Land of the Lost (1974 TV series) characters and species

Land of the Lost (1974 TV series) characters and species

"Land of the Lost" was a 1974–1976 TV series relating the adventures of the Marshall family (including Will and Holly and their father, later replaced by their uncle). The Marshalls become trapped in a pocket universe populated by dinosaurs, ape-like creatures called Pakuni, and lizard-like creatures named Sleestak. This article concerns these characters, along with other human and alien visitors to the Land of the Lost.

Travel to the Land of the Lost is almost always accidental, via "time doorways" that appear to glow and/or billow mist. Time doorways sometimes appear to open and close spontaneously, but they can also be opened and controlled by Pylon crystal matrix tables and by a matrix table in the Lost City. Time doorways obey a form of temporal energy conservation law; whenever something enters the Land of the Lost via a time doorway, something else must then leave it, though not necessarily at the exact same time.cite episode| title=Circle| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1974-12-28| season=1| number=17] This aspect was abandoned in the show's third and final season, after new producers took over and the show's mythology was substantially retconned.

At least one Pylon periodically travels to other universes, acting as a sort of "interdimensional elevator," triggered by a conjunction of the Land's moons that occurs every three to four years. One of the universes it stops at along the way appears to be the Marshalls' home Earth.

Visitors to the Land

The Marshalls

Rick, Will, and Holly Marshall are the human characters on "Land of the Lost".

Rick Marshall, his son Will and his younger daughter Holly, were rafting in a high mountain river when they were caught in "the greatest earthquake ever known." The river was diverted over a cliff, and as the Marshalls' raft plunged over the resulting waterfall they struck a time doorway partway down. Trapped in the Land of the Lost with only the minimal camping equipment they'd had on the raft, they make their camp in a natural cave partway up the face of a cliff they call the High Bluff. Although the cave is secure from most local dangers, they are frequently pestered by Grumpy the "Tyrannosaurus" who was tall enough to see inside. Whenever he makes an appearance the Marshalls ram a sharpened log they called the "flyswatter" into Grumpy's open mouth and drive him away. Holly speculates that Grumpy continued to return due to the large quantities of a ground-hugging fern-like plant she dubs "dinosaur nip" that grows in the area.cite episode| title=Follow That Dinosaur| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1974-11-30| season=1| number=13]

The three of them are from California,cite episode| title=Downstream|series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1974-09-28| season=1| number=4] though Rick grew up on Ford Street in Indianapolis and attended Fillmore High there.cite episode| title=The Zarn| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1975-09-13| season=2| number=2] The Marshalls formerly lived in Harrisville, though the state is not specified.cite episode| title=Split Personality| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1975-11-22| season=2| number=12] Mrs. Marshall died of unspecified causes when Will and Holly were very young, and neither of them remembers her very clearly. Rick describes her as being headstrong and beautiful, just like Holly, and apparently loved her deeply.cite episode| title=The Search| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=| season=| number=] Will and Holly frequently suffer bouts of sibling rivalry, though they overcome such issues when the situation becomes difficult enough. Will is the most adventurous of the Marshalls, frequently taking "shortcuts" as an excuse to explore new territory and tampering with Pylons to determine their function. Holly suffers from a fear of heights.

At the beginning of the third season, Rick Marshall unexpectedly returns home via a time doorway; Will and Holly's uncle Jack Marshall, who was searching for them in the mountains where they'd originally disappeared, falls through to take his place. This event causes an earthquake that buries their cliff dwelling, so the Marshalls move their base of operations to the Temple near the Lost City instead. This temple is not the Builder’s Temple from Season 2.

The series ends without showing the Marshalls' ultimate fate, though there are some ambiguous suggestions of it. In "Elsewhen," an adult version of Holly visits via a time doorway from the future, and in another episode a mysterious "repairman" confidently predicts that the Marshalls will someday escape the Land of the Lost.

An alternative universe version of the Marshalls (who wear clothing that "our" Marshalls lost upon entry into the Land of the Lost, and who did not suffer the loss of their mother) appear in "Split Personality."

It is discovered in the last first-season episode that the Marshalls were their own counterbalance; their escape from the Land of the Lost in that episode is what causes the time doorway that drew them there in the first place to open. "Circle" was intended to serve as a "final episode" in the event that the show was not renewed, but since two more seasons were videotaped after this episode depicted their escape (including the seemingly incompatible substitution of Jack for Rick), much debate has ensued in the fan community over exactly what this paradox meant for the Marshalls.

