Sandra Demarest arrives at the Caldwell estate, and announces to Mark Caldwell that she was secretly married to his nephew James, who recently died. Mark does not believe her, but allows her to remain at the manor while a search is made for a missing will that would prove her claim. Sandra befriends James' sister, Julie, who tells of strange noises and agonized screams from the laboratory wing of the estate. Between verbal duels with Mark, Sandra secretly investigates the lab and learns that ominous things really are happening.
Adapted from an autobiographical novel by Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf was director Carroll Ballard's worthy follow-up to his superb and much-loved The Black Stallion. Both pictures (as well as his later Fly Away Home) feature animals in central roles, as the communion between the human and animal worlds is a significant aspect of Ballard's films. Wolf's protagonist, wonderfully played by the reliable character actor Charles Martin Smith, learns more about himself as he enters the flow of his rugged surroundings and the family of wolves that he observes. It sounds romantic, but Ballard never sidesteps the ugliness of nature or the discomfort of loneliness. The result is a quirky, deceptively simple meditation on life. Shot on location in Alaska and the Yukon Territory, the film is as striking as Ballard's Black Stallion. Hiro Narita's clear, rich cinematography is marvelous, and the film's evocative, realistic sound was nominated for an Academy Award.