Struggling to cope with the recent death of his mother, young Jake Tyler retreats from his family and the world at large. After being involved in a violent fight with some older boys at school, he winds up in the principal's office with his father who is told that Jake might benefit from professional help. Unfortunately, Jake's father has been unable to help himself through the loss of his wife. When not neglecting his son and daughter as a result, he's furious with them. Jesse (Jake's sister) is so fed up with her selfish father that she moves out of the house but not
without leaving her pet ferret, Jasper, to keep her brother
company. Jake & Jasper become fast friends as the two develop a strong bond. Yet just as this companionship seems on the verge of prying Jake from his shell, his father threatens to take Jasper away. With the thought of losing his best pal, Jake decides to run away from home and the two get lost in a nearby forest. Then when darkness falls Jake & Jasper not only lose each other in the woods, they nearly lose their lives.
This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.