New section, new perspective. From the guy who was almost food, we shift to the pack that almost ate him.
The pack has three leaders—a big grey wolf, a three-year-old wolf, and an old, skunky one-eyed wolf. They all compete for the affections of the she-wolf.
Times are bad, but the pack runs on until they find a bull moose to eat.
The pack then breaks up into mating pairs, with the three co-leaders traveling with the she-wolf. The three-year-old tears up One Eye's ear (which should technically make him One Ear, except one of the dogs they ate was named One Ear and… oh never mind.)
One Eye and the big grey make mincemeat of the three-year-old. Then the grey makes the mistake of lowering his guard against One Eye. Competition = over.
One Eye and the she-wolf travel on until they run into a Native American camp. They then have a blast raiding the camp's rabbit snares for food.
Nature takes its course and the she-wolf soon finds herself in a family way.
She finds a cave on the bank of a river to hole up and have her cubs.
Like any good father, One Eye heads out to get food for his family. He finds a porcupine who immediately balls up. Being the clever old wolf that he is, he moves on.
He then finds a ptarmigan—a kind of bird—who's a little slow on the draw. Food = secured.
On the way back, he watches a showdown between the porcupine and a lynx. The lynx waits out the porcupine and wounds it, but earns a snootful of spines in the bargain. She runs off, leaving One Eye with tasty, tasty porcupine carcass.
He can't carry both bodies, so he eats the bird and drags the porcupine back to the wife and kids.
The Grey Cub
The she-wolf has five puppies in the litter. All have her reddish hue expect for one, who is quite grey.
The grey cub is fascinated with the "wall of light" representing the mouth of the cave. He tries to reach it a couple of times, only to get snapped back by Mom (as moms do).
The lean times come and the family gets hungry. Four of the cubs die, leaving only the grey one still alive.
One Eye vanishes too, taken down by the lynx. So, like every other single parent, Mom's gotta get up and head to work.
She stays away from the lynx, who has kittens of her own. Unfortunately, she doesn't have much choice, since her last cub still needs vittles and there's none a'comin'.
The Wall of the World
The cub grows more adventuresome when his mother is gone. He instinctively senses a wolverine prowling out front. (Insert Hugh Jackman joke here.) His mother sends the wolverine packing, but the instinctive sensing of it remains.
Still, curiosity eventually wins out, and he ventures out of the cave and into the world.
He discovers all kinds of cool things –squirrels and woodpeckers and whatnot—before stumbling into a nest of ptarmigans. He kills a chick and then the mother before a hawk scares him off. It's all as cute as can be… except for the death and killing and stuff.
The cub retreats to his cave, pondering the truths of life: living things are fun to eat, but bigger living things can eat you.
He eventually leaves again, then slips and falls into a stream. He pulls himself out, then tries to head back to Mom.
He runs into a weasel, who almost kills him. He's saved only by the timely arrival of Super Mom. She kills the weasel and eats it with her son. Ah, mother-son bonding.
The Law of Meat
The cub goes out again and finds the weasel's child. Then he eats it. He gets stronger and bolder.
His bloodlust grows, as does his admiration for his mother, who can kill like nobody's business.
Another famine comes, and he no longer hunts just because all the cool kids are doing it. He hunts in earnest.
The famine breaks and Mom comes back with food: a baby lynx.
Soon enough Cranky Mommy Lynx shows up and the battle of the moms is on.
The she-wolf kills the lynx, but is badly hurt in the process. She spends a week lying next to the lynx's body, only venturing out the drink water.
They slowly eat the lynx and the she-wolf finally heals. After that, she hunts with the pup.
The pup's lesson for this chapter is so important, London writes it in all-caps: EAT OR BE EATEN.