Bigfoot is one of the most well-known cryptids possibly lurking the North American continent. A possible reason for this is that sightings of bigfoot-like creatures goes back to before the days of the first European landing on the shores of the East Coast. Many indigenous tribes have stories of creatures that fit many of the descriptions of what we would call a bigfoot, sasquatch, or for those in Florida skunk ape. Seth Breedlove sets out to reveal the deep lore of North America’s favorite cryptid in On the Trail of Bigfoot: The Legend.
On the Trail of Bigfoot is a documentary miniseries that starts in the early history of the continent and the lore of the creature and follows it into the present day. The first three episodes cover the history of sightings and research and is aptly titled The Legend. The final three episodes follow Seth and some local bigfoot enthusiasts as he tracks down recent sightings and attempts to get more answers.
In today’s True Story Tuesday installment, I will be talking about The Legend. This was my favorite part of the series. The historical aspect of the first episodes combined with the overall tone of the series made The Legend and incredibly informative and interesting.
The series begins with the possible origins of the bigfoot phenomena. It talks about the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest and their beliefs of the Hairy Man or Elder Brother. Most of these creatures were protectors of nature or spirit guides for the tribes. Then we move on to sightings and experiences from after the white man came to the North American continent.
Among these sightings is the Ape Canyon incident. This incident involved a cabin full of hardened miners who spotted and shot at a large, hairy, ape-like creature. After firing several rounds into the creature it either fell or climbed down into what is now known as Ape Canyon. Later that night, the miners were attacked by several creatures. Some of them threw rocks at the cabin while others smashed into walls and walked on the ceiling. The miners found footprints and piles of stones around the cabin in the morning. Later, when asked if they would revisit the area the miners said they didn’t care how much gold was in those hills, they would not return.
This highlights one of the things about this series that I loved. You don’t just get dry facts nor do you get crazy off-the-wall bullshit. On the Trail of Bigfoot: The Legend delivers several historical accounts that the audience can then go and dig into on their own. This happens not only in the first three episodes but throughout the series.
This episode focuses more on the history of bigfoot research. It takes time to delve into the “Four Horsemen of Bigfoot Research” Rene Dahinden, Grover Krantz, Peter Byrne, and John Green. They were some of the first to really delve into researching the bigfoot phenomena. They were able to fund research and help to move along the search for the elusive cryptid.
After talking about those who laid the groundwork for the current bigfoot research model, the focus shifts to The Olympic Project, a scientifically-minded group of bigfoot researchers and enthusiasts who hunt the sasquatch in the Pacific Northwest.
Not only does this episode delve into the researchers working in the field now, it digs into the history of bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest. There was a time when some thought that the only viable regioin for a bigfoot to live was the PNW because of the vast dense forests and mountain ranges. The land could provide not only a hiding place but also plenty of food for such a creature. Some of the earliest reported sightings come from here.
As the first half of the series comes to an end, the focus shifts to modern sightings. It talks about the explosion of reported bigfoot sightings after the Patterson footage and The Legend of Boggy Creek were released. With the more recent sightings, patterns start to arise. It seems that Bigfoot varies from place to place and while in the Northwest it is a docile and curious creature, that is not the same for all regions. Those large ape-like creatures that are found in the South and Southeast tend to be more aggressive toward humans, especially the Florida skunk ape.
I really liked the way things were presented in The Legend section of the series. Some shows about cryptids just feel like you’re watching the ramblings of a bunch of crackpots. This series didn’t give that vibe at all. It also isn’t showing the audience things and proclaiming them as fact. Nor is any proof of the existence of bigfoot claimed in the series. This is a refreshing change.
What we get from On the Trail of Bigfoot is an honest look at some historical records as well as an exploration of data. Instead of showing the audience the same old footprints and proclaiming them proof, Breedlove and those he spoke to gave the audience more to think about. This half of the series was basically, “Here are some historically reported stories, here is the data we have gathered, and this is what we have extrapolated from the data.” The audience is left to draw their own conclusions about what all of it really means in regards to the existence or location of this elusive creature.
Guys. My name is Yeti. It’s pretty obvious that I geek the fuck out over stuff like this. I love crytozoology and well-made documentaries. So when a really well-made cryptid documentary falls in my lap I get excited about it. This is one of those times. I love everything I’ve seen from Small Town Monsters and honestly On the Trail of Bigfoot is one of the best and most informative documentaries on the subject I have seen. If you’ve got an interest in the bigfoot phenomena, I suggest looking into this series. You can get the whole thing as a two-disc DVD set on Small Town Monsters’ site or you can buy The Legend and The Search on Amazon today! It’s totally worth your time.
As always, I’ve only really scratched the surface of this documentary. There is still plenty left for you to discover yourself.