Prehistoric Adventure Alpha Shows How Humans and Wolves Became Best Friends

Image: Columbia Pictures
Image: Columbia Pictures

Tens of thousands of years ago, people and wolves entered into a symbiotic partnership. New action drama Alpha tells one story of how once-wild animals were domesticated into the good doggos we know and love.


The first trailer for Alpha—directed by Albert Hughes (Menace II Society)—debuted via USA Today and shows humans living in a untamed time when sabretooth tigers still stalked the land. Kodi Smith-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse) plays lead character Keda, who gets injured while hunting and must learn to survive on his own. When the young man spares the life of a wolf that was hunting him, their relationship becomes something that humans and canines never did before. Alpha’s telling a fictionalized version of a real-world progression lost to history, which gives it a intriguing angle for a coming-of-age story.

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I can’t wait to see it, but I have two issues, both fairly petty.

First, I would have chosen some other title, dramatization or not. We know better now.

Second, if you’d been treed by a pack, and wounded one badly enough that it got left behind and couldn’t defend itself... why would you nurse it back to health? I don’t see a stone age human having that kind of empathy, so much so that it specifically feels like a projection of modern sensibilities.

Your tribe is constantly hounded by wolves that don’t dare attack, but constantly steal food (or, ugh, infants) and try to ambush stragglers? You have a better time dealing with the wolves than some of the other things in the area (short-faced bears, hyaenadon-things, smilodons?), and notice that they tend to stay away when the pack is nearby? Maybe start leaving food out for them, away from your camp...

I can see it being less personally dramatic, but man it just doesn’t feel like something anyone would do in that circumstance, having lived that life. Even raising an abandoned / orphaned litter of puppies makes more sense. An elderly wolf would be all but impossible to reach, no matter how kind you were to it. It’s all certainly possible, but seems FANTASTICALLY unlikely from both the human’s and wolf’s side.