Tracks (2013) - full transcript

A young woman goes on a 1,700-mile trek across the deserts of West Australia with four camels and her faithful dog.

Alice Springs, last stop.

'Dear Sir, I am planning to walk
across the Australian desert,

from Alice Springs to the Indian
Ocean... a distance of 2,000 miles.'

'The trip will take
six-to-seven months.'


'I arrived in Alice
Springs over a year ago.

There are herds of feral camels roaming
freely throughout Central Australia

and my idea was to capture a few
and train them to carry my gear.'

Diggity, stay.

'The trip wasn't conceived
as an adventure,

in the sense of something
to be proved or conquered.

And when people ask me why I'm doing
it, my usual answer is "why not?".'

I was wondering if
you had any work.

- What kind of work?
- Behind the bar, anything.

Ask the missus. She's out the back.

Got a place to stay?

I was planning on
camping somewhere.

Got a tent?


One meal per shift is provided,

rent's deducted from first week's
pay, the loo's down the hall.

Great. Thanks.

I have a dog.

'I'd always been drawn to
the purity of the desert,

its hot wind and
wide, open spaces.'


Yeah, well, I'll need to train
some camels to carry my gear

and... then there's
Diggity, of course.

You go right ahead, love.
Go right ahead.

'But mainly I was bored
of life in the city,

with its repetitions,

my half-finished,
half-hearted attempts at jobs

and various studies.'

'And I was sick of carrying around

the self-indulgent negativity
that was so much the malaise

of my generation, my
sex and my class.'

Come on!

'The decision to act was in itself

the beginning of the journey.

I believe when you've been
stuck too long in one spot,

it's best to throw a grenade

where you're standing, and jump...

and pray.'

Hey. We are closed today.

Your plan is ridiculous.

My father crossed the
Kalahari in 1935...

that wasn't so ridiculous.

Nothing's in the blood.

I'm a hard worker.

You can work for me for
eight months... for free.

I'll show you how to train them.

After that, I give you...
two wild camels.

And that will be that.

So... do we sign a contract?

I'm good to my word.

You can stay here.

I'll clean out one of the sheds.

That's OK, I'll find my
own place. Thanks.

Misch-Misch, Khartoum,
Ali, Fahani and Aba.

And these are my new
wild bulls... Dookie and Bub.

What's wrong with him?

Nothing's wrong with him.
He's in rut. He's a bull.

Those other males are bullocks.

These are still bulls.

Die haben eier.

In rut season, they become
extremely aggressive.

Very dangerous.

He doesn't look very dangerous.

He's young. He will learn.

Hey, Dookie.

Hey, Dookie. Hello.


Come on.

So you want to play
with the camels?

Always watch the animal.

Watch how he thinks.

Let him know who's boss.

Come on. Try it again.


Hurry up. We open soon.

Are you finished?


What's that?


Take off those shoes.
You must toughen the feet.

There are two species of camel.

Neither is native to Australia.

Some of the first camels
brought into the country

were for the Burke and Wills
expedition in 1860...

Louder. More effort!

Today there are over 50,000
feral camels across Australia.

Hey! Goldie!

Here, Goldie! Come on.

Hold it.


'If my trip was inspired by
anyone, it would be my father.

He trekked across East
Africa in his youth

and was happiest on his
own out in the bush.'

'When I was young, he showed
me a tree on our property

marked with the letter L by the
explorer Ludwig Leichhardt.

In 1848, he attempted to
cross Australia to the ocean

with 7 horses and 20 mules.

He disappeared and was never found.

I remember imagining
Ludwig alone in the desert

with the animals,

and it sounded like a dream.'


Can we talk about my trip?
My camels?

Your camels?

Yeah, our deal.

I've tried to talk to you
about it already... twice.

I need you to get
up early tomorrow.

I want the camels in by five.

I've been here for
over eight months now,

I don't have to do shit for you.

You're fired.

I'm going to talk
to Gladdy about it.

Gladdy's gone! And I
want you gone, too.

I want all bitches
gone from my sight.

