This is the story of a tribe of early humans in 10,000 B.C. and how they fight enslavement by Egyptian rulers. Steven Strait plays the lead character D'Leh who, as a young man, wants to prove himself to his tribe because his father walked off and abandoned him when he was a little boy. The tribe has a custom of giving the leadership position to the one who wins the white spear for showing bravery in the hunting of wholly mammoths, which it their man source of food. When the mammoths migrate past the area where the tribe is, they run them into a trap in order to catch and kill one. One of the mammoths is caught in a net. All of the hunters grab onto the net to subdue it, but it breaks free taking the hunters, still holding on to the net, with it. All of the hunters let go, except D'Leh. He does not let go because he is stuck in the net. The others mistake this for bravery. The mammoth gets free of the net, and then charges D'Leh. His spear is stuck in some rocks and while he cowers in fear the mammoth runs into the spear by accident, which kills it. The tribe celebrates him as a hero, but D'Leh knows he does not deserve it. At first he takes the white spear, because this also means he may choose his wife and he loves a young woman named Evolet (played by Camilla Belle), but then feeling guilty, he gives the white spear back.
The tribe has a wise woman with the power of visions. They call her the Old Mother (played by Mona Hammond). The Old Mother gives a prophecy. She says the monsters on four-legs will come and the tribe will be broken apart, but one of the tribesmen will ultimately save them. Soon after, men on horses attack them, taking most of the men as slaves and taking Evolet. D'Leh and a few other men evade capture. They decide to go after the horsemen because without the other men to help with the hunt, they will all die. D'Leh, Tic Tic (played by Cliff Curtis), and Baku (played by Nathanael Baring) go together. They tell KaRen (played by Mo Zinal) he cannot go with them, but he follows them anyway. The four set out to track the horsemen and save Evolet.
When they find the horsemen, they attempt to rescue Evolet but during the rescue, they are attacked by prehistoric gigantic birds in the swamp. Tic Tic is injured. Baku and KaRen are captured. Evolet does not completely escape. She is taken prisoner by the horsemen once again. While running away, D'Leh falls into a large hole, which is an animal trap. He is not injured, but in trap with him is a saber-tooth tiger. He frees it, asking it not to eat him if he does so. When freed, the tiger jumps out of the trap, and runs away. D'Leh takes an injured Tic Tic with him by dragging him on a pallet. They continue to follow the tracks of the horsemen. They hear the horsemen attack another village of African tribesman in the distance, taking more slaves. They enter the village, which seems deserted at first, but the remaining African tribesmen suddenly appear. When it looks as if they will be attacked by the African tribesmen, the saber-tooth tiger shows up. It is clear the tiger is protecting D'Leh in appreciation of being released from the trap. One of the African tribesmen speaks the language of D'Leh. He explains he learned this from D'Leh's father who came before him. D'Leh learns his father did not abandon him or the tribe, but instead he went to look for a new food source because he knew they would not survive without one. D'Leh's father made Tic Tic promise not to tell the real reason for his departure so others would not follow him into danger. D'Leh also learns their legend about the man who speaks to the saber-tooth tiger will help the African tribesmen regain freedom. They agree to follow D'Leh in his quest to get Evolet back from the horsemen because some of their tribe was also taken.
They mount a large army from all the neighboring tribes. They almost reach the horsemen in time, but just a bit too late to stop them from boarding their ships. The horsemen take the ships to sail up the Nile. There is only one way to catch up with the horsemen. It is to take a short cut across the desert, but no one has ever succeeded in this. This is because anyone crossing the desert becomes lost. D'Leh guides them with the help of a star he noticed does not change position. The make it to the site where the horsemen have brought the captives, where thousands of slaves are building the Great Pyramids. D'Leh and a few scouts infiltrate the slave camps. They tell the slaves to prepare for an uprising and a great army of men is ready to attack in support of this. Many of the men from D'leh's army sneak into the slave camps so they can start the uprising from inside. When the signal is given, D'Leh causes the mammoths, they are using as beasts of burden, to stampede. All the slaves revolt as the waiting army attacks to support the slaves. A fierce battle ensues. The slaves get the upper hand. The attack moves to the palace of the pharaoh god. He has ordered Evolet to be tied to two horses so she can be pulled apart unless D'Leh surrenders. D'Leh does not accept and before they can kill Evolet, he spears the supposed god, killing him. This sets all the slaves into a rampage. In the intense fighting with the temple guards, Evolet is seriously wounded by the horseman who stole her from D'Leh. Evolet almost dies, but back at the camp of D'Leh's tribe in the mountains, the Old Mother takes on the death instead, dying so Evolet may live. D'Leh, Evolet, and the other survivors from his tribe return to their homeland, bringing with them corn they will grow as the new source of food.
Best part of story, including ending:
This is an interesting story if you can get past the extreme creative license taken with the historical/archeological records and the inconsistencies of the geography.
Best scene in story:
I like the vision of the Old Mother, when she sacrifices herself so Evolet may live. It is interesting, besides being about to predict the future, the Old Mother has this kind of magical power. It makes a great ending for the movie.
Opinion about the main character:
Even though, in the beginning, D'Leh feels he lacks courage, he ultimately proves himself to have great courage when he is not afraid to take on a god. I like his spirit.