Jefferson Davis Collie III

Jefferson Davis Collie III is an old and somewhat deranged Confederate artillery man who has been in the Land of the Lost for many decades. He lives in the caves near where the river goes underground, obsessively mining the rich veins of light crystals there. His only companion is a cannon named "Sarah" with which he drives away the occasional group of Sleestak attackers using home-made gunpowder; he reports that Sleestak "taste a whole lot like lobster. But then again, not like lobster, if you know what I mean." The Marshalls encounter him when they attempt to ride the river out of the Land in the episode "Downstream", but he ultimately returns to his cave rather than face the dinosaurs in the jungle outside. Apparently, Collie is turned to stone by Medusa (see Native Inhabitants section below), appearing in her garden during the third-season episode "Medusa.”

Collie was played by Walker Edmiston, the same actor who later played Enik the Altrusian. The original script for "Downstream" called for him to have a rifle, but concerns over young viewers being inspired to play with firearms resulted in its substitution with a cannon.

Peter Koenig and Harry Potts

Peter Koenig was a private in General Washington's Revolutionary Army who arrived in the Land of the Lost some time prior to the Marshalls. Koenig and his companion Harry Potts explored the Land extensively in search of a way back to Earth.

When the Marshalls first arrive, they discover a stone pillar in the jungle where Koenig had written "Beware of Sleestak" with chalk. The Marshalls only learn much later who had been responsible for this warning, when they discovered Koenig's journal. Koenig claims to have dubbed the Sleestak thus in honor of Major Joshua Sleestak. Koenig claims in his journal to have taught the Pakuni a few English words.

Koenig met his death when he followed Potts' path into the Lost City. Koenig went into the third entrance, "where the pillars end," which eventually led through a narrow passageway into the "Devil's Cauldron." This was a lava chamber, with a narrow ledge, where he became trapped when the lava level rose, reviving the Sleestak. He preferred to await death in the lava chamber, rather than facing the Sleestak who had gathered outside the chamber to catch him. The Marshalls find Koenig's skeleton in the chamber and narrowly escape a similar fate.

Beauregard Jackson

Beauregard Jackson of Fort Worth, Texas is a hypersonic glider pilot from 20 years in Earth's future relative to when the Marshalls became trapped in the Land of the Lost. As shown in the episode "Hurricane", he becomes briefly trapped in the Land of the Lost when Will, tinkering with the crystal matrix table in a Pylon located high on a mountain, causes a time doorway to open high above the ground. Jackson's glider was re-entering Earth's atmosphere over Ecuador, returning from a routine transit between Phoenix Port and Space Station 5. His glider's tail is suddenly severed, and the next thing he knows he is hanging from a tree by his parachute. With the help of the Marshalls, Jackson soon manages to return via the same time doorway, but the Marshalls cannot follow since Earth's end of the time doorway is 15 miles above the ground and there is only one parachute.

The Zarn

The Zarn, introduced in the eponymous second-season episode, is a humanoid alien who is invisible except for white spots of light scattered over his surface; he doesn't even leave footprints when he walks on soft soil. His starship became trapped in the Land of the Lost while traveling through hyperspace. The Zarn has powerful psionic abilities, able to read minds at a great distance and telekinetically levitate objects. However, this powerful telepathy is also the Zarn's greatest weakness; intense, angry emotions in people nearby cause the Zarn great pain, and the spots of light on his invisible body turn red in reaction.

The Zarn is apparently a researcher of some kind whose mission involved the study of other intelligent species before he became trapped in the Land. Since the Zarn is very sensitive to others' emotions, he creates android "research assistants" to interact with them, programming them from the memories of people he has scanned. The androids are totally convincing, and in fact may not really know they are actually androids. They have histories that incorporate great amounts of detail based on the knowledge of the scanned subject, to an eerie and suspicious degree. When the Marshalls first encounter the Zarn he creates an android named Sharon who is based on Rick Marshall's memories, such that she claims to have grown up in the same town as him, gone to the same school, and have the same interests. The excessive coincidences eventually give Sharon away, however, at which point the Zarn causes her to self-destruct.

The Zarn also has a "combat" robot that he named Fred, a 10-foot-tall dinosaur-like armless biped robot with a tail, a long neck and beaked head with glowing eyes.cite episode| title=Gravity Storm| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1975-10-11| season=2| number=3] Fred is very strong, but fairly slow. Rick and Will destroy Fred by luring it to a mountain top during a lightning storm. The model for Fred was a metal armature used by special effects artist Wah Chang to animate Junior the dinosaur, sans "flesh."

