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Chico, the Misunderstood Coyote

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"Chico, the Misunderstood Coyote" is an episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. It aired on October 15, 1961. It was released theatrically overseas in 1962.


One in this series of family programs, presented under the umbrella title of "Disneyland," hosted by Walt Disney. This episode presents "Chico, the Misunderstood Coyote," a story about the life and hardships of the eponymous coyote in the American southwest. A mother coyote finds her mate killed and soon is chased down by ranchers, irritated at the coyotes for killing their chickens. They eventually find the mother and her four pups and kill all of them except one: a rambunctious youngster named Chico. Chico is sold to a man named Frank Miller, who runs a sideshow exhibit displaying desert wildlife. Chico goes into shock at being held captive, but soon learns to adjust. As he grows up, he learns to hate and fear humanity. Chico eats a dead gopher he finds on Frank's property, unaware that Frank poisoned it with strychnine. Frank finds Chico and manages to restore him to health. While recovering he makes several attempts to escape, and finally does so, returning to the wilderness from whence he came. After celebrating for a time, Chico decides to put distance between himself and human civilization by journeying into the nearby mountains. His search for food gets him in all manner of scenarios, such as being forced to swim ashore after stranding himself in the middle of a creek on a floating log. He decides to accompany an ornery badger and eat field mice driven to the surface by the badger's advance. A month later winter comes and the badger hibernates, so Chico is left on his own once again. After a few more unsuccessful attempts to get food, including a confrontation with a bobcat, Chico decides to come down from the mountains and finds plentiful game. Soon he feels the urge to mate and does so with a female coyote named Tula. Tula and Chico give birth to pups, Chiquito and Chulita. They are safe for several months until both Chico and Tula leave their den and Chulita is killed by an eagle. Chiquito survives but finds himself totally lost. He eventually makes his way to the same badger his father befriended, but the badger is not as amenable to Chiquito's company. Eventually Chico finds Chiquito and the family is reunited. They hunt around the rancher's alfalfa fields for rabbits and establish a new den for themselves. That night, Chico encounters a trio of passing coyotes and howls with them for a time. The other coyotes raid the rancher's chicken coop. The ranchers decide to hunt down the coyotes once and for all, but only Chico and his family are left as the other coyotes have moved on. Chico, remembering the lessons he learned during his time in captivity, manages to outsmart the ranchers, disarming their traps and preventing his family from being poisoned by strychnine. Tula raids the chicken coop and the ranchers decide to hunt the coyotes from a rented plane. They drive the coyotes out of hiding and Chico decides to act as a decoy to prevent them from shooting his family. The ranchers manage to hit Chico and leave, but Chico is actually unharmed and was merely playing dead. He and his family travel back into the mountains, now safe from the ranchers. Based on a story by Ernest Thompson-Seton, this episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color focuses on a Coyote cub whose parents have been killed by ranchers. Chico's natural fear of humans is compounded when he is captured and bundled off to a run-down zoo, where he is exhibited as a "wild desert dog." After nearly being poisoned to death, Chico stages a daring escape, and is forced to learn to fend for himself for the very first time. A rancher kills Chico's family and sells the coyote to the cruel owner of a desert zoo.


  • Winston Hibler........ Producer
  • Walter Perkins........ Director
  • Albert Aley........ Writer
  • Roy Edward Disney........ Writer
  • Ernest Thompson Seton........ Based on a story by
  • Paul Smith........ Music by
  • Walt Disney........ Host
  • Winston Hibler........ Narrator
  • Joy "Joe" Hale........ Cast
  • Bill Page........ Cast
  • Slim Sanford........ Cast

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