'The early settlers
needed beasts of burden

better suited to the harsh
climate of the outback,

so they imported camels.

When trains and cars came along

and there was no longer
any use for them,

the camels were set free.

But instead of perishing,
they flourished.

Now Australia has the largest
feral camel population

in the world.

I just needed three of them.'

Hey. What do you think, Dig?

Home sweet home, eh?

You must be mad, girly. You
know that's about 2,000 miles?

Six months of hard walking.

It gets tougher if
you get an injury.

No it's easy enough to get lost,
run out of water, food...

You don't have to be
unlucky to die out there.

I just want to be by myself.

Oi, oi, oi, oi, oi!

Well, we don't train these
camels for kiddie rides. Hm?

We catch 'em, we sell 'em.

So, will you help me out?

I can teach you how to break one.

The rest of it you
do in your own time.

You'll hire me?

Anyone who can put up with
Kurt Posel for eight months

deserves a chance.

Come back tomorrow. See how you go.

'I went to work for a camel
wrangler named Sallay Mahomet.

He came from a long line
of Afghan cameleers.'

Righto! Arms up, you've
gotta look tall.

Stand tall, arms up.

'He offered me one wild camel for
a month's work at half pay.'

Robyn, shut the gate.

You'll have to break her.


You've earned it.

You're an odd girl, Robyn Davidson.


We know you're here!

You can run but you can't hide!

What are you doing here?

How did you find me?

Well, I asked around.

I guess there's not too many
camel ladies in this town.

Mm. I hate that. It makes me
sound like a crazy woman.

Hey, come on.

- Hi.
- How ya going, Robbie?

This is Peter, Bernard, Annie
and Annie's mate Rick.

He's out from the States.

I love your place. I didn't
realise how big camels are.

It's like a cow and a
giraffe mixture...

They're beautiful.

Going to invite us in?

Yep, come in.

That's what I have,
that's what I don't have.

Plus I need two more camels.

Mostly I just need money.

Money, money, money.

The eternal, uh... the
eternal explorer's dilemma.


Well, why don't you
just shorten the trip?

To the Rock and back?

I mean, Toly and I will come
with you. We can chip in.

- Yeah. Why not?
- Mm...

Have you looked into
sponsorship? Like a magazine?

- Rick knows lots of editors.
- Yeah, I know lots of editors.

I could put in a good word for you.

I think they'd think it was fas...
I think it's fascinating.

So I know they would.

Oh, it's OK. I'll do it myself.

Do you know what's
going on politically?

It's about acting on what
judgements you make...

It's about making a critique...

Hey, Zelly. Hey, girl.



Hey, do you mind?

Sorry, bad habit.

Oh, I, uh... I made you this.

You're a darling. Thank you.

You know, um... your room's
still available, Rob.


Bye, Rob! Love you!

Bye, Robyn! Bye,
Diggity! Good luck!

Don't die out there!

I know you well enough

never to ask why you're doing this,

or why you want to do it alone.

But I guess if the reason's
good enough for you,

it's good enough for me.

Anyway, I made you a
tape for your trip.

That old record of your mother's,

the one you used to play to death.

Whatever it is you're
looking for, Robbie,

find it and come home, OK?

? The lonely night

? Dreaming of a song

? And the melody haunts my reverie

? And I am once again with you

? When our love was new... ?

Girlie, I reckon you've got
yourself a pregnant cow.


Pregnant? But is that good or bad?

You've got a calf tied
up in camp overnight,

none of the others are
gonna stray very far.

So that's good.

'A few weeks later, I heard that
Kurt Posel sold his ranch.'

Like I said, it's not possible.

'The new owner had little
experience with camels.'

One camel. That's all I want.
The bastard owed me two.

Sorry. Never mentioned that to me.

Hey, do you even know
what you're doing?

I wouldn't use a nose-line.

- Settle down, you bastard!
- Let go of the rope.

Get outta there!

Shut the gate.

Hey, Dookie.


That's the way.

Come on, Dookie.

Whoosh, Dookie. Whoosh.

Do they do that often?

- The bulls?
- Yeah.

