"Little Das' Hunt" is the an episode of Dinosaur Planet. It aired on the Discovery Channel on December 14, 2003, immediately following "White Tip's Journey". The episode follows the life of Little Das, a juvenile Daspletosaurus trying to find his way in the world and successfully hunt with his mother and sisters. However, a catastrophe waits to shroud upon all of the dinosaurs in Late Cretaceous Montana, seventy-five million years ago.
- Tyrannosaurus rex
|“||Beneath the wings of giants is a land that thunders with the tread of restless herds, and echoes with the cries of killers, large and small. As a hunter, Little Das is a little wet behind the ears, but he's determined to prove himself. His targets? They are prehistoric runaways: Buck and Blaze. They must find their herd... or die. Now, a gathering storm of fire and stone falls from the sky. And a wall of searing heat threatens all in its path. In the forgotten land called North America, Little Das' Hunt begins.||”|
— The narrator
In prehistoric Montana in the Late Cretaceous era, 75 million years ago, huge grasslands and patches of forest cover the region and the area is bordered by active volcanoes. The Rocky Mountains are being formed with numerous, minor volcanic eruptions. In the highlands, a herd of Orodromeus are grazing on the long grasses sprouting from the nutrient-rich volcanic soil. As they graze, a flock of Quetzalcoatlus, who are heading towards the Western Interior Seaway to hunt for fish, fly over them. Immediately afterwards a trio of hunting Troodon watch them from behind the trees and ready themselves to lunge at the herd. But before they can do so, the lookout spots them and wails a distress call. The herd flees in terror as the Troodon chase after them. However, the predators are forced to slow down on a rocky hill because they can't afford to break their foot claws in such a reckless race. Suddenly, the ground shakes as a deadly blast of superheated water bursts from the ground as a geyser, propelling one of the Troodon into the air. It then crashes down dead, having died instantly upon impact. Their hunt ends with disastrous results, and the remaining Troodon turn and retreat as other geysers punch up through the air everywhere. This is the first sign of the approaching eruption
Meanwhile, in the lowlands, 50 miles away, a herd of Maiasaura are walking across the plains. Two younger animals, Buck and Blaze, decide to wander away from their herd to play and forage on the slopes. Suddenly, they are confronted by Little Das, a young Daspletosaurus, who begins to chase them away from the herd, who watch as they move along. Das's older sisters then chase Buck and Blaze towards their mother, who appears from the trees and bites Buck deep on his right hip. Because of his boundless excitement, Little Das gets distracted by the escaping Blaze and accidentally slams into his mother; she stumbles and her jaws lose their hold on the struggling hadrosaur, allowing the Maiasaura to return to their herd. Das gets to his feet and his family growl at him in anger. They spend the night hungry.
The next day, worrying that Das will ruin the hunt again, Das' mother and sisters secretly leave him in a grove of trees. When Little Das notices their gone he goes searching for them and finds a herd of Einiosaurus, horned dinosaurs, grazing on the plains. Thinking he is a scout for older Daspletosaurs, the Einiosaurs stampede, alerting the Maiasaura to the danger, and Little Das yet again ruins the hunt as his mom and sisters had been just about to ambush the hadrosaurs. His mother bites him on his muzzle in anger while his sisters growl at him.
Meanwhile, the highland animals – Orodromeus, Troodon and the flying Quetzalcoatlus – are beginning to see signs of the inevitable volcanic eruption. The water inside the lake the Orodromeus herd drink from is boiling, and one of the Quetzalcoatlus nesting grounds are demolished by geysers that erupt out of the ground. The pterosaurs all launch off and fly away to get to new nesting grounds. But then a large geyser engulfs and kills the flock. One survives but is extremely burnt and flies off. While this happens the smaller volcano's magma gets drained by it's larger neighbor volcano causing it to die. Ash starts rising from the larger volcano. This would be the final warning the dinosaurs in the Two Medicine Formation would get before the eruption.
Meanwhile, Little Das and his family, after they've given Das a second chance to redeem himself, are once again on the hunt, still targeting the injured Buck. The Einiosaurus herd and the Maiasaura are grazing together. When the Daspletosaurus attack, the Einiosaurus form a barricade to defend themselves from the Daspletosaurus, shielding Buck as well in the process. Buck desperately struggles after the retreating herd and Blaze stays by his side at all times. When the Daspletosaurus spot him, they go around the Einiosaurus and continue to go after him. However, as they follow, the volcano erupts violently, creating a ash cloud that begins to sweep above the landscape. This is the beginning of one of the largest eruptions of the Northern hemisphere. Buck tries to get back to his herd with the Daspletosaurs following behind him. While they do the Quetzalcoatlus from earlier, who has managed to fly to the lowlands, succumbs to his burns and falls in front of the Daspletosaur pack, startling them. Little Das takes a whiff of the corpse to see if it's edible, but he sneezes violently due to the odor produced by the toxic fumes. Agitated, Das stomps on the corpse and storms off after Buck's trail, with his family following.
