But there in the rocks, Will and Holly discover a dummy dressed in knickers and Revolutionary War-era jacket. In a jacket pocket is one half of a diary belonging to Private Peter Koenig, a soldier in General Washington's Revolutionary Army. He writes of his plan to exit the Land of the Lost through a hole in the Sleestak Lost City that leads "straight back" to New England. In fact, he believes that his buddy, Harry Potts, has already used the exit to return home.
The Marshalls heed the warning, and barely escape the reviving Sleestak, but needless to say, are deeply disappointed that they have not found an escaped from this perfectly-balanced pocket universe.
Beyond revealing some great background about the Land of the Lost, "Follow that Dinosaur" is a pretty suspenseful and dark 22-minute adventure for a show that aired on Saturday mornings. The Marshall family (including two children...) happen upon the corpse of their would-be savior, Pvt. Koenig, and the episode doesn't candy-coat his failure to escape this alternate world, or the details of his death.
There's more to like in the episode too, including a brief message about equality of the sexes (Holly's comment to Will that "Girls can do anything a boy can do,"). I also love how Rick Marshall demonstrates his trust in his children and encourages them to clear the offending ferns by themselves. His message is clear: he has belief in their abilities, and trusts them to be safe and get the job done. It's a positive role model of how parents can treat children, and in the process build self-esteem (rather than infantilizing them...). As a dinosaur buff and long-time fan of the series, I also like the fact that this is the episode where Grumpy crosses the crevice and finally has a smack-down with Big Alice. As a kid weaned on King Kong, The Land That Time Forgot and other such ventures, I was thrilled to see some dinosaur-against-dinosaur action.
But most of all, I love "Follow that Dinosaur" because I enjoy the (old) idea of finding a journal, following written maps, and exploring new and dangerous terrain in a jungle world. Derivative, perhaps of Journey to the Center of the Earth, the story is still very exciting, and its grim conclusion is chill-inducing. "Follow that Dinosaur" reveals new Land of the Lost history, involves its characters in a stirring adventure, features some creepy chills, and ends on a dark, even grim note.
Episode #14: “Stone Soup”