A Native American boy, Joe Goodensnake, is shot in what looks like a land dispute with local rancher Jim Parker and his son Lyle. Mulder and Scully are called in to the Trego Indian reservation in Montana to investigate, leading to clashes with the locals who distrust the federal government, including a sheriff who was at the Wounded Knee siege in 1973. Between the rancher's story that he mistook the boy for a wild animal, some strange tracks
and shed skin found at the crime scene, and local legends about a beast that haunts the wilderness and mauls people, Mulder recognizes links to the original
X-file. Could an old Indian legend have taken life again — a Manitou that transforms its host into a raging beast? And what person, human and ignorant by day, hides the Manitou now?
- Alone With the Manitou: During the climax, Scully is trapped in the ranch with a wolfed-out Lyle.
- Artistic License - Religion: "Manitou" is an Algonquin term used to describe a spiritual life force that runs through the world; some tribes, upon conversion to Christianity, used the word to describe God. The "manitou" here has more in common with a werewolf or a wendigo; as The X-Files Book of the Unexplained states, using the term "manitou" to describe the monster in this episode is like using the word "God" to describe Charles Manson.
- Braids, Beads and Buckskins
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Of course the Native American Sheriff is Hawk.
- Human To Werewolf Footprints
- Injun Country
- Magical Native American
- Manitou Infectee: Lyle got mauled by Jim, and soon starts turning into a manitou himself.
- No Ontological Inertia: Joe and Lyle turn back into humans after being killed.
- Red Herring: After Parker is killed, Mulder, Scully, and Sheriff Tskany suspect Gwen, Joe's sister, as the manitou, due to her blood relations with Joe. It's actually Jim's son Lyle, who was badly scratched by the manitou during the first attack.
- Our Werewolves Are Different
- The Rez
- Transformation Sequence: Lyle undergoes one during the climax.