Untamed Americas: Deserts

Untamed Americas gives an epic yet intimate journey through America’s deserts. Everything in the desert lives and dies at the mercy of water. Dry, inhospitable wilderness, they are the harshest, most extreme environments on the planet.  Hot, high or caustic these thirst-lands are as unique as they are spectacular.

But look closer and the desert reveals a secret world of intrigue… surprising stories of survival, epic perseverance… and things you’ve never seen before.  All of America’s deserts provide something… a hidden bounty for those who know where to find it… and how to use it.

Some desert animals have evolved under these extreme conditions… and are specially designed to utilize everything these deserts have to offer.  Others just have to muscle through. Together they tell some of the most dramatic and intimate stories of survival on earth…

MUSTANGS of the High Desert.  These wild horses have lived in the Great Basin Desert for generations, and have adapted to this dry, inhospitable place.  But the real trick to survive here is to be part of the herd.  We capture the epic struggle of one outcast male as he fights to regain his place in the herd and secure his survival.  Shot in spectacular super slow motion

March of the DESERT PENGUINS.  The Atacama Desert of South America is the driest place on earth… home to an unlikely character.  Here, where the desert meets the sea that the Humboldt penguin makes its home.  But for a father to feed his chicks, he must scale a sheer cliff, and run the gauntlet across a beached packed with hungry sea lions that lie between them and their meal.

BLOOD SQUIRTING LIZARD: When confronted by a predator, the REGAL HORNED lizard has evolved a series of defense mechanisms unlike any other.  When threatened, it plays dead, blows up, and squirts foul-tasting blood at predators. Filmed for the first time ever, a bobcat faces the lizard’s defense system, with surprising results.

Night in Sonora: featuring the GRASSHOPPER MOUSE.  As night falls, scorpions, tarantulas, giant centipedes and carnivorous mice battle it out in this kill or be killed world of the saguaro cactus.  Armed with remarkably different weapons, each of these creatures fights for survival and for the meager resources of the desert… But none as relentlessly as the Grasshopper Mouse.  A wolf in mouse clothing, this predator takes down creatures twice its size, and then howls at the moon.

Bat Emergence and the Predatory Arms Race. Millions of bats emerge from caves in Texas… ready for the hunt.  One of their favorite meals is moth.  But the Tiger Moth has developed its own ingenious defense technology: it’s able to jam the bat’s radar to avoid being eaten. Filmed in high speed infrared, we capture this new science for the first time ever.

FLAMINGO Performance.  At the top of South America… in caustic, inhospitable, salt filled lakes… hundreds of Flamingos prepare for the big dance.  Salar de Atacama, Chile is home to one of the largest remaining breeding colonies of the Andean Flamingo in the world. And their elaborate dance is one of the rarest spectacles on Earth…

SPADE FOOT TOADS:  One unusual creature has been waiting under ground all year for this seasonal transformation.  Toads emerge, compete, have sex and lay eggs. It’s an all out race to develop or die!  And they only have a couple of weeks to get it done.

PLAINS BISON: AN AMERICAN ICON: Bison journey on a never-ending search for water. Shot with a stabilized aerial Cineflex system and Cinetruck like never before, we witness the movement of these massive giants.  The rains have come to the arid high plains grassland.  Rivers are full and the grass is green and the bison take advantage of this time of plenty.  But it will not last long.  When it’s gone, they will move on… like all animals in America’s deserts, they are at the mercy of water…


  1. Pat Price
    June 17, 2012, 11:10 am

    Who does the narration for this episode?

  2. Barry Wilson
    Atlanta GA
    June 17, 2012, 11:21 am

    I would really like to know the artist and song of the simple
    yet sophisticated banjo tune that played during the “romantic
    toad romp.” Anybody?

  3. Charlann Shyiak
    July 22, 2012, 7:27 pm

    To Pat Price from Tennesee from Canada
    I believe the narrator with the talent you are wondering about is Josh Brolin. His voice held my attention as much as the wonderful beauty of the programme did.