Ootek returns, accompanied by Mike, who acts as his father’s translator. Tyler tries to teach Mike to play the bassoon, but the young man is prevented by his lack of front teeth. One night, Ootek tells the story of how a wolf saved him from the cold and became his “helping spirit.” Later, Mike describes the proper technique for hunting wolves, explaining that he and many others earn a living from selling wolf pelts, which are valued at $350 each. However, Mike promises not to kill George and his pack, out of consideration for Tyler. Other members of Ootek’s family visit during the last week of August, and as the group sits around the campfire, Mike narrates the Inuit legend of the caribou, and how the hunters left only the weak and sick among the herds. When the wolves appeared, they attacked only the weakest animals, allowing the caribou to regain their strength, and provide food and clothing for the Inuit. As wolves howl in the distance, Mike informs Tyler that the caribou are coming from the north, and the hunting will soon begin. Ootek’s family travels north, Mike travels south, and Ootek guides Tyler on a three-day journey to the tundra, to observe the wolves as they hunt caribou.
Shortly after their arrival, Tyler lies naked in the sun after a swim in the river, and suddenly finds himself surrounded by caribou. He follows a pack of wolves as they give chase and kill one of the fleeing animals. Later, Tyler examines the carcass and discovers a disease of the bone marrow. As he watches Ootek disappear in the distance, Tyler follows the sound of gunshots to an encampment, where Rosie and two companions roast caribou meat over a fire. Rosie is glad to see Tyler, whom he expected to have died in the wilderness. He tells the biologist of his plans to build a resort around a nearby hot spring, then offers to fly Tyler back to civilization. Noticing that the airplane is loaded with wolf pelts, Tyler refuses. Rosie is indifferent to Tyler’s outrage and promises to come back for him in the next few days. Three days later, Tyler returns to his campsite, and finds George and Angeline’s cubs alone in the den. Rosie’s plane flies overhead and Tyler fires his rifle to dissuade the pilot. As Rosie flies away, Tyler hears a radio playing in a nearby shack and discovers Mike inside, preparing to travel north for the winter. When Tyler asks about the missing wolves, Mike advises him to worry about his own survival, explaining that the slaughter of George and Angeline are a sad reality. Mike smiles as he invokes the phrase “survival of the fittest,” displaying a new set of false teeth.