Thanks to Audre Myers at Nebraska Energy Observer and the documentary Missing 411, I’ve become interested in Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Yeti, etc., etc.—cryptid humanoid megafauna of various stripes. I’m not sure if they exist, but I’m open to the possibility. Indeed, I want to believe they are out there, wandering in the deepest forests of North America, living their secretive, hairy lives.
So I was quite interested to watch the Hulu series Sasquatch, a three-part true-crime documentary about an alleged Bigfoot attack in Northern California in 1993. The attack left three Mexican migrants dead on a pot farm, with their murders unsolved to this day. Indeed, it seems (from the documentary) that the murders were never actually reported to the authorities.
Let me say up front: while the documentary was quite good, it was incredibly disappointing: an egregious example of bait-and-switch.
The entire series is built around the recollection of an investigative journalist to a conversation he overheard while working undercover on a pot farm in North California in 1993. Two men entered the cabin in a highly agitated state, one of them claiming that Sasquatch killed three men in a nearby pot field. The man was, understandably, freaked out, having witnessed the mangled corpses, which looked to have been ripped to shreds y some large beast.
The first episode really plays up the Bigfoot angle: rumors were spreading all during the 1993 growing season that tribes of Sasquatch were attacking pot farmers whose fields began encroaching on Sasquatch territory. Stories of Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) throwing boulders and charging at farmers circulated among the tight-knit-yet-paranoid pot fields.
Midway through the second episode, however, it begins to become clear that no violent forest apes are to blame; instead, it’s just run-of-the-mill drug crimes. The series is, nonetheless, fascinating, but it’s not what was advertised.
Indeed, I did not realize that California ran a major campaign in the 1990s to destroy pot fields, and that Northern California’s cool, mountainous climate is ideal for growing the plant (apparently, some elevations are high enough that the plants don’t suffer from rot due to humidity). Due to the intense pressure from the authorities—who would burn thousands upon thousands of plants—the growers became deeply paranoid and suspicious, many of them receding into the lives of hermits, sitting atop weed worth millions, but stuck in their isolated cabins.
But the conclusion is quite lackluster. Sure, I wasn’t expecting they’d prove the existence of Bigfoot, but the show is clearly not about tracking down Bigfoot. Yes, the evidence led away from the rumors of violent Sasquatch roaming the hills, so that’s understandable, but the title of the show is Sasquatch. If I wanted to watch a documentary about the dope trade in 1990s California, I’d expect it to be called Weed Wars or something (maybe that documentary would be about Sasquatch).
That kind of base-level duplicity seems increasingly common. Like shrinkflation, the packaging advertises one product, but the contents are disappointing by comparison. It’s like opening a massive bag of chips to find that only the bottom quarter of the container actually holds salty goodness.
So, would I recommend Sasquatch? As a true-crime documentary, yes—it’s quite interesting, especially the interviews with “Back to Lander” hippies (a movement reminiscent of the current homesteading movement).
As an investigation into the legendary woodland ape, though, I can’t recommend it. The problem is that a very good true-crime documentary falsely advertises itself as a Sasquatch documentary, which left me feeling slightly cheated.
With that in mind, you’ll likely enjoy the series more.