Prehistoric life is very tough for poor lovesick caveman Atouk. Living in the year "One Zillion BC... October 9th" has been a real trial for his entire caveman life. As the smallest and weakest of his tribe, he's picked on and bullied by all the other members. However, as the smartest, he has been able to survive the many terrors of his prehistoric world. But his one driving wish is to win the heart of the beautiful, yet shallow, Lana, mate to the brutish tribe leader Tonda. Monster attacks are a frequent problem as they forage for food, with one attack resulting in the banishment of Atouk's friend Lar, another of the weaker cavemen, when his leg is injured.
After an aborted attempt to 'mate' with Lana, using some Cannabis-like berries, Tonda nearly kills Atouk and banishes him as well. Forced to wander the prehistoric wilderness, Atouk discovers the hopping footprints of his lost friend. Lar and Atouk run to each other in greeting and collide, resulting in them cracking their backs and standing upright for the first time. Soon after, Atouk and Lar come upon the female Tala, and rescue an old blind man Gog from drowning in the nearby tar pits. As a storm appears and the group seeks shelter within a hollowed tree, other allies are found in the form of a group of wandering women protected by Bork, a cripple with twisted arm. A nearby lightning strike drops a burning branch, giving them fire, and attracting a small group of hunters. An argument over food creates the first example of cooking. In a very short time, Atouk is now leading his own tribe of misfits, who recognize his unconventional ways as those of a natural leader.
While spying on Tonda's tribe for opportunities to steal food, Atouk takes advantage of a chance to save Lana from rushing rapids. Lar is lost in the process, washed into a nearby Ice Age. Atouk takes Lana back to his tribe's camp and forms a group to search for him, resulting in hilarity as the group slips and slides through the icy caverns while chased by an overly friendly abominable snowman. In the meantime Tala, jealous of the attentions of Lana, tells Tonda she is still alive, resulting in a raid by Tonda's tribe.
With their resources depleted, Atouk goes on the offensive. Using his intellect and knowledge, he and his allies prepare for war, arming and armoring themselves for battle. They even capture a dinosaur lizard for Atouk to ride in the war against Tonda. With their advancements, Atouk's tribe as victorious. Atouk claims his place as the new leader of the combined tribe. Lana, his prize, is summarily rejected; dumped into a huge pile of dung as Atouk sees the error of his ways and takes Tala as his mate.
Best part of story, including ending:
The underdog wins over brute strength with the use of his quick wiles and intelligence.
Best scene in story:
The raid by Tonda's tribe is particularly funny. Poor blind Gog tries to defend the camp, crashing into Tonda. One quick whiff of an armpit is enough for poor Gog to respond, " Ooo! Tonda!"
Opinion about the main character:
Atouk is a man on a journey to discover himself and his place in his prehistoric world. As he travels, after his banishment, he finds the strength to plot his own course as an intelligent leader of his new tribe.