As a car speeds down the road at night, Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland sit in their car and unsuccessfully attempt to do a maze. The deputy is initially distraught by his failure, and Blubs tries to cheer him up by telling his partner that their time together is more than satisfactory as it is. Suddenly, a rumbling is heard, and an unseen creatures rips the roof of the police car, and, instead of reporting the incident, the two decide to take a drive in their makeshift convertible. The creature flies across the night sky, and the theme song plays.
At the Mystery Shack the following morning, Stan is taking a group of tourists through the woods to see various oddities, and Mabel opts to take advantage of the empty house by having a dance party with Waddles until her uncle's return. When Stan finds the girl lying with her pet on the floor, he sarcastically remarks about her being weird, and the two mock Dipper's behavior in comparison with Mabel's. Next, Waddles proceeds to chew on Stan's pant leg, and Stan, annoyed, tries to send him outside, though Mabel scolds the old man for this proposal and walks away with her pig.
Meanwhile, Dipper and Soos are preparing to investigate the mysterious creature, thought to be hiding in the woods, that had ripped off the police officers' roof. They prepare a trap involving the beast taking a piece of meat and subsequently activating cameras, so that Dipper and Soos could obtain a picture of it. Back at the Shack, Mabel sees a commercial for a baby carrier and decides to get one for Waddles, and mistakenly trusts her reluctant, irresponsible uncle to watch her pet.
Dipper and Soos soon return from their monster hunt, and Dipper volunteers to develop the film from their photos while Soos cooks nachos in honor of their prevalence. While the boy anxiously works to find a good picture of the beast and comes close to successfully revealing its existence, Soos instantly ruins the one good shot when he, barging into the room to joke about eating all the nachos, opens the door and exposes the film to bright light. Dipper is upset and suggests Soos, who claims to have been extremely excited by the nachos, be more careful, as he doubts that they will have another opportunity to photograph the creature.
Simultaneously, Stan guides a group of tourists through his museum and makes no effort whatsoever to keep an eye on Waddles. However, he and his customers soon cross paths with the animal as they learn that Waddles has eaten Stan's fake unicorn made of corn (aka "cornicorn"). Disgusted by Stan's lies, the tourists storm off, and Stan angrily puts the pig outside to avoid any other potential losses of profit. Despite his initial derision of his niece's warnings, Stan is shocked when the same beast Dipper and Soos are hunting--a pterosaur--captures and flies away with Waddles.
Dipper and Soos, who have caught a glimpse of the flying beast through the upstairs window, rush outside to learn of the strange occurrence, and Mabel returns from her errand to be informed of her pig's fate after an initial silence. Stan twists his actual actions of leaving Waddles outside into a fantasy situation of the pterodactyl breaking into the living room, thereby interrupting Stan nursing the pig, and snatching him out of Stan's arms. Stan proceeds to describe him fighting off the creature, albeit without success. Mabel is heartbroken, but Dipper protectively intervenes and offers to help retrieve Waddles, and Soos joyously complies. Stan expresses doubt at first and suggests they relax, but the others convince him to come along.
The gang prepares Soos' pick-up truck for the big mission, and Dipper confides his disbelief in Soos' abilities on such a risky venture after the man-child nearly runs himself over. Mabel agrees and tells her brother to let him down easily, but, Soos' enthusiasm render Dipper unable to hurt his friend's feelings. Thus, the four follow the trail of yarn left behind to an abandoned building in the middle of the woods, where they meet Old Man McGucket, who tells them that he watched the creature enter the abandoned mines. They opt to go in, albeit with more opposition from Stan, and Old Man McGucket comes with to tell "weird, personal stories."
Within the depths of the mine, the group discovers various Jurassic plants and find various dinosaurs trapped in amber, which they deduce to be the beasts' method of survival. Most of them see the area as a danger zone, but Stan sees it as a unique business opportunity and envisions a theme park. However, he accidentally divulges the fact that he left Waddles outside unattended; this pushes Mabel over the edge. Enraged, Mabel decides to never speak to her insensitive uncle again. Soos tries to prevent them from arguing by remaining optimistic, though his efforts prove ineffective when he ravels the yarn back up--thus ending the clear-cut path--and accidentally breaks their lantern. Dipper grows to a level of anger equal to his sister, and he and Soos start to fight as Mabel's and Stan's conflict escalates.
