Arctic Manhunt

2013 ,    »  -   20 Comments
Ratings: 8.40/10 from 119 users.

Arctic Manhunt is a dramatic forensic documentary that attempts to identify the mystery man at the center of one of the biggest manhunts in Canadian history. Equal parts criminological exam footage and creative re-enactments, this episode of Pure History Specials offers a stylized, moody investigation into one of Canada's greatest unsolved mysteries.

On Christmas Day, 1931, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with the assistance of aboriginal trackers, approached a rural cabin near the Arctic Circle. They were there to question an unknown trapper about vandalized trap lines but were met with open fire instead of answers. Over the next 49 days one of the largest criminal searches in Canadian history ensued, taking the RCMP above the Arctic Circle where they had to endure harsh weather conditions on top of firefights with the mysterious fugitive they were pursuing. Ending with the trapper's suicide, police found $2,400 in cash on his body but nothing to identify him or indicate why he was on the run.

Some speculate he was a Chicago gangster connected to Al Capone while others suspect he may have been a murderer responsible for a string of unsolved homicides across the Great White North. Others have posited that he was just a down-on-his-luck farmer from North Dakota. Despite photographs and fingerprints, police agencies across North America failed to identify the mystery man time and again. Almost 80 years later, forensic experts dig up the remains of the fugitive to try and determine his identity once and for all.

Through skeletal remains and facial reconstruction technology, forensic scientists piece together a narrative of the RCMP's pursuit of the mystery man through the Canadian wilds, but their only hope of finding a positive identification rests in obtaining a reliable sample of DNA from the fugitive's remains. Criminal profilers offer additional insight in an effort to fill in the details of who this fugitive was, and what he was running from.

Arctic Manhunt weaves through time, taking viewers to the past where they imagine the events of the manhunt, and into the forensic labs of today where scientists work to close the book on this decades-old cold case.

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20 Comments / User Reviews

    Alison Ellis
  1. Alison Ellis

    Fascinating, I really enjoyed this documentary

  2. zoraide
  3. zoraide

    What is the relevance of trying to find out who he was after so many years?

  4. Bob Haran
  5. Bob Haran


  6. Rhonda
  7. Rhonda

    Mysteries I never heard of....Like.

  8. Ellen
  9. Ellen

    Wondering why there was a time limit on how long before the body had to be returned to the earth.

  10. Roland
  11. Roland

    I really enjoyed watching this, allthough I felt it was poorly directed and executed.
    Heard of this fella about '92 while on a road trip to Drumheller, Alberta.
    My then wife and mother inlaw stayed at a Bed and Breakfast when the old man ( hearing I was scandinavian ) asked if I ever heard of the Mad Trapper.
    I had no clue.
    Well, he sparked my interest in the case and I've read just about all that is available - And I guess - I'm no wiser now.
    Interesting though.
    To be continued I guess. Wonder if the dental work could give more clues.... Thanx for uploading.

  12. jackie
  13. jackie

    You'd think familial DNA could throw up someone still alive.

  14. J.Brokenheart
  15. J.Brokenheart

    Interesting, but disappointing that there was no DNA match. I'm a dentist. The dental work was probably expensive, but it wasn't art either. Any small town dentist could have done this. They dramatize this dental information, but it's very basic knowledge for even a dental auxiliary.

  16. Onefeather
  17. Onefeather

    Love a real mystery.

  18. Snark
  19. Snark

    I always pictured this guy as looking in appearance like charles bronson.

  20. christine
  21. christine

    I feel sorry for this guy and think the whole story is slanted to protect the people involved in his death, and even after his death. Only the Alaskan Indian has a favorable respect for the man: "His ability to survive shows he was somethin' else!" The man is said to have started out with only petty theft in the midwest, as the story goes. In the end they say there was no identity. If the team of forensic sleuths say there was no identity, the whole crew from 1932 is not likely to be found guilty for their behavior. Their mentality was 'shoot first, ask questions later'. Does anybody else see something wrong with this picture? Most of the comments were so subjective from every person, like the last woman who comments about the look of his face...says he looks like he had a menacing laugh at his death. How can anybody know that? Perhaps he was screaming in pain. I always think the most humane ways should be used to capture a person. Guns and force aren't the best way. Other people died and families were destroyed as a result of the man being cornered and his fear level. A man or animal hunted is not in his right mind. Best not to push the chase to that point. The first policemen didn't use reason when they turned into hunters and killers. After the man's death, their statements about his intent, his so-called beastiality, are self-serving...helps them keep their jobs. I wish there could be higher consciousness on this planet.

  22. Chad Robinson
  23. Chad Robinson

    I loved this documentary!!! Thanks a lot TDF is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING; I don't know why I'm not the type to waste time watching Netflix, TDF have captivated & kept me entertained since 2002. Thanks again for your hard work bringing education to the masses for the best price! !

  24. Cold Canuck
  25. Cold Canuck

    Christine,go hide in your safe space and don't forget to take your meds.You are unqualified to judge any of these people and attempting to revise history to fit your own fantasy is futile.Why can't people just watch the film and can the political correctness?

  26. Godofredo
  27. Godofredo

    Whoever he was, he was an extraordinary man who had great survival skills in extreme environments. I would say he may have been ex-military, or a winner in the Winter Olympics. He must have made a name for himself during his lifetime. He may have been an assassin. I would research assassinations around 1930.

  28. anna b
  29. anna b

    christine is right all these docs are slanted

  30. bungabunga
  31. bungabunga

    Christine seems to have missed the point. One doesn't run away to the far corners of the world because they're afraid of being fingered for petty theft. The guy shot at police. He was obviously a deranged criminal. I think Christine is baiting us, there's no way anyone could leave a comment as inane as that and be serious about it. You wish there could be higher consciousness on this planet? Why not start with yourself. Your ramblings are stunningly out of touch with reality.

  32. bungabunga
  33. bungabunga

    And J Brokenheart doesn't seem to realize that dental technology hasn't always been what it is today. People really are not capable of considering the subtle realities... They can't seem to grasp that the world was a very different place when this happened.

  34. mkchrc14
  35. mkchrc14

    I agree with bungabunga Christine has missed some important facts namely the trapper opened fire without giving the police a chance to explain the purpose for their visit, he didn't even open the door. In my mind the police came into the situation with the best of intentions and reacted in a manner that anyone of us would have responded. There was no shame on their part. Think too how his cabin withstood the raid by the police it was if the trapper was prepping for such a battle as if he was looking for a place to make his last stand not for a place to simply live out his life in a simple manner away from society.

  36. Niteprowl2
  37. Niteprowl2

    his just goesto show science has it limits. What cannot be determined now, may become obvious 20 years from now as technique and a wide bas becomes available to compare the Mad Trappers DNA with.

  38. L.C. Goslin
  39. L.C. Goslin

    If the Mad Trapper was shot 9 in the hell does that constitute "suicide"? Just askin'

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