Land of the Lost
Season 3, Episode 11
00ancient guardian
Air date November 20, 1976
Episode Guide
Ancient Guardian was the Eleventh Episode of the Third Season of the Land of the Lost.

Summary Edit

The Marshalls unwittingly wreak havoc on the Sleestak after moving a sacred statue.


Late evening, the Marshalls are running through the jungle, fleeing an unspecified threat, possibly the Sleestak. Holly falters, but is encouraged on by Will.

As they continue fleeing into what Holly describes as "the edge of a forbidden area" (although what is meant by this is never clarified), they discover a wooden totem resembling a Sleestak with glass eyes. Will suggests taking the statue with them, so they have time to decipher the glyphs carved into the front of the statue.

Back at the cave, Cha-Ka is very concerned about the presence of the Sleestak totem, describing it as "very bad." Due to Cha-Ka's apprehension, Jack and Will move the statue outside the Lost Temple.

That night, Holly is awakened by the bellowing of a large, hairy ape-like creature strongly resembling The Tappa outside their home in the Lost Temple, but no one else seems to have heard it.

The creature, called Kona, has now moved onto the Sleestak caves where he attacks and easily overpowers the Sleestak. Concerned for what would happen if Kona reaches the hatching chamber, the Sleestak Leader awakens Enik. Enik repels the creature using a device that fires a strange green ray, causing it to flee back to where it came from.

Consulting the Skull of the Voice of Wisdom, which, as usual, couches its responses in vague, cryptic riddles, the Sleestak deduce that the Marshalls have removed the Ancient Guardian, the wooden totem that was taken by Jack and Will. Enik volunteers to speak to the Marshalls to ensure they don't disturb the Guardian again.

Meanwhile, the Sleestak have approached the Marshall's home and take the Ancient Guardian. The following morning, the Marshalls discover that the Sleestaks' removal of the statue. Enik appears and warns the Marshalls against disturbing the statue again, explaining that it keeps Kona out of the Land of the Lost, although Enik is unaware of how precisely the statue does this.

After Enik leaves, Jack Marshall is skeptical of Enik's assertion that the statue keeps Kona out of the valley, dismissing it as a myth. And the Marshalls return to the Ancient Guardian to attempt to decipher the symbols in front of the statue. Upon arrival, they encounter Enik who repeats his warning. Jack responds that he only wishes to look at the symbols, not harm the Ancient Guardian.

They are interrupted by the approach of Kona and observe, to see if the Ancient Guardian truly keeps Kona at bay. To Enik's surprise, Kona is not stopped by the totem, and knocks it over, breaking off the statue's arm.

As Enik leaves to warn the Sleestak of Kona's approach, the Marshalls take the Ancient Guardian a second time and return to the Lost Temple with it.

Kona has returned to the Sleestak caves. Enik attempts to drive it off using the same weapon he had successfully used previously. This time, however, Kona blocks the beam from Enik's weapon with a rock. Kona then makes his way to the hatchery, consuming and absconding with the Sleestaks' eggs.

Back at the Lost Temple, Jack continues to examine the Ancient Guardian, having repaired the statue's arm with pitch. Unseen by the Marshalls, the statue discharges a strange, wide red beam from its eyes, igniting a small fire, which Jack quickly extinguishes. Not having seen the cause of the fire, Will unfairly blames Cha-Ka. Stung by the accusation, Cha-Ka retires to the inside of the Temple.

In examining the symbols from the statue that have been transcribed on a flat surface, Holly observes that they resemble simple mathematical equations. In examining the symbols, Jack deduces that one of the symbols refers to "optics."

In the Sleestak caves, the Skull of the Voice of Wisdom predicts only doom for the Sleestak. The Sleestak leader vows to punish the Marshalls for causing this calamity.

After laying out the mathematical equations suggested by the symbols, Jack quickly concludes that the Ancient Guardian has a series of complex lenses and prisms in its eyes which concentrate the rays of the sun into an intense beam of heat. And that it must be angled precisely in order to function.

Realizing they must replace the Ancient Guardian and angle it precisely, the Marshalls vow to return it in the morning. As Jack goes outside the Temple, he is ambushed by the Sleestak, who also enter the Marshalls' home to attack the rest of the family, but Cha-Ka and Holly manage to repel the Sleestak using exploding crystals.

Enik then appears. After Jack explains that he's deduced how the Ancient Guardian works, and vows to replace it so it will function properly, Enik goes to relay Jack's message to the rest of the Sleestak.

In the morning, the Marshalls are quickly replacing the Ancient Guardian, with Jack pointing out that if the alignment is off even by a tiny bit it will not function properly. When the Ancient Guardian is angled precisely, the eyes fire beams of intense heat, heating the stones surrounding the mountain pass used by Kona to enter the valley. Kona appears, only to recoil from the intense heat, shaking his fists and bellowing in rage.

Back at the Lost Temple, the Marshalls conclude that the earlier Sleestaks were more advanced than they had previously thought, and that, in the future, if they don't understand something (such as the purpose of the Ancient Guardian), they should leave it alone. Holly then requests a song from Will, "something cheerful." Will obliges, singing and accompanying himself on his crudely fashioned guitar with a surprisingly good sound, considering it's fashioned from indigenous materials.


  • "Leave things alone that you don't understand."




  • Cha-Ka demonstrates an acute sense of smell, even to the point where he can sense Enik's arrival before he's actually seen.
  • The Marshalls seem very self-congratulatory after replacing the statue, thereby saving the Sleestak (and themselves) from Kona, considering they were the ones who endangered the Sleestak in the first place by removing the statue, allowing Kona to cause them serious destruction.
  • The Marshalls also seem rather unconcerned about possible retaliation from the Sleestak once the statue has been replaced, despite the harm Kona caused them, including the destruction of their hatchery. Perhaps the Sleestak are more magnanimous than their vicious reputation would indicate.
  • The deciphering of the glyphs on the front of the Ancient Guardian was extremely implausible. From a language he has never seen, Jack concludes both the precise alignment required for the statue to function, and the fact that the statue, when angled properly, will produce beams of intense heat due to lenses and prisms embedded in the eyes.
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