Mike and the hunting dogs, Rux pursues Jason, despite Erik's fervent protests. After a lengthy chase into the mountains, Rux fires on Jason, who is poised on a cliff, and the cat tumbles into the river below. When Rux tells Erik he should have given Jason to a circus long ago, Erik insists it is better that Jason is dead rather than part of a spectacle. A few days later, however, a distracted Erik asks to be excused at school and, in the hallway, pillages his classmates' lunchboxes, then raids the supply warehouse for matches and rope. As Randy reads a paper aloud in class, he is startled to look out the window and see Erik driving his motorbike off the school grounds. Erik sets off directly to the high country and a steep cliff area, convinced that Jason has survived and returned there. After a lengthy, hazardous journey during which the bike runs out of gas and Erik tumbles into the river, he locates Jason lolling in a cave tucked away in the cliffs. After presenting Jason with the stash of sandwiches, Erik starts a fire to warm the cold cave, then falls asleep beside the cougar. Meanwhile, Rux, Randy and another hand, Judd, reach the cliff and are forced to rig an elaborate pulley to lower a large raft into the river to continue their search. The men eventually reach the cliffs and, before dark, find Erik safe, asleep and alone by the fire. A few days later back at the ranch, Rux, Randy, the hands and Linda prepare to go into town to attend a large horse show. Erik, uninterested in attending the show, watches with dismay as Randy chains his motorbike to the scoop of the wheel loader truck, then lifts the scoop and bike high into the air. Before departing, Rux orders Erik to clean and repair the animal cages once and for all and, joined by Kino, Erik promises to do so. Moments after the family departs, however, he confides his concern about Jason to Kino, knowing it has likely been days since the big cat has eaten. Hesitantly agreeing to help Erik take food to the cougar, Kino heads for the kitchen in the house and is startled by the large number of stuffed animal heads and guns hanging in Rux's den. Returning outside to Erik, Kino asks how Erik can be certain that Jason will still be at the cave and Erik reluctantly acknowledges that their trip could be in vain. Determined not to be outdone by Randy, however, Erik retrieves a steel-cutting saw from the barn and, climbing up on top of the wheel loader, cuts the chains off the bike. Tying a heavy rope to the machine, Erik convinces a doubtful Kino to act as ballast, and pushes the bike safely off the scoop. The boys then ride merrily off on the motorbike, ignoring the dilapidated cages around Erik's animals. Soon after, the playful Jelly encourages a restless adolescent bear to push his way through the loose wire of his cage and the pair cavorts around the family pool. While Erik and Kino take a joyride in the hills nearby, the raccoon and bear succeed in breaking into the house where they make a mess in the kitchen. Upon returning home, the boys find Rux, Linda and Randy angrily waiting, and, as threatened, Rux has Erik load all his animals in a truck and take them to the forest to be released. A few days later at school, Erik and his classmates put on a skit about the dangers of pollution to the environment, after which Rux is notified that a cougar has attacked and killed a favorite pony at the ranch. When Rux relates the news to Erik, he is deeply saddened by the loss of the pony but distressed when Rux states that he must kill Jason because he will continue to stalk easy prey at the ranch. When Rux goes off on horseback to hunt down Jason, Erik follows on the motorbike, hoping to intercede and somehow protect Jason. Rux finds the cougar first, however, and as Erik watches in horror, shoots him. Distraught, Erik scrambles up the hill toward a cliff and an alarmed Rux follows, fearful of what his son may do. When Rux finally calls an apology to his son and drops his rifle, Erik at last breaks out of his emotional shock and rushes to embrace his father.

Film Details

Also Known As
Run to the High Country
MPAA Rating
Release Date
Sep 1972
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Keith Larsen Productions
Distribution Company
Sun International Productions, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Virgin, Utah, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to AMPAS records, the film was not released in Los Angeles until 1975, at which time it was exhibited under the title Run to the High Country. The opening credit reads: "Keith Larsen's Trap on Cougar Mountain." The following written acknowledgment appears in the onscreen credits: "The producer wishes to thank Curtiss Scarett for the generous use of his Sunset Canyon Ranch in Virgin, Utah." Keith Larsen's onscreen credit reads "Written, produced and directed by." Erik Larsen, the film's juvenile star, was the son of Larsen and actress Vera Miles.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1972

Released in United States 1972