Follow TV Tropes


Film / The Wild and the Brave

Go To

The Wild and the Brave (sometimes also called Two Men of Karamoja) is a 1974 film directed by Edward S. Jones.

It is a documentary about the Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda. A decade after Uganda gained independence from Great Britain in 1961, Iain Ross, the last white man to serve as warden of the park, is set to leave. He is training his replacement, Paul Ssali, who will be the first Ugandan to serve as warden of the park. While relations between the two of them are friendly, there is still an undercurrent of tension caused by the legacy of white colonialism.


Meanwhile, the park has to be run, and Ross and Ssali face many challenges. Their biggest problem are poachers, specifically locals who enter into the park and hunt the protected animals for food. At one point a wildfire rips through the park and the park rangers have to put it out. Refugees and rebels from Sudan enter the area. And there's also the underlying concern about the ruler of Uganda, the deranged Idi Amin.



  • Based on a True Story: While the film is a documentary and the participants were real people and not actors, parts of the narrative are clearly staged. Some of the dialogue between Ross and Ssali is obviously rehearsed. At one point a "conversation" between Ross and Ssali takes place without Ross ever appearing onscreen, his voice obviously having been dubbed in later.
  • Call-Back: One scene has a Ugandan doctor, who apparently is from a more urban part of the country, delivering a baby boy in the village. The last scene has the doctor meeting her patients, mother and child. The doctor smiles and says "My first baby", and a man (the father?) also smiles and says "He's not afraid of you anymore." Then the credits roll.
  • Circling Vultures: The vultures circle over the corpse of the baby elephant that Ross and Ssali were forced to kill.
  • Advertisement:
  • Culture Clash: Ross and Ssali respect each other but this is still part of their relationship. At one point Ross, waxing nostalgic as his time in Uganda draws to an end, tells what is supposed to be a droll story about a man he knew decades ago that shot forty crocodiles in a nearby lake. Ssali doesn't much care for that story, noting that white people were the first poachers in the region and wondering where a white man got off shooting forty crocodiles for no reason.
  • Jitter Cam: Seen periodically when the rangers are out in the field, like when they're chasing after cattle rustlers in Kawala Cove.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: When the park rangers are getting armed up before going out to catch the cattle rustlers.
  • Mercy Kill: Iain and Paul are forced to kill a baby elephant that was caught in a snare; the wire loop of the snare sliced the baby's leg right down to the bone and the wound is not fixable. They shoot the baby twice. They don't enjoy it.
    Iain: Agonizing, isn't it?
  • National Geographic Nudity: The village men and women are not overburdened with clothing.
  • Nature Documentary: The flora and fauna of Kidepo Valley National Park. In one scene they have to anesthetize a lioness to tend to its wounds. Elephants in the park seem generally pissed-off. In one scene they wreck the hell out of a park ranger Jeep, and in another Iain and his wife Elizabeth (a schoolteacher) have to run like hell when a bull elephant shows up in their yard. The elephant proceeds to drink the water from their swimming pool.
  • Run for the Border: The park, in the extreme northern tip of Uganda, borders Sudan to the west and is very close to the Kenya border to the east. In fact the cattle rustlers are from Sudan (that area is now independent South Sudan). The cattle rustlers run for the border when the park rangers come. The rangers catch four, but two get away, which irritates Iain.
  • Training Montage: One sequence has new hire park rangers undergoing the kind of training one might expect to see in army basic training—swinging on ropes, crawling through trenches, and the like.

Example of: