Huddled in her hot cage in a run-down roadside menagerie called Apeland, Margaret, a thousand-pound gorilla, hoots unhappily for her dead mate. Just up the road, at the taxidermist’s shop, an old lady is paying for having her kitty cat stuffed. Down the road a subdivision is going up in the middle of the Florida wilderness. Men dig foundations. Poor, bored, and mosquito-bitten, they wait hopelessly for a little excitement, a fight, a hurricane--anything.
It comes when Margaret escapes into the steaming forest. The county sheriff quickly assembles a posse of local characters and leads this bizarre collection of heavily armed crazies into the palmetto and cypress jungle after the love-starved ape. Among the group are Ed Bias, the would-be hero, and his two young sons; Gaylord Miller, the ketchup bottle murderer and Bias’s sworn enemy; Walker, the strange taxidermist; Lennox, the animal trainer; Monroe Block, Apeland’s tattered tour guide; and an assortment of odd others. Deeper and deeper into the forest they stalk poor Margaret toward a violent and tragic end.