Miles of sky are lost in a heavy blanket of volcanic ash and dust that block out all the sunlight. Small pieces of volcanic-glass and soot begin to fall from the sky. Visibility is poor and the Daspletosaurs must rely on their keen sense of hearing to find their target. Buck must also use sensitive hearing to listen for the cries of his herd and of Blaze. The ash cloud briefly begins to clear, some sunlight shines through revealing the Maiasaura herd. Buck reaches them but his legs finally fail and he collapses. The Daspletosaurs stand behind him to gain back energy they lost from the long trek before going for the kill. But closer to the volcano, huge burning pieces of rock erupt from the seething crater and the lava missiles all come plummeting down amongst the forest. One Troodon is killed instantly by a falling lava boulder. The worst comes when the east flank of the mountain collapses under the intense action from the bubbling magma and a pyroclastic flow begins to engulf the land. Its a wall of super heated rock, gas and ash that destroys everything around it and levels the forests and grasslands.
The temperature under the flow and within it exceed 800 degrees Fahrenheit. It levels the highlands first and then the lowlands, completely suffocating and burning every dinosaur from Montana to the Western Interior Seaway. Most of the Troodon are blasted away by the flow as it destroys the forest. The Daspletosaurus abandon the hunt to flee the approaching flow which they process as a threat. But the flow catches up and they are killed. The retreating Maiasaura are also buried by the flow. Buck and Blaze die as well.
The episode then shifts seven million years forward in time. Most of life is sustained again as the eruptions have ceased. Most dinosaurs have evolved. Maiasaura has evolved into Edmontosaurus, and Daspletosaurus has evolved into Tyrannosaurus rex. The story then ends as a young Tyrannosaurus rex and its mother look down upon on a herd of Edmontosaurus, including an immature one. The conflict between them continues the stories of their ancient ancestors: Buck and Das.
Science Channel (2010)
- This episode, along with all the other episodes, is trimmed down from 48 minutes to 43 minutes on the Essential Dinosaur Pack DVD, released in September 2008, possibly to allow the other Discovery documentaries on the disc, The Mystery Dinosaur (2006) and Dinosaurs: Return to Life? (2008) to fit on it. The same is true with the Science Channel re-airing of this episode, probably to allow more commercials to play.
- This episode was filmed in Mesa Ranch, Nogal, New Mexico; Vista Rio Bonito, New Mexico; Bonito Lake Recreation Area, New Mexico; Lincoln National Forest, New Mexico; and Sequoia National Forest, California.
- This episode has the most filming locations in the series. It also is the only episode to be filmed in two states (New Mexico and California).
- This episode was originally going to be filmed in Wallowa, Oregon (https://www.wallowa.com/news/dinosaur-invasion-discovery-channel-to-produce-dino-drama-in-march/article_4b7aa269-124b-5be3-9c8f-54b40b205cca.html) but for unknown reasons they decided to film in New Mexico instead.
- This is the only episode to take place 75 million years ago, rather than 80 like the other three.
- Another interesting fact is that this episode is doesn't show any predators getting to eat or kill at all.
- This episode uses stock footage from the Tyrannosaurus scenes in When Dinosaurs Roamed America and Valley Of the T-Rex, during one of the palaeontology segments.
- This episode and "White Tip's Journey" end with a palaeontology segment.
- Stephen Eder wrote the narration for this episode and "Pod's Travels".
- This is the only episode where all the characters die.
- This episode has the highest death count.
- Besides Buck's wound this episode has no blood.
- This episode re-uses landscape footage from When Dinosaurs Roamed America (not just in the paleontology segments but in the episode itself).
- This episode has the largest natural disaster in the series.
- In this episode and Pod's Travels Scott Sampson is wearing a greenish gray shirt.
- This is the only episode where Robert Etoll is credited for providing additional music (he did additional music for the other episodes but wasn't credited for some reason). It's also the last episode to credit additional composers.
- This episode has the most soundtrack that has been released.
- Unlike the other episodes this one doesn't focus on it's main character for the entire episode and spends its time to focus on the other dinosaurs.