The Zarn is extremely overconfident, arrogant, and certain of his superior knowledge, even when it actually has holes. The Zarn is also quite petty, using telekinesis to play tricks on people he dislikes and to sow discord. He claims this behavior is "research". He frequently mocks people by "speaking" telepathically in the voices of people they know, saying hurtful things dredged from their memories. At one point the Zarn claimed that the emotion of pity was the most painful one for him to be exposed to, so perhaps some of this behavior is intended to prevent that.

The Zarn also appears in "The Babysitter," wherein he disparages various emotions he claims to have given up a thousand years before.


Enik, introduced in the episode "The Stranger," is not technically a visitor to the Land of the Lost, being one of the original Altrusian inhabitants from before their civilization fell. However, he too fell through a time doorway to become trapped in the current era of the Land of the Lost. He is equipped with a piece of Altrusian technology called a Mageti, a large crystal suspended in a tetrahedral frame that Enik describes as a "divining rod" that can be used to locate and fix dimensional doorways, determining where and when they would open. The Mageti has a self-destruct mechanism that is triggered when its user experiences sufficiently strong hostile emotions; this is a safeguard to prevent it from falling into non-Altrusian hands. Will Marshall inadvertently destroys it and forces Enik to rely on a different and less-suitable device (a "companion piece" to the Mageti that is worn around his neck as a pendant) to continue his efforts to return to his own time and warn his people of their fate.

Enik is quite contemptuous of the state the Sleestak have descended to since the fall of the Altrusian civilization. The Sleestak return the contempt, referring to him as "the dwarf", and fear that he intends to seize power over them.cite episode| title=Blackout| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1975-11-29| season=2| number=13] He is equipped with a bracelet of crystals he can use to cause people to be overcome by hallucinations of their greatest fear, however, and so the Sleestak generally give Enik wide berth. He spends much of his time during the series in the Lost City, working with a crystal matrix table there attempting to open a time doorway home.

In addition to his shorter stature and different skin coloration, Enik is distinguished from the Sleestak in that he wears a distinctive red garment (Sleestak do not wear clothing). This garment was added to his costume when the wetsuit Enik's skin was crafted from shrank after rubber scales were glued to it, requiring slits to be cut across the front in order for Walker Edmiston to fit inside.

A being resembling Enik, suggesting that his appearance is typical of Altrusians - or possibly Enik himself - was seen in what is presumably the Lost City from the time of the Altrusians.cite episode| title=Pylon Express| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1975-10-25| season=2| number=8]

Walter Koenig, the scriptwriter of "The Stranger", originally named this character "Eneg", in honor of Gene Roddenberry. As noted in an audio commentary on the DVD, the spelling was changed to Enik (reverse of the Greek root word for "cinema") by David Gerrold, before the episode "The Stranger" was filmed.

Many episodes refer to or take place in Enik's cave, which contains a time doorway and lies near the Sleestak god's pit, and is accessible through the central of the three entrances into the Lost City. Enik also appears in other episodes, including "The Search", "Circle," "Fair Trade" and "Blackout."

Native inhabitants

The Land of the Lost's megafauna consists primarily of dinosaurs; species noted included "Coelophysis", "Tyrannosaurus rex", "Allosaurus", "Triceratops", "Apatosaurus" (described in the series as "Brontosaurus"), and "Pteranodon". There are also iguanas,cite episode| title=Stone Soup| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1974-12-07| season=1| number=14] wild blue and red pigs,cite episode| title=Fair Trade| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1975-09-20| season=2| number=3] cite episode| title=Nice Day| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1975-11-01| season=2| number=9] pink and blue chicken-like birds,cite episode| title=Skylons| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1974-10-26| season=1| number=8] fish, rhinoceros and other large beetles,cite episode| title=The Longest Day| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1975-10-18| season=2| number=7] bamboo, and giant varieties of modern berries and vegetables. These species come from a variety of different times in Earth's evolutionary history, and it is unknown whether they were placed here by the Altrusians or if they came to the Land of the Lost accidentally. Rick suggests that the plants grow unusually large due to the nature of the soil.cite episode| title=Dopey| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1974-09-21| season=1| number=3] There were also a number of species that did not appear closely related to known Earth life: the aforementioned Sleestak, a large venus-flytrap-like plant capable of consuming prey the size of a large rodent using a paralytic poison, a multi-headed hydra-like creature, and a fire-breathing "Dimetrodon".

