Wolves in Paradise is a film airing on PBS about Yellowstone's roaming wolf packs in southwest Montana.
Wolves in Paradise is a movie about the return of the wolf to Yellowstone National Park and the Rocky Mountains. Set in the majestic mountains and spellbinding valleys of southwest Montana, the documentary Wolves in Paradise explores the answer to that question as it follows two very different ranching operations through a grazing season in wolf country. William Campbell, the filmmaker, ended up spending more than six years documenting the relationship between ranchers, wolves and conservationists from his home base in Livingston, Montana.
Of course in the beginning the ranchers fought hard to stop the return of the wolf. Conservationists, on the other end, regarded ranchers as the main obstacle in their plan to restore an ecological balance to the northern Rockies.
But over time, the conservationists came to realize that what is good for the ranchers could also be good for wildlife habitat. Leaders from both communities began to find some common ground in the effort to control runaway growth and development. As Campbell follows the ranchers and the conservationists through the changing seasons, he documents the growing alliance between both parties including government agencies who seek to find creative solutions to allow livestock and wolves to coexist in Montana.
Campbell follows the ranching operations of two ranchers in this movie. The first rancher is the Davis family ranch, which is a relatively small outfit that clings to tradition in a valley that is quickly turning from rangeland to vacation homes and subdivisions. In past seasons, wolves have picked off a couple of Davis' heifers and harassed the cattle so badly that they didn't gain weight. He approaches the summer with some apprehension because another wolf attack like that could wipe his operation out.
The second rancher in nearby Madison Valley,is a California-born multimillionaire conservation rancher named Roger Lang. Mr. Lang, on the other hand welcomes both wolves and cattle on his 18,000 acre spread. "We look at the Sun Ranch as one big experiment," says Lang. Ranch managers at the beginning of the summer, discover that they are grazing 1,500 head of cattle right in "wolf central," where the Wedge pack has chosen to den and raise pups. Lang and his team are hoping that they can work with these wolves, teaching them not to prey on cattle, while using their presence to deter other packs from settling on the ranch. As the days grow shorter, the experiment becomes more interesting. At the same time it also becomes more deadly to both cows and wolves. Enjoy the documentary below.
VIDEO Wolves in Paradise