The Great Elephant Escape
Two boys -- an American and a Kenyan -- share an adventure, as they try to save an orphaned baby elephant from an unscrupulous businessman.
Matt Cunningham is a 13-year-old whiz kid from Los Angeles who's completely absorbed by his laptop computer. Therefore, he is dismayed to find himself on an East African safari organized by his divorced mother Beverly. But once exposed to the spectacular landscape and wildlife of Kenya, Matt's view of the world expands and his computer lies forgotten. While Beverly meets handsome safari guide, Clive Potter, Matt befriends one of the rangers' sons, a young Kenyan boy his own age, named Jomo. Together Jomo and Matt develop a relationship with a baby orphaned elephant whom they name "Ellie." The young elephant is being held by the rangers pending her sale to Harlo Ethridge, an unscrupulous American businessman, who plans to make her the centerpiece of his tourist exhibit back in the USA.
When Harlo arrives to collect his elephant, Matt and Jomo release Ellie and escape with her into the bush, hoping to find a wild herd that might "adopt" baby Ellie. The young boys and elephant are pursued by Beverly and Clive, by the rangers, and by Ethridge, who's teamed up with a pair of unsavory poachers to recover his "stolen goods." The boys' adventures carry them through dangerous territory, into encounters with wild hyena and lions. As they approach the chosen elephant herd with Ellie, they come upon Ethridge's overturned jeep and find him lying helpless and wounded. Realizing that a man's life is more important than Ellie's freedom, they decide to build a skid and drag Ethridge back to civilization. Beverly and Clive are overjoyed to find the boys unharmed. And Ethridge, in thanks for saving his life, allows the boys to complete their mission and return Ellie to the world she knows.