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Most Dangerous Game

Dodge visits Tiro Fund and meets Miles Sellars, who offers him a deal: for 24 hours, Dodge will be the "prey" hunted by five "hunters" that will try to kill him. In exchange, he will have money wired to his bank account for every hour he survives, with the increments growing for every hour up to 24.5 million dollars. Miles also explains the rules: Dodge cannot stop or pause the game once it starts; he cannot tell anyone he is in the game; and he cannot leave the city. If he breaks these rules, the game will never end until he dies. Dodge initially rejects the offer, but later decides to take it at the promise of leaving Val and their child financially secure. The game starts at sunrise at 6:46 AM at a diner where Miles takes all of Dodge's belongings except for his medication, an ultrasound of his child, and a phone Miles gives him to track his location. For 15 seconds every hour, the phone will send his current location to the hunters.

Most Dangerous Game

The game begins, and Dodge eventually comes across and evades the five hunters: Nixon, a British gentleman who strictly follows the rules of the hunt; Reagan, a southern cowboy; Carter, a psychologist who uses Dodge's profile to track his next move; Kennedy, a martial arts expert; and LBJ, an older man. Dodge also runs into Connell, one of Miles' subordinates in charge of watching Dodge from the streets and cleaning up after the game.

Later, after his phone reveals his location, a shootout takes place and LBJ is killed while Reagan is injured. Dodge goes to the hospital where a nurse confirms that his medicine is fake and that there are no records of him ever being admitted there. He calls Miles, who admits that Dodge does not have a terminal illness and had been set up to accept the game. Miles reveals that Looger accepted $50,000 to drug Dodge and explains that the rules still stand. Val is kidnapped and taken to Miles as hostage.

Dodge heads to The Carrington and finds the building abandoned and Val tied up. Nixon chases Dodge to the rooftop and in the ensuing fight, Dodge falls off and hangs from the ledge. Nixon prepares to kill him by stabbing his hand, but he sees the sun rise, puts his weapon away, and politely helps Dodge back on his feet. Nixon congratulates him for a good game before walking away. Val reunites with Dodge, who gets a final call from Miles telling him that he has won the game and the money. Miles receives a new file for the next prey.

"The Most Dangerous Game", also published as "The Hounds of Zaroff", is a short story by Richard Connell,[1] first published in Collier's on January 19, 1924, with illustrations by Wilmot Emerton Heitland.[2][3] The story features a big-game hunter from New York City who falls from a yacht and swims to what seems to be an abandoned and isolated island in the Caribbean, where he is hunted by a Russian aristocrat.[4] The story is inspired by the big-game hunting safaris in Africa and South America that were particularly fashionable among wealthy Americans in the 1920s.[5]

The story has been adapted numerous times, most notably as the 1932 RKO Pictures film The Most Dangerous Game, starring Joel McCrea, Leslie Banks and Fay Wray,[6] and for a 1943 episode of the CBS Radio series Suspense, starring Orson Welles.[7] It has been called the "most popular short story ever written in English."[8] Upon its publication, it won the O. Henry Award.[4]

Big-game hunter Sanger Rainsford and his friend Whitney are traveling by ship to the Amazon rainforest for a jaguar hunt. After a discussion about the nearby Ship-Trap Island, which has an evil reputation among sailors, Whitney goes to bed while Rainsford stays on deck to smoke his pipe. Hearing gunshots in the distance, he rushes to the rail for a better look and accidentally falls overboard. Rainsford swims to Ship-Trap and finds an opulent chateau inhabited by two Cossacks: the owner, General Zaroff, and his gigantic deaf-mute servant, Ivan.[10]

Zaroff, another big-game hunter, knows of Rainsford from his published account of hunting snow leopards in Tibet. Over dinner, the middle-aged Zaroff explains that although he has been hunting animals since he was a boy, he has decided that killing big game has become boring for him. After escaping the Russian Revolution, he purchased Ship-Trap, built a home for himself, and rigged the island with lights to lure passing ships into the jagged rocks that surround it. He takes the survivors captive and hunts them for sport, giving them food, clothing, a knife, and a head start of several hours, and using only a small-caliber pistol for himself. Any captives who can elude Zaroff, Ivan, and a pack of hunting dogs for three days are set free. He reveals that he has won every hunt to date. Captives are offered a choice between being hunted or turned over to Ivan, who once served as official knouter for the Great White Czar. Rainsford denounces the hunt as barbarism, but Zaroff replies by claiming that "life is for the strong." Zaroff is enthused to have another world-class hunter as a companion and, at breakfast, offers to take Rainsford along with him on his next hunt. Rainsford staunchly refuses and demands to leave the island, disappointing Zaroff who then has another epiphany: he will hunt Rainsford. Zaroff becomes impersonal and lays out the parameters of the game as he would to any captive sailor. Rainsford reluctantly accepts the terms and receives his equipment from Ivan.

