Trailing the Killer


1h 4m 1932

Brief Synopsis

While the original title, "Trailing the Killer" isn't a misnomer, it was a bit misleading since the "trailer" is a dog named Caesar and the killer is a mountain lion, aka as a cougar or puma the narrator was quick to point out. But the makers also pointed out that Caesar "is the most intelligent dog actor since Rin-Tin-Tin" which probably lured a few Rin-Tin-Tin fans with a show-me attitude. Caesar prowls around the woods of the Northwest, dispatches a rattlesnake, visits his she-wolf mate and their pups, pauses to watch the dainty habits of a raccoon personally washing every morsel of food before eating it---and that raccoon had enough food to use up several minutes of running time---and then saves sheepherder Pierre (Francis McDonald) from getting et up by one mean mountain lion. Rin-Tin-Tin he ain't, but then who was? Commonwealth changed the title to "Call of the Wilderness" when they acquired it for 16mm rental to the school market.

Film Details

Also Known As
Call of the Wilderness, The Claws of the Killer
Release Date
Oct 16, 1932
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
B. F. Zeidman Productions, Ltd.
Distribution Company
World Wide Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 4m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,800ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Trapper Pierre LaPlant lives alone with his dog, Lobo, who is part wolf, and with the various wildcats and wild animals that he traps and befriends. When Lobo is found near the mutilated bodies of some sheep, sheepherders Manuel and Pedro believe he is the killer. They threaten to kill Lobo, but Pierre defends him. Lobo then attacks one of the sheepherders after he raises a gun to him, but the sheepherder escapes unharmed and vows revenge. In truth, Lobo merely followed the trail of a puma to the bodies of the dead sheep. When the sheepherder's dog is killed by the puma, Lobo, awakened by the cry, runs after the cat. Pierre follows, and finding his trusted dog over the body of another dead sheep, believes that Lobo made the kill. Despite his great love for the dog, Pierre prepares to kill Lobo, when the puma, who has been hiding on a tree branch above, attacks and kills Pierre, and then runs off. The sheepherders find their dead dog, and then find Lobo by Pierre's body, and believing he is bloodthirsty, try to kill him. Lobo eludes them and returns to his she-wolf and their litter of puppies. Lobo mourns Pierre's death. Finally, the sheriff forms a posse and sets traps to capture Lobo, but they capture the she-wolf instead. Lobo cleverly releases her and they escape. One of the sheepherders sees the puma killing his sheep and realizes his mistake. The puma stalks one of Lobo's puppies, who eventually reaches land and hides safely, but when Lobo is caught in a snare, the puma becomes more interested in him as game. One of the shepherds finds Lobo and tries to shoot the puma, but he becomes caught in a trap. He is then horrified as he sees the cat stalk him. Lobo frees himself from the snare and rushes to rescue the sheepherder by fighting the puma until the posse arrives and shoots the puma. Grateful to Lobo for saving his life, the sheepherder adopts him, and his she-wolf and puppies, and once again the animals have a safe home.

Film Details

Also Known As
Call of the Wilderness, The Claws of the Killer
Release Date
Oct 16, 1932
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
B. F. Zeidman Productions, Ltd.
Distribution Company
World Wide Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 4m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,800ft (7 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

A news item in Film Daily notes the working title was The Claws of the Killer, and that Bennie F. Zeidman took a leave of absence from RKO for this production. According to copyright records, Caesar's owner was Bert Tonks. The viewed print had the title Call of the Wilderness. A news item in The Exhibitor noted that Franklin D. Roosevelt, then President-elect, viewed the film and "said he enjoyed it immensely."