‘Hundreds Of Beavers’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: What Happens To Jean?

The existence of a film like Hundreds of Beavers in 2024 is a marvel. How else can you put it, given that it feels like something that was actually made in another era—when motion pictures used to be much different—and, most importantly, without words? To think that director Mike Cheslik has actually made a micro-budget (almost) silent film that is very much in line with Looney Tunes but also has a clear Midwestern influence, considering the subject matter and the settings, is astonishing! And the fact that it actually works out pretty well is surprising, as well as reassuring for filmmakers who’re out there thinking about doing something unimaginably different. Hundreds of Beavers is what can happen when someone actually shows courage.


Spoilers Ahead

What Happens In The Film?

If you’re reading this, then I’m assuming you’re here only after watching the film. If you haven’t yet done so, this is where you can put this article to the side and find a way to watch the film. It’s hard to comprehend the story of this film, at least for the first half hour. Only when our hero, a man named Jean (as the credits says), gets smitten by the merchant’s daughter does he get a purpose, and the movie gets a story. 


Not that the story matters much in Hundreds of Beavers, because even without that, what you see on the screen is pretty darn funny. For the first half hour, all this film does is add vigor to the slapstick comedy genre. All we see is this Applejack salesman trying to survive in the wilderness. And he’s not doing too well. He’s unable to catch fish; his attempts at getting eggs are all futile, and there’s this bird that keeps taunting him. Not to mention, even the wind at night keeps shifting sides and keeps putting out the fire. It’s evident that Jean is a classic loser, at least for the time being, which actually brings out all the laughs. For Jean, though, it’s not at all fun, especially with the beavers around. The beavers are the bona fide villains of the movie and pose the biggest threat. And there are literally hundreds of them around. Every time Jean sees them, they’re always carrying logs somewhere. The beavers keep harassing Jean by stealing his food and creating all kinds of havoc. 

The first half hour of Hundreds of Beavers works like a very charming, extended short. The story takes off when the other characters are introduced to the narrative. With Jean coming across the merchant, his daughter, aka the furrer, and the expert fur trapper, the story kicks off. Jean’s first encounter with the merchant and the furrer is rather awkward, thanks to his appearance, but it still turns into “love at first sight” for him. The furrer also seems to like him. But Jean has a challenge in front of him, which is to please the merchant first. Only then does he get to ask for the furrer’s hand. 


Does Jean manage to outsmart the Beavers?

Sure, Hundreds of Beavers does tell the story of a man who’s trying to win over the father of his lady love—something that we’ve probably seen in so many things before. But this is clearly not a usual, run-of-the-mill thing when it comes to its making. Not every day do you get to see human beings playing beavers (also dogs, wolves, and rabbits) wearing costumes. From its very cartoonish approach to the odd-looking monochrome, Cheslik’s film is a wonder in every possible way. So it’s only natural when the narrative turns into sort of a video game—of those kinds where you have to finish quests after quests in order to achieve the big prize. The merchant has set up a board consisting of various prizes based on what you’re bringing to him, and on that board, the final prize happens to be a wedding ring. But it’s mandatory to win all the other prizes before you even attempt to do so. 

The expert fur-trapper actually gets pretty close to the ring. It probably doesn’t make any sense for Jean to team up with that guy, who’s his potential rival, but Hundreds of Beavers is clearly not the kind of film that has to make sense all the time. So, the fur-trapper goes after the beavers, and he also takes Jean under his wing. Just when it seems like he has it under control, the man dies tragically at the hands of the beavers. Jean survives, and he takes it upon himself to take care of the beavers. Another video-game narrative starts where you’ve got another board, where Jean has to light fire, chop down trees, spy on the wolves (and not get caught), catch the fish with some bait (which has to be one of the funniest bits in the whole film), and do many other tasks to win points—and yes, we actually see that too, just like a video game. He also happens to meet a pipe-smoking indigenous man in the middle of all this, which adds another layer of fun to the whole thing.


And despite all his limitations, Jean keeps grinding and bringing the merchant things. He does manage to trap a beaver, and the furrer has a great time decimating it. The romance blossoms in the midst of the harsh winter, with the beaver threat still looming large. Jean does finish all the quests set by the merchant, but there’s only one way he can ask for the hands of his daughter. And that happens if he gets the merchant hundreds of beavers—yeah, the name is that literal! So Jean now has no choice but to follow the beavers into a place that looks a lot like their headquarters. The mystery of the logs is finally solved as we see what the beavers are doing with them. Jean finds it hella difficult to take care of them, but since this is a story about a character turning into a hero from zero, he pulls it off. Watching the whole thing unfold is a hilarious experience for the audience, which is exactly what the director wants, I suppose.

Hundreds of Beavers ends with Jean finally succeeding in his quest for love, followed by a supposedly happy-ever-after scenario. But I’ve already mentioned that for a film as ingeniously original as this one, the story hardly matters. This is a marvelous film that you’re supposed to enjoy and laugh at while having a hot cup of cocoa or a bottle of rum in your hand, whichever is your preference. Trying to make any sense of it is rather pointless, but still, I hope this article helps you if that’s your quest.


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Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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