Old Man McGucket interrupts to say that he fixed the lantern, but he finds the pterodactyl standing behind him. He instructs the others not to make any sudden movements or loud noises, though he himself does both and causes the pterosaur to chase after them. They then try in vain to formulate a plan of escape, though their arguing hinders them from accomplishing this. Mabel hears Waddles from a nearby nest and races down a set of rickety old train tracks to get him, and the boys closely follow her. She has only a brief moment to celebrate the reunion before the pterodactyl returns and frightens Waddles, who runs into Stan and makes both of them fall into the pits below and into a mud puddle.
As Dipper, Mabel, Soos, and McGucket see the pterodactyl's egg hatch, they panic when it eats the old man. Down below, Stan tries to use Waddles as bait to distract the beast while he escapes, but he soon realizes how much the pig means to Mabel, and how much Mabel means to him, and warms up to the animal. He takes his actions a step further and acts as a human shield for Waddles and fights off the creature in a manner similar to his previous, untrue tale. And, Dipper and Soos make up when the latter admits to and apologizes for his mistakes, and the former and Mabel take his advice to follow him in a straight line, as the pterosaur's eyes are "so far apart" that it cannot see directly in front of itself, and the idea succeeds.
Soon, the trio sees Stan heroically fighting the adult pterosaur, and he even goes to punch the menace in the face as he had previously said he did. Stan's blows are powerful enough to literally send the pterosaur falling to the ground, and the others congratulate him, with Mabel and Stan bonding over Mabel's pet. But, the moment ends as quickly as it started, for the pterosaur manages to climb back up and chase after the Pines and Soos. They run through the tunnels back to their starting point and, since their rope is broken, try to use a geyser to shoot themselves to the surface. To speed up the escape, Soos punches the geyser to activate it, and the group finds itself wet and in various random places.
The church collapses into the hole, and the Pines exit the building. Mabel and Stan talk comment about the happenings, and play around with tree sap and ultimately get stuck. On the way home, Mabel, Stan, and Waddles sleep in the back seat, and Dipper and Soos are ecstatic to find an authentic dinosaur tooth in Dipper's destroyed vest. Dipper agrees to Soos' proposed nickname, the "Pterodactyl Bros," and Soos rejoices when he correctly pronounces "pterodactyl." The two disregard any danger of the other dinosaurs reawakening, and McGucket is shown to have escaped the dinosaur and the mine by eating his way out with his musical spoons. In the credits, Dipper and Soos watch an infomercial for "arm pants," which Soos was naive enough to order, and Mabel, Stan, and Waddles play a game of poker in which none of them follow the rules.
- Written by:
- Tim McKeon
- Alex Hirsch
- Directed by:
- John Aoshima
- Storyboards by:
- Matt Danner
- Erik Fountain
- Alonso Ramirez Ramos
- With the Voice Talents of:
- Additional Voices:
- Dipper kisses with a pillow that has Wendy's face drawn on it.
- Dipper knows how to develop film using the analog process.
- The photo Dipper takes of the pterodactyl is the same as a photo from the opening.
- Mabel wears the Waddles themed sweater she knitted in "The Time Traveler's Pig."
- The underground caverns with the dinosaurs were glimpsed in "The Time Traveler's Pig" when Blendin Blandin's suit malfunctioned.
- Sheriff Blub's and Durland's patrol spot beside Gideon Gleeful's billboard makes a reappearance after "The Deep End."
- During the flashback sequences of when Soos messed up, Dipper is reading the Floating Eyeballs and Giant Vampire Bats pages in the journal.
- The ability for creatures to be cryogenically frozen in sweets was established with Quentin Trembley (with penut brittle in his case) in "Irrational Treasure."
- The concept of "the real monster is you" by using a mirror as part of the Mystery Shack's exhibit, was also the subject of Alex Hirsch's art piece for Disney's "Some Kind of Monster" art show.
- Alex Hirsch was also shocked to find a similar attraction at "Confusion Hill" and was amused to see how well they had picked up on that kind of corny tourist trap humor.
- When Soos opens the door, only the print is ruined. Dipper could have printed another from the negative.
- Stan lands in a coffin after escaping the abandoned mines.
- The episode's title is a spoof of the 1988 Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment animated film The Land Before Time.
- During Stan's fantasy sequence we see his back turned and his bare back. Where his tattoo should be is instead "OLHV." Once decoded using the Caesar cypher says, "LIES."
- The cryptogram in the end credits reads "9-20 23-15-18-11-19 6-15-18 16-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-7-19!" Once decoded it reads: "IT WORKS FOR PIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGS!"
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