Oh, hell yeah. All the time.

You want to keep your kids
away from them, for sure.

Come on, Dig!

'And so I'm writing to you

in the hope that your magazine
will sponsor my trip.

I believe National Geographic

to be of the highest
international repute.

The trip will take me through

some of the most beautiful
and barren country

the desert can show.

I am enclosing a map
of my proposed route,

from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock,

then on through the Western
Desert to the Indian Ocean.'

'I have three camels
and one small calf

trained and ready to go.

They are perfectly reliable beasts.

Their names are Dookie...'

'...Bub, Zelly

and baby Goliath.

I am well aware of the
hardship I will be facing

and the first to admit I
am remarkably unqualified

for such a hazardous undertaking.

But this is precisely the
point of my journey.

I'd like to think an ordinary
person is capable of anything.

I look forward to hearing
from you in the near future.

Yours faithfully, Robyn Davidson.'

Sorry, Dookie.

Grab that. A bull in rut would
do anything to get at Zelly.

He'll bite, kick or kill
whatever gets in his way.

That includes you.

No choice. Hm?

You see what happens when
one of these bull camels

gets those lovelies
set on something.

No stopping him.

Rule number one...
protect your camels.

If you're out there on your own
and a wild bull's coming at ya,

you shoot it.

Don't think. You shoot.
You understand?

Ah, I forgot... these
packages came for you.

Oh, there's a letter too.

I got it! I got the money!

I think they'd think it was fas...
I think it's fascinating.

So I know they would.

- Aunty Robbie!
- Aunty Rob!

We came to say goodbye!

How you doing? Hey,
come here. Look at you.

Hey, sis.

- You look well.
- Thanks for coming.

Hey, Pop.

I want to pat the camel!


Oh, it's freezing in here.


Um... this is Rick,
the photographer.

Hi, you must be her father?


I don't know who you are.

This is obviously for me.

This was surprisingly expensive.

Inflatable raft. For flash floods.


Um... why would I need
an exercise bike?

Oh, it's not an exercise bike.

It's a... backup
generator for the radio

in case the batteries fail.

I'm... I'm not taking a radio.

Please, Robyn, just take the radio.

You want to die out
there or something?

Take the radio. In case.

OK, I'll take the radio, but
I'm not taking the bike.

You know, it's really
reassuring to know

that my sister won't
be alone out there.

I'm only meeting up with
her four or five times.

Two or three times. Two or three.

No, I don't want a gun.

But you will.

Hi. Hi.

Take care, Pop.


If you get in trouble, there's
no shame in turning back, OK?

- OK?
- OK.

- Bye, darlin'.
- Bye, Aunty Rob!

- Bye, Aunty Robbie!
- Bye, Robyn.

- Call us from Ayers Rock.
- Bye, Diggity!

Diggity, come on!

You've gotta be kidding me.

Hey hey!

That's great. And keep
back, looking at me.


Good. Good. And smile.

Great. Great. That's great.
OK. Great.

Oh, let me get this
other stuff right here.

Everybody I keep telling about
this really can't believe it.

'2,000 miles? Is she
crazy or something?'

Let me find your light
a little bit. Face a little...

That's great.

OK, what's the camel's
name? Bub! Hey!

Everybody smile.

How do you feel?

Are we done?

Yeah, I think you're...
I think it's good.

Alright, see you in a month.

Oi, lady, can we get
a photo? Over here!

Sorry, campground's full.

It would just be for one night.

Besides, camels aren't
allowed in the park grounds.


'Cause it's a sacred site.

Hey, camel lady!

Figuring 20 miles a day,

if that's how fast
you're travelling,

determine how long
it takes to get to

the next town with a
mail plane service,

divide that by 20, and I
should, more or less,

be able to figure out when
you're gonna be arriving.

I ran into a group of Aboriginals

who were able to point me
in the right direction.

They just knew where you were.
I said 'camel lady' and...

I guess there's not really
a lot of camel ladies.

Before I get on any kind of plane,

I have this ritual I've been
doing for the past five years

where I eat an orange before and
after when I get off the flight.

