The abduction portrayed in the movie actually had nothing to do with Walton's account. After being struck by the light, Walton remembers waking up on a table surrounded by three aliens, whom he described thusly: "Their bald heads were disproportionately large for their puny bodies. They had bulging, oversized craniums, a small jaw structure, and an underdeveloped appearance to their features that was almost infantile. Their thin-lipped mouths were narrow; I never saw them open. Lying close to their heads on either side were tiny crinkled lobes of ears. Their miniature rounded noses had small oval nostrils. The only facial feature that didn't appear underdeveloped were those incredible eyes! Those glistening orbs had brown irises twice the size of those of a normal human eye's, nearly an inch in diameter! The iris was so large that even parts of the pupils were hidden by the lids, giving the eyes a certain catlike appearance. There was very little of the white part of the eye showing. They had no lashes and no eyebrows." According to Walton's account, he leaped up from the table, grabbed an instrument on a nearby table, wielded it as a weapon, and swung it at the aliens. They filed out of the room. Walton walked into a room with a high backed chair in the middle and took a seat. Upon operating a set of controls, he deduced that he was in some sort of observatory. Suddenly, a man in a blue suit with a glass helmet came through a doorway. When Walton spoke to him, he didn't respond; he merely guided Walton through the doorway. The wordless man lead Walton through a doorway, out of a saucer-like object, into a hangar filled with other saucers, down a hallway, and into a room that featured three more humans. Walton's questions continued to go unanswered as they motioned for him to lie down on the table. One of the 'humans', a woman, placed a mask over his face and he immediately passed out. All of this was consciously recollected by Walton, and when undergoing hypnotic regression soon after the incident, he revealed no further information and stated that he felt as though delving any deeper would kill him.
There were actually a total of seven men in the logging crew. The writers whittled it down to six for the movie, not wishing to confuse the audience with too many characters. All seven men have passed lie detector tests, some of them twice.
The real life Travis Walton actually came up with his abduction story two weeks after the television release of The UFO Incident (1975), which depicts the case of Betty and Barney Hill. This led cognitive psychologist Susan Clancy to argue that this film influenced Walton to present his own alleged abduction story.