Fire in the Sky (1993)


Fire in the Sky is a 1993 film based on an alleged extraterrestrial encounter, directed by Robert Lieberman, and written by Travis Walton (from his book The Walton Experience) and Tracy Tormé (screenplay). The film stars Robert Patrick in the leading role as Walton's best friend and future brother-in-law, Mike Rogers, and D. B. Sweeney as Walton himself. James Garner, Craig Sheffer, Scott MacDonald, Henry Thomas, and Peter Berg also star.


On November 5, 1975 near Snowflake, Arizona, logger Travis Walton (D. B. Sweeney), becomes the victim of an alien abduction. Walton and his co-workers—Mike Rogers (Robert Patrick), Allan Dallis (Craig Sheffer), David Whitlock (Peter Berg), Greg Hayes (Henry Thomas) and Bobby Cogdill (Bradley Gregg)—are engaged in forestry operations under a business contract to clear a wilderness area. After completing a day's work, the men come across what appears to be an unidentified flying object on their drive home. Curious to learn more about the spectacle, Walton steps out of their vehicle, but is struck by a beam of light from the phenomenon. Fearing Walton was possibly killed after the encounter, the others leave the scene in horror. Rogers decides to make a trip back to the spot of the confrontation to pick up Walton, but he is nowhere to be found. Upon making their way back to the local town to report the incident, the loggers are greeted with skepticism, as they relate what sounds like an outrageous story to Sheriff Blake Davis (Noble Willingham) and Lieutenant Frank Watters (James Garner). They are suspected of foul play despite no apparent motive or knowledge as to Walton's whereabouts. After interviewing the men, Lieutenant Watters deduces that tensions had arisen between Walton and Dallis, substantiated by a wound on Dallis's hand from a previous altercation between the two, leading him to believe there might be a murder investigation on the way. The Lieutenant also discovers a tabloid newspaper with headlines surrounding aliens in the seat of their truck, hinting there is a strong possibility they used the article to help concoct their story. Meanwhile, Sheriff Davis encourages the men to take a polygraph examination to which they agree and appear to pass; however, Dallis's test comes out inconclusive. The men are still accused of murder and are being threatened by Travis's Brother Dan Walton (Scott MacDonald). Five days later, Walton is found alive at a gas station, naked, dehydrated and incoherent. During a welcome home party thrown by his friends and family, Walton suffers a paranoid delusion as he recounts a flashback of the abduction by the extraterrestrials aboard the UFO. In his hallucination, Walton wakes up in a cocoon-like setting attempting to escape his captivity in a suspended weightless environment. After discovering that he is not sedated or unconscious, the aliens drag him through a series of corridors to be subsequently experimented on against his will. Stripping him to his underwear and then covering him with a rubber-like sheet, which eventually pins him to the primal examination table, the aliens subject him to an extremely painful examination with him being forced to endure an optical probe. While briefly interviewing Walton, Lieutenant Watters continues to express his doubts on his abduction as merely an elaborate hoax. He notes Walton's new found celebrity status after his popularity increased by tabloids attempting to profit from his tale. The film culminates with a denouement between Walton and Rogers, with the UFO mystery essentially unresolved. The closing titles of the film inform the viewer that in February 1993, the loggers agreed to resubmit to an additional polygraph examination which they passed, corroborating their innocence.