And this time I was gonna do it,

but I didn't 'cause
I ran out of time.

I got back late and
my deli was closed.

Wow. I love lentils.

Maybe try some with, uh...
with the hat.

The white really pops against
the red of the Rock.

And don't worry, I'm
shooting on a long lens

so it compresses the distance...

it looks like you're standing
right in front of it.

Great. OK, maybe a... a tiny smile?

What about honest journalism?

Hey, camel lady!

A friend of mine, David Burnett,

says the greatest photographs
are motivated by human feeling.

Are we done?

Uh, almost.

Oh, no, I thought the hat was good!

See you tomorrow.


Go away.

So your father was
an explorer, huh?

Not really.

Oh, I thought you said he was.

I said he walked
around East Africa,

harpooning crocodiles
and looking for gold.

What about your mom?

I don't really remember her.

Oh, what happened to her?

She hung herself.

? ...why I spend

? The lonely night

? Dreaming of a song

? The melody haunts my reverie... ?


I'm gonna grab all this...!


Put the bed stuff in
the back of the truck!

Leave that, get the food.

Whoosh, Dookie, whoosh.



Fuck off!

Could've been worse...

we could've been in a small
plane flying through a typhoon.

That's something you don't
want to experience.

I was in Irian Jaya covering
the riots for Time.

David Burnett was there.
He won the Capa Medal in '73.

He's a good friend of mine. We
were trying to land the plane

on this narrow strip on
the side of a mountain

and the wind kept blowing
the wings back and forth...

I just can't stand it anymore.

This whole thing is just some
ludicrous, pointless farce.

Every day, I load a pile of junk,

I walk 20 miles,
I unload a pile of junk,

and you just stand around like
some idiot, taking pictures of me.

And I can't do it anymore!

It's OK.

Dookie! Leave him alone.

- Good morning.
- Morning.

You don't have to do that.

So I think... I was thinking
about staying on for a few days.


Just, uh...

So I guess I'll see
you in five weeks.



Hey, Dig. Come here.

Come on! Don't get out.

Come on, girl, come back in.

Hey. Hey.

Where are they, Dig?






You stay here, OK?

Good girl.


Never do this to me again!

Don't you ever leave me!


Hey, Dig. Hey.

- Hi.
- Hi.

- How are you?
- Good. How are you?

I missed you.

I take it you're the camel lady.

- Hi. Thanks for having us here.
- You're welcome.

Sorry, can I get you guys
to shake hands again?

Great, thank you.

Hello there.

The, uh, old fellas can be a bit
stand-offish with strangers.

Takes a while for them to warm up.

Would you mind not taking pictures?

A man has to do his job.

That's exactly the reason blacks
were dumped in missions...

men just doing their job.

11 million readers will
see these photographs.

I like to think that what I'm...
doing is a service.

Couple of pictures in a magazine?

You think that's really
going to make a difference?

Yeah, I do.

If it wasn't for the magazine,
you wouldn't be on this trip.

You didn't, did you?

Nobody saw me.

It was great images.

Some kind of... grieving ceremony.

That was secret business.

Get it? Secret.

After Malaysia, I have
a shoot in Tasmania.

I'll check in on this
number for messages.

OK, I should make Warburton
in about six weeks.

I'll be there.

Can I sit here?

Husband no good.

He's not my husband.

There's an adviser named Glendle
living outside Pipalyatjara.

Now he's the last whitefella
you'll see until Warburton.

OK. But this is the most
direct route, though, right?

Yeah, but it's dotted
with sacred sites.

It's forbidden to
women, I'm afraid.

You'd need an old fella
to guide you through.

But the other way is 160
miles out of my way.

If you like, I can ask round,

see if there's an Elder who
would travel with you.

Seems your boyfriend

was seen taking photos
of secret business.

He's not my boyfriend.

Sorry. Can't help you.

Their answer is no.

Just tell them I'm sorry.

Looks like we're taking
the long way, Bub.

If you're out there on your own

and a wild bull's coming
at ya, you shoot it.

Don't think. You shoot.
You understand?

Where you go?