Zaroff locks himself in his bedroom and turns on the lights, only to find Rainsford waiting for him, who swam in order to sneak into the chateau without the dogs finding him. Zaroff congratulates him on winning the "game", but Rainsford decides to fight him, saying he is still a beast-at-bay and that the original hunt is not over. Accepting the challenge, a delighted Zaroff says that the loser will be fed to the dogs, while the winner will sleep in his bed. Then the story abruptly concludes later that night by stating that Rainsford enjoyed the comfort of the bed, implying that he won the duel and killed Zaroff.

There is a possible reference to "The Most Dangerous Game" in letters that the Zodiac Killer wrote to newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area in his three-part cipher: "Man is the most dangerous animal of all to kill", though he may have come up with the idea independently.[12] The 1932 film version of The Most Dangerous Game is mentioned a number of times in the 2007 film, Zodiac, a fictionalized depiction of the Zodiac Killer.[13]

Ten minutes of determined effort brought another sound to his ears--the most welcome he had ever heard--the muttering and growling of the sea breaking on a rocky shore. He was almost on the rocks before he saw them; on a night less calm he would have been shattered against them. With his remaining strength he dragged himself from the swirling waters. Jagged crags appeared to jut up into the opaqueness; he forced himself upward, hand over hand. Gasping, his hands raw, he reached a flat place at the top. Dense jungle came down to the very edge of the cliffs. What perils that tangle of trees and underbrush might hold for him did not concern Rainsford just then. All he knew was that he was safe from his enemy, the sea, and that utter weariness was on him. He flung himself down at the jungle edge and tumbled headlong into the deepest sleep of his life.

When he opened his eyes he knew from the position of the sun that it was late in the afternoon. Sleep had given him new vigor; a sharp hunger was picking at him. He looked about him, almost cheerfully.

Rainsford's first impression was that the man was singularly handsome; his second was that there was an original, almost bizarre quality about the general's face. He was a tall man past middle age, for his hair was a vivid white; but his thick eyebrows and pointed military mustache were as black as the night from which Rainsford had come. His eyes, too, were black and very bright. He had high cheekbones, a sharpcut nose, a spare, dark face--the face of a man used to giving orders, the face of an aristocrat. Turning to the giant in uniform, the general made a sign. The giant put away his pistol, saluted, withdrew.

"Not in the least," declared Rainsford. He was finding the general a most thoughtful and affable host, a true cosmopolite. But there was one small trait of the general's that made Rainsford uncomfortable. Whenever he looked up from his plate he found the general studying him, appraising him narrowly.

For a moment the general did not reply; he was smiling his curious red-lipped smile. Then he said slowly, "No. You are wrong, sir. The Cape buffalo is not the most dangerous big game." He sipped his wine. "Here in my preserve on this island," he said in the same slow tone, "I hunt more dangerous game."

The general filled both glasses, and said, "God makes some men poets. Some He makes kings, some beggars. Me He made a hunter. My hand was made for the trigger, my father said. He was a very rich man with a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea, and he was an ardent sportsman. When I was only five years old he gave me a little gun, specially made in Moscow for me, to shoot sparrows with. When I shot some of his prize turkeys with it, he did not punish me; he complimented me on my marksmanship. I killed my first bear in the Caucasus when I was ten. My whole life has been one prolonged hunt. I went into the army--it was expected of noblemen's sons--and for a time commanded a division of Cossack cavalry, but my real interest was always the hunt. I have hunted every kind of game in every land. It would be impossible for me to tell you how many animals I have killed."

"Oh," said the general, "it supplies me with the most exciting hunting in the world. No other hunting compares with it for an instant. Every day I hunt, and I never grow bored now, for I have a quarry with which I can match my wits."

A trace of anger was in the general's black eyes, but it was there for but a second; and he said, in his most pleasant manner, "Dear me, what a righteous young man you are! I assure you I do not do the thing you suggest. That would be barbarous. I treat these visitors with every consideration. They get plenty of good food and exercise. They get into splendid physical condition. You shall see for yourself tomorrow." 041b061a72

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