The Snow Creature (1954) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • American botanical expedition in the Himalayas stumbles across a Yeti den, capture one and transport it back to Los Angeles, where it escapes while customs officials are debating whether it is animal or human.

  • Botanist Frank Parrish leads an expedition to the Himalayas to seek out new flora, accompanied by hardboiled news photographer Peter Wells. When their lead guide, Subra, learns his wife has been kidnapped by a Yeti, Parrish disbelieves him, so the sherpas commandeer the expedition at gunpoint and turn it into a search-and-rescue party. To Parrish's surprise, they discover a whole family of Yetis in a cave, and are able to subdue the male and carry it back to civilization, to ship to the USA for study. Subra is forgiven his acts because he was right after all. Wells, meanwhile, phones in the story and Parrish finds his discovery - shipped upright in a meat cooler to maintain its natural environment - detained in the US because Wells' story refers to it as a snowMAN, and a decision must be made whether this is a customs or immigration matter. During this bureaucratic snafu, the creature escapes its containers and disappears into Los Angeles, mysteriously appearing in different parts of the city. Parrish teams up with police Lt. Dunbar to find the creature, which kills anyone who stands in his way...


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • We open on a map of India and zoom in on the Himalaya Mountains. The narrator tells us, "Cradled within the arms of the Rivers Ganges and Brahmaputra to the south and the mysterious plateau of Tibet to the north majestically stands the mightiest mountain range on the face of the Earth -- The Himalaya. This is the story of an expedition to this ruggedest barrier. Not to assault on its wind swept towering heights, but to find and study plant life which had heretofore been unknown or inaccessible. This is the story of that mission, of how a small group of people found themselves in pursuit of a crude and primitive civilization, which once only existed as a figment of the imagination." The title rolls against the mountain range backdrop.

    A TWA Lockheed Super-Constellation aircraft takes off from Los Angeles and lands in Bombay, India. In Shekar, Dr. Frank Parrish (Paul Langton) selects ten Sherpa guides. Parrish is a botanist and works for the Corey Foundation. To chronicle the expedition, Parrish had selected Peter Wells (Leslie Denison), a photographer and a man who drinks too much. The guide, Subra (Teru Shimada) is selected because he is acquainted with the terrain and he speaks English. On June 14, they start on their journey. Subra's wife, Tara (uncredited) and brother, Leva (Rollin Moriyama) accompany Subra to the foot of the mountain range. Subra gives his wife a charm on a leather rope and places it around her neck.

    The first few days were routine, but then they encounter higher terrain. At 10,000 feet Parrish begins his work. Tents are pitched and an encampment is established where they have their first hot meal. Parrish and Wells are in their tent. Wells is drinking from a hip flask and offers Subra a hit. Parrish warns Wells against too much alcohol, giving it to the Sherpas, and being seen drinking. Parrish radios Inspector Karma in Shekar.

    Tara is gathering some wood for the fire when she encounters a large creature. She screams and is carried away. Subra's brother, Leva climbs the mountain with four friends and tells his brother about the abduction. Subra informs Parrish that his wife was abducted by a Yeti and, "We leave. Go after Yeti." Parrish is confused at first, but finally understands that the Yeti is also known as the Abominable Snowman, the Phantom of the Himalayas, Marauder of Women. He chuckles and directs his comments to Wells and Subra, "This isn't a hunting party. Thousands of dollars have been spent to finance this expedition, and he wants to chase a legend." Subra and Leva exit the tent.