West to the ocean.

Uru Pulka? Big lake?

Yeah, Uru Pulka.

Too long way. Too long way for you.

You go Pipalyatjara?

- Yeah.
- Which way?

Along the road.

Too far. Too many sleeps that way.

Miil-miil. Sacred country.

Need old fella.

Mr Eddy.



I know he helped me get the money,

but he doesn't understand that
he's part of the problem.

He's a nice person, but I don't
want him and his cameras

and his hopeless romantic notions

along with my trip, you know?

I can deal with pigs really easily,

but nice people confound me.

You know, how can you
tell a nice person

that you just wish they'd
crawl into a hole and die?


It's been a while since I've
had anybody to talk to.

You had Eddy.

He's one of the most respected
Elders in the community.

Yeah. I wish I could.

Ah... Words are overrated.

Hey, it's been real
nice having you around.

Hope you can stick
around for a bit.


Will you walk to
Warburton with me, Eddy?


To Warburton? Will
you walk with me?

Long way, Warburton.

Little bit long way.

- Long way?
- Yeah, long way.

My... My shoes no good.

OK. Hm.

Looks good in your shoes, huh?

Do you think he's up for this?
It's over 200 miles.

Him? He'll outwalk the two of us.

Don't forget my telegram.

OK. Thanks.

- Bye.
- See ya.


Come on, Dig.

Come on, Goliath.

Come on, Goliath.

Come on, Goliath.

The ground's too hot.

Come on, Golly. That's the way.

You got new shoes.

What is it?

Mingkulpa. Alright? Mingkulpa.

Should I... Do I eat it?


Whoosh, Bub. That's the way.

How was it, Eddy?



Come on, Bub.

Stand up. Come on.

Come on, Bub. Come on.

Stand up. Come on, get up.

Come on, Bub. Come on.

Get them to stop.

Can you stop so we
can take a photo?

- Wait up!
- Come on, Eddy.

Hold up there, love.

Do you mind if we take a picture?

- Can we take a photo?
- Can I take your photo?

Yeah, let us take your photo.

Can you stop so I can take a photo?


- Where are you heading?
- Thanks, love.

How far are you going?

I'm going to the ocean.

To the ocean? You're dreaming.

Hey, Jacky-Jacky. Get a
photo with the camel, boy.

- Take your picture, eh?
- Hey. Jack.

- You're a prick!
- Whoa, whoa, steady!

- What's her problem?
- Bloody swine!

Hey, hey, hey, hey. Give me money.

Give me money! Give me money!

- Got any money?
- Agghh! Agghh!

- Three dollar!
- Yeah, don't give him too much.

Wiya, wiya, wiya, wiya!

No, I don't understand.

Woman never break the law.
Woman never break the law.

OK, I won't. I won't. Only men
do the cutting. I understand.



- Hi.
- Hi.

This is Mr Eddy.

Eddy, Rick.

I got your telegram.


You're welcome.

This is for you.


Diggity! Stay close!

What happened to this place?

Nobody here. Everybody all gone.

I look up, he nearly kill me.

So... Eddy's very insistent
that you take along an Elder.

Yeah. I prefer to do
this stretch on my own.

Yeah, but it's better to do
this stretch with company.

No, I'll be fine.

You won't find a drop of water.

It'll be two months' travel

on a dead-straight track
through empty desert.

It's lucky to get six
cars a year along it.

I'll be fine.

Would it make any
difference if I told you

I didn't want you to go alone?

What do you think?

Well, I think you have
a problem with people.

You know, I'm sorry but I'm
driving ahead to Wiluna

and dropping water
drums along the track.

That's almost 1,000
miles out of your way.

Yeah. Yeah, I know how far it is.

- Are you sure?
- 100%.

I'll mark the drop
points on your map.



Good luck.


Thank you.

Come on.


The compass, Dig.


Come on, Dig.


Your mother gave me that.

Thanks, Pop.

You be sure you look after it.

I will.

Where are we, Dig?


Diggity. Hey. Go home.

Go on. Go home.

Home! Diggity, go home!