Several dinosaurs that the Marshalls encountered frequently were given names, for example, Grumpy, the "Tyrannosaurus"; Big Alice, the "Allosaurus", and her son, Junior (hatched in "The Test"); Spike, for at least two "Triceratops"; Spot, for many "Coelophysis"; and Dopey, the baby "Brontosaurus" that they sometimes used as a pack animal, along with his mother, Emily.

It should be noted that the hydra (Lu Lu) and the fire-breathing "Dimetrodon" (Torchy) both appear in the third season of the series, when the consistency and style of the series' writing appeared to suffer a significant change; one episode in the third season also features the legendary Greek Medusa, for example. Another species that made an appearance in the third season was a Yeti-like creature called Kona that lives high in the mountains, prevented from descending into the jungle by a guardian statue left behind by the Altrusians.


Pakuni (singular: Paku, though this usage is not consistently obeyed) are a species of small chimpanzee-like humanoids, possibly meant to depict a "Missing Link," ground-dwelling and bipedal, but not fully upright in posture. They are primarily herbivores, though they do occasionally eat small animals (an iguana-like lizard in the episode "Stone Soup", for example). They know how to create fire using flints,cite episode| title=Cha-Ka| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1974-09-07| season=1| number=1] and manufacture simple tools such as the sharpened sticks they use as defensive weapons. Pakuni display significant skill with representational art and have superstitious rituals that usually include chanting but they do not appear to understand music. They live in small family groups that construct strong bamboo enclosures as shelters. The family groups are territorial but they are quite capable of forming alliances and friendships with neighbors when resources are plentiful and they understand the concept of trade. Young Pakuni undergo a rite of adulthood in which they must steal the egg of a large predatory dinosaur to prove their worth.

The Paku language is relatively primitive. It was created for the show by the linguist Victoria Fromkin, and is similar to the Kwa languages of West Africa. It has regular ante-penultimate stress, homorganic nasals, nasalization of vowels before nasals, and deletion of final vowels before vowel initial suffixes. The language eventually had about 200 words; "Pakuni" simply means "people" in this language.

Ta, Sa, and Cha-Ka

The three Pakuni who are regular characters in the show are the alpha male Ta, his female companion Sa, and the young male Cha-Ka. The exact familial relationship between these Pakuni is never explicitly stated. Ta is a domineering, egotistical and treacherous Paku who never comes to trust the Marshalls. He can be bargained with, however, and although he usually attempts to cheat the Marshalls he is not particularly difficult to see through and trick. Sa occasionally seems to be a moderating influence on Ta, but for the most part serves as a follower. Ta is sometimes considered to be the "alpha" Pakucite episode| title=The Babysitter| series=Land of the Lost| serieslink=Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)|airdate=1975-11-08| season=2| number=10] or a "witch doctor". He has knowledge of some of the workings of the Land of the Lost, which he disguises with useless herbs and phony chanting and dancing to make it appear that he controls them. For example, he understands that the "Pylon Express" only opens when the three moons are aligned and so times his own "opening ritual" to coincide with that, and he knows that the effects of the poison from the carnivorous plant are only temporary and so hurries to sell the Marshalls a "cure" before it wears off on its own.

Cha-Ka is the most favourably disposed toward the Marshalls. In the first episode the Marshalls rescue him from Grumpy the "Tyrannosaurus" and splinted Cha-Ka's broken leg. Subsequently, Cha-Ka forms a close friendship with the family and with Holly in particular. Cha-Ka undergoes the rite of adulthood in the episode "The Test", but he remains the junior member of the Paku group. Cha-Ka occasionally visits the Marshalls in their cave in High Bluff and after the earthquake that marks the beginning of season three, he is separated from Ta and Sa and moves in with them at the Builder temple.


Sleestak are large green humanoids with both reptilian and insectoid features; they have scaly skin with frills around the neck, bulbous unblinking eyes, pincer-like hands, stubby tails, and a single blunt horn on top of the head. Sleestak are more sophisticated than Pakuni and are able to manufacture crossbows, rope, nets, periscopes and other relatively advanced technologies. They were once significantly more developed, however; Sleestak are the degenerate descendants of the Altrusians (see below). The Sleestak have a current population of about 7,000 according to the Library of Skulls, but there were only three Sleestak costumes available for the show's production, which sometimes required creative editing to create the illusion that they were that numerous.

