Set in 1950s Montana, "Wildlife" shows and tells the drama and angst that a teenage boy, Joe, goes through, witnessing both his parents split up in his presence. His father, Jerry, loses his job. And though he was offered his job back, he refuses to take it back because he "won't work for those kind of people anymore". So instead, he takes a job fighting a forest fire, which his wife, Jeanette, is dead set against, both for safety reasons, and because she's convinced that he will be unfaithful while away. But he leaves anyway. And yet, without anything happening to him, or any evidence of hanky-panky on his part, she acts the way one would expect her to act had he perished in the fire, or if she had found out that he had been unfaithful while away. This fact causes Joe to acquire uneasy feelings toward his mother. His father does return however. But the three are no happier for it, as Jeanette has taken up with a new significant other in her life. And Jerry reacts furiously against this. The parents wind up separating as she moves to take up a teaching job in Oregon, while Joe continues to live with his father. And then, she suddenly announces that she's taking the bus to visit over the weekend. Perhaps in an odd way, this movie combines both a satisfactory and unsatisfactory ending.