    The next evening Subra takes the ammunition from Parrish's weapons. When morning comes, Parrish sees a group of men leave camp. Subra tells Parrish that they are going to search for his wife. Subra reveals that Parrish and Wells have no bullets in their guns to back any threat to stop him. Parrish and Wells have no choice but to join in the search. An attempt to use the radio to call in news of the mutiny is met with a bullet through the device by a determined Subra. Parrish discovers that the radio can be repaired. He puts the radio in the case with the Scotch that Wells brought along, knowing that it will be carried on the search, as Subra has acquired a taste for the liquor. Before breaking camp the next morning, footprints are discovered of the Yeti. They follow the tracks in the snow. That evening as Parrish is repairing the radio in his tent, he and Wells hear a man scream. They exit the tent and discover a dead man on the ground. The next morning the search continues. The Yeti starts an avalanche, but the search party takes refuge in a hollow under a ledge, unaware of the cause. They continue to walk, but an approaching storm sends them to a nearby cave for shelter. They make camp in the cave and build a fire. Parrish talks to Subra about the Yeti. He tries to reason with the Sherpa, but Subra wants only the death of all the Yeti because they abduct women.

    As they explore the cave system, Subra finds the charm he gave his wife. Now Parrish calculates that finding this creature would compensate for the failed botanical aspect of their quest. Subra, Parrish and Wells discover a small family of Yeti in the cave system. Subra tries to shoot them, but Parrish intervenes. Wells takes a Yeti family picture. The cave collapses and kills the female and child, but leaves the male stunned. Parrish disarms Subra and takes charge again. They sedate the creature and carry it back to Shekar. Subra and his brother, Leva, are to be turned over to the police when they reach town. They begin their descent. Wells and Parrish take turns guarding the creature and their Sherpa. They keep the creature in a semi-conscious state with drugs. On the seventh day they reach Shakar and turn their Sherpa over to Inspector Karma (Robert Kino). Karma tells him that the discovery is his to do with as he pleases. Parrish calls the foundation. Parrish decides not to prefer charges against Subra and his men.

    In Bombay, Parrish makes arrangements with the airline manager (Robert Hinton) for the creature's transport back to the U.S. A refrigerated box is ordered constructed and sent to Shekar. The creature is placed inside and loaded aboard a cargo flight back to the U.S. Parrish takes another, later flight. He is met at the airport by his wife, Joyce (Darlene Fields) and Corey, Jr. (George Douglas). A couple of reporters try to interview Parrish, but a call from the Customs Warehouse cuts that short. There on the tarmac is the refrigerated box containing a very animated creature. Fleet (Robert Bice) notes, "I see where you classify your import as a Snow Creature." He is there to classify its immigration status, "Is it a beast or a man?" A newspaper article by Wells declares the creature as a man. In his office, Fleet meets with Dr. Louis Dupont (Rudolph Anders), an anthropologist. Parrish arrives and joins the meeting. Fleets wants a classification of the Yeti, and Dupont is there to determine if it has a calculating brain. Un-sedated for a while, the Yeti manages to break out of its refrigerated packing crate. It attacks the warehouse guard (Rusty Wescoatt) and escapes. The guard is not seriously injured and calls Fleet to report the escape. Lt. Dunbar (William Phipps) from the police arrives. The creature kills a woman, then disappears. Dunbar is advised of the discovery of the dead woman. Parrish joins Dunbar and returns to the police station. A police bulletin is issued warning the public of the creature. The police start a search of the area where the creature has been sighted. At a meat processing plant the creature enters and confronts a pair of workers, seven miles from the earlier sightings. Parrish and Dunbar finally deduce that the creature must be using the storm drains to move unseen. The city engineer, Edwards (Jack Daly) is called. He explains that it is cooler underground, but there are 4,800 miles of storm drains under the city. Edwards pulls the charts and gives them to Dunbar.

    Dunbar organizes police details to equip themselves and start the search of the storm drains for the Yeti. Parrish joins the Dunbar team and they begin the search. Parrish requests a net to capture the creature; He wants it alive. They spot the creature as it attacks a policeman. They position the net at one of the entrances. They drive the creature towards that location. They capture the Yeti in the net. The creature struggles and tries to choke Parrish. Dunbar empties three slugs into the creature from his revolver and saves Parrish. The creature is dead. We close with Dunbar and Parrish driving away down a dark alley and the credits roll.

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