Sleestak live in the Lost City, an underground tunnel complex originally constructed by the Altrusians. They hate bright light and rarely venture out during the day. Sleestak also have a "hibernation season" during which they cocoon themselves into rocky alcoves using some sort of webbing; cool air keeps them in hibernation, and the heat from lava in a pool that the character Peter Koenig (see below) dubbed "Devil's Cauldron" inside the caverns of the Lost City revives them again on a regular schedule. The Sleestak are very defensive of the Lost City. They know that their ancestors built it, but do not know how or why. They have occasionally tried exploring beyond the chasm that separates the Lost City from the rest of the Land, but their expeditions generally do not return; they consider the City to be their only refuge.Fact|date=February 2007

The Sleestak have encountered many other humans who have become trapped in the Land of the Lost before the Marshalls arrive, and regard humans as a terrible threat; they attempt to capture and sacrifice humans to their god at every opportunity.

Altrusian moths are required for fertilization of Sleestak eggs, and the Sleestak hunt them when they emerge during the night. In "Blackout," the Sleestak scheme to cause perpetual night by disabling a second clock pylon, allowing them to capture the Altrusian moths. The Sleestak plan to devour these, which will in one thousand hours yield a thousand Sleestak, which could then resume control over the Land of the Lost. Unfortunately for the Sleestak (but fortunately for the Marshalls), the cold of the long night also begins killing the moths.

Sleestak eggs are gestated in a communal hatchery. The Sleestak capture live animals and tie them up there, leaving them for the young to feed on when they hatch. Occasionally, a Sleestak will be hatched that is a "throwback" to their Altrusian ancestors, being born with greater intelligence and with an innate knowledge of Altrusian history and technology—though not, for some reason, knowledge of Pylon operation. The other Sleestak regard these throwbacks as a threat, and so they are also sacrificed to the Sleestak god when detected. One such throwback, named S'latch, is encountered by the Marshalls in the episode "The Hole", but S'latch is never seen again thereafter.

The Sleestak have a Sleestak Council and Sleestak Leader. The Leader wears a distinctive pendant, and Enik occasionally negotiates with him, as in the episode "Fair Trade". The Sleestak also have a Library of Skulls, ancient ancestors who are still capable of speech despite being long dead. These skulls seem to be from the era when the Altrusians were devolving into the Sleestak, as they are still quite intelligent and capable of speech, but are also very hostile and warlike.

The Paku word for Sleestak is "Sarisataka."

Ex-Detroit Piston and current WNBA coach Bill Laimbeer played a Sleestak before attending Notre Dame. [ Episodes Cast for "Land of the Lost"] He was a "Hollywood High" school student, and the show raided their basketball team for tall people to play Sleestak.


The ancestors of modern Sleestak were the Altrusians. Their civilization fell approximately 1,000 years earlier. The Sleestak sometimes use the term "Altrusian" to refer to themselves and sometimes to refer only to these ancestors. Physically, the Altrusians were similar to Sleestak, with the former marked by a shorter stature, an extra finger on each hand, and a golden yellow skin tone. Intellectually they were very different, however. The Altrusians possessed advanced psionic technologies based on light crystals and understood a great deal about the operation of the Land of the Lost. They strove for calm emotionlessness and as a result could be both cooperative and quite callous.

One Altrusian, named Enik, is a recurring character in the series, introduced in the episode "The Stranger". He travels to the current time accidentally via a time doorway. He initially believes himself to be in the distant past, but upon discovering the ruins of the Lost City, he theorizes that his people degenerated into modern Sleestak when they failed to control their hate and anger. Rick Marshall speculates that it was not the presence of hate that doomed the Altrusians, but rather the absence of compassion; Enik considers this to be a cogent argument and plans to return to his people to warn them of this flaw in their philosophy.

Altrusians have a very strict code of honor; they cannot allow others to show more self-control or make greater personal sacrifices than themselves. One can thus shame them into making sacrifices. In "The Search", Will (unintentionally) convinces Enik to pass up a chance to return to his own time by first passing up an opportunity of his own to return to Earth. Also handed down from the Altrusians was the concept of "Altrusian grace." This meant that someone (including a human) who helped a Sleestak would be allowed safe passage to and from the Library of Skulls to ask the Index Skull a single question.

Additional information

Additional information on this series can be found on the "Land of the Lost" main page and in a separate article on "geography and technology".


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