Go home. Go on, go home, Dig.

Diggity, go home.

Diggity! Good girl!


We're back! Did you miss me?

Come on. Come on, bring
it back. Come on, girl.

Good girl.



Hey. Come on, girl.

Come on, give it here.


Go away! Go away!

Hey! Is that the camel lady?

Oh. G'day.

Oh. Fire's nice, eh?

Been following your
tracks since Warburton.

Yeah, I'm going for
an overland record.

Flat chat out of Bundaberg,
straight shot to Ningaloo.

Nonstop, mate.
Reckon I'm the first.

I'm gonna be famous.

Suzuki TS400. Bike of the future.

Fuck me, it's cold out here.


You like bikes?

Nah. Nah, nah, you like...
you like camels.

Yeah, nice, nice.

Yeah. Gives you a chance
to see the scenery, eh?

Me, all I wanna see of the desert

is a fuckin' blur, you know?

Hello, dear. Nice to see you.

Will you come in for tea?

Where you from?

I grew up on a cattle
station near Darling Downs.

Oh, a Queenslander, eh?

What'd you run?


Hard country, that.

Reckon she copped her
share of drought, eh?

Seven years.

Muster through it, did ya?

We went broke.

? Dye-da-dye

? Daisy, have you seen the
latest dancers come along?

? Daisy, go and put your
Sunday hat and jacket on

? There's going to be some jollity

? Come with me, happy me

? Fill your heart with ecstasy... ?

Your mother's dead, darling.

You're gonna have to live with
your Aunt Gillian from now on.

Is Goldie coming with me?

No, darling. There's
no room for her there.

Will I be able to visit her?

No, darling.

We're gonna have to put her down.

After that, you'll join up
at the Canning at well ten.

Follow this track here.

I reckon you're, uh, three
weeks or so out of Wiluna.

A little something
to keep you going.

Thank you... both.

- Bye.
- Bye.

Good luck.



Hey, good girl. You found dinner.

Wiya, wiya, wiya, wiya!

Woman never break the law.
Woman never break the law.

Come on, Diggity. Come on.

Last one, girl.

That's all there is.

There's no more.

? Sometimes I wonder

? Why I spend the lonely night

? Dreaming of a song

? The melody... ?

? Haunts my reverie

? And I am once again with you... ?

Hey, Dig.




Come here, girl.

Diggity! Diggity.


Come here, girl.





Hey, Diggity! Diggity, Come here!

Spit it out. Come on,
girl. Come on.

Come on, girl, spit it out.

No, no, no, no, no. Come
on, come on, come on.

Diggity, Diggity, come on.



Diggity, come on!



No! Go away!

Stay here.



Is anybody there?

Miss Davidson? Robyn?

- Hello?
- Where are you, Robyn?

- Wait a minute!
- Here she is!

- Hey! Whoa!
- Hey! Hey, Robyn!

Stay right where you are! Hang on!

- You OK?
- We need to get a photo!

Hey, you OK? You alright?

I've been trying to find
you for over a week.

Miss Davidson!

Calm down! Just stand back!

- Just give her a little space.
- Leave me alone!

Go away!

Go away!

Where's Dig?

She's gone.


You have one from London,
another from New York.

Paris, Saigon, Singapore...

Wow. I can't even read
where that's from.

Doesn't matter anyway.

What doesn't matter?

This trip.

I never should have started it.

They're gone?

Yeah. For now.




I'm so alone.

We all are.

I miss her so much.

Agh! No!


Way up high!

Alright, you ready?

I've been thinking...


I want to finish what I started.

You know, but I can't face
those reporters again.

Oh, I can go ahead of
you into town and...

and say that one of
your camels is sick,

and it won't be
better for six weeks.

Trust me, none of them

will be able to stay
there for six weeks.

You think they'll go?

No, they'll be waiting
for you at Carnarvon.

But I'm not going to Carnarvon.

I know.

Come on.

Here, Dook.


Come on.

Here, Bub.

Ooh! Ooh!

Just be careful.

Come on.

Come on.

Come on.

Captions by CSI Australia