The Great Alone (2015) Movie Script

Welcome to Front Street, Nome.
This is Iditarod 1978.
There's about 400 people
here in Front Street, Nome.
Two mushers, Rick Swenson and
Dick Mackey are less than a
mile from the finish line, the
end of the Iditarod trail.
Oh, I can see the teams. They
are neck and neck by golly.
From here Chris you
should have an awfully
good view from your
vantage point.
Dick Mackey right now is ahead.
He is pumping furiously.
The dogs are moving very
well down the front street.
Dick Mackey is coming along.
Tom, can you see them
any better now than I?
Here comes the first dog, the
first lead dog, down the jute.
And that indeed is number
13; 13 is Dick Mackey.
They're both running.
Rick Swenson maybe 4
feet behind Mackey.
The dogs look awfully good.
Here comes Dick Mackey.
The team is pulling up
almost neck and neck.
And Mackey just, oh my God.
Dick Mackey collapsed. There's
a crowd of people around Dick.
Mostly photographers. His
son is with him right now.
Dick Mackey, the winner of the
1978 Iditarod Trail Race.
Official time is one second
apart between the two racers.
It was 14 days, 18 hours,
52 minutes, 24 seconds.
Just finished 1,049 miles of
an incredibly difficult trail.
Lucky number 13. He did it.
I remember like
it was yesterday.
At 8 years old seeing dad
win really, really stuck.
All I wanted to do
was be like my dad.
I couldn't imitate him enough.
3,2,1 Go!
We're back at it again. Wearing
bib number 5, Lance Mackey.
Back in 1978, father Dick won
the Iditarod by one second.
Lance Mackey is on
his way to Nome.
That's it. Hut, hut.
That's it gentlemen.
When I was young
people would ask me
'Are you related
to Dick Mackey?'
It was a pretty big deal.
Good job guys.
Winning the Iditarod was
definitely my ultimate goal.
It's a thousand miles over some
of Mother Nature's
worst terrain.
I just wanted to accomplish
what very few people have.
The Iditarod is a 1,049
mile sled dog race
across the arctic
wilderness of Alaska.
More people have summitted Mt.
Everest than
have successfully
completed the Iditarod.
In 2013 Lance Mackey
attempted his 12th Iditarod.
That's it. Good boys.
Welcome to Nikolai Lance.
I'll check your gear after you
That's beautiful. Hut, hut.
Lance Mackey is currently in
2nd place out of 66 mushers.
Lance Mackey is 2013 Iditarod.
You're second into Nikolai.
Are you feeling good
coming in here?
I'm kind of shocked
at where we're
at and the way
they're performing.
Have some straw.
It's much warmer.
They're young yeah.
So I'm just driving
this puppy team
according to what I
think they're capable.
Ah, shit.
Knowing the trail
that you have left
ahead of you, what's your plan?
What's your goal then for
the rest of 2013 Iditarod?
Right at the moment I'm thinking
one checkpoint at a time,
one run at a time.
You know? And just
kind of trying
to stay, you know,
at the moment.
Not thinking too far ahead.
Whether we get there first or
twenty-first remains to be seen.
It looks pretty
good at the moment.
Lance Mackey in Nikolai.
Reporting for
Iditarod 41; I'm
Laureli Kinneen.
Hut. Come on there. Hut.
That's it. Alright. Alright.
That a boys'.
I tell people all the
time when they'd ask me
'When did you start racing?'
I say 'Before I was born.'
He really did start mushing
before he was born.
I was 7 months
pregnant with him when
I was in the North
American Race.
He had his little foot
right under my ribcage.
And every time I'd
kick, he'd kick.
And he was just
kicking his way out.
He wasn't very big
when he was born.
Oh, what a little
terror in there.
Lance grew up in a dog lot.
When he was old
enough to carry one
of these little
kid's beach pails
and a little shovel he'd be out
there and he'd give them food,
or he'd haul water or whatever.
As soon as he was old enough
I built Lance his own
sled and sewed him up his
harnesses and stuff.
He entered his first race and
he won it. I mean it was great.
Every waking moment it was
something to do with dogs.
Lance, are you going
to boot them all?
5,4,3,2,1 Go.
Lance Mackey is on the trail.
Finish line will be where the
banner is hanging up there.
Other mushers always
at the house.
Our house was a
congregating point.
And he'd sit there and
listen to all of this
conversation about dogs.
It's hard to be in a room
like that full of people
and not feel the excitement
that they're feeling.
Or the energy that
they're feeling.
And I want to be a part of that.
At the time I didn't
know the significance
of who was in my living room.
Joe Reddington Sr. was
at our house a lot.
That was Grandpa Joe.
The Iditarod was
started because of
a gentleman named Joe Reddington
who saw the sled
dog disappearing
from the native
villages of Alaska.
And he didn't want it.
He didn't want the sled dog
to disappear from the state.
And so he started
this race to make
sure that those
villages would keep the
sled dogs intact and
that Alaska wouldn't
lose that part of their history.
Joe and I wrote down what we
thought the rules would be.
The first one was that the
race shall start on the first
Saturday of March at 10:00
in the morning regardless of
The Iditarod is a
thousand miles.
And it starts in Anchorage and
it goes all the way to Nome.
It goes up over the
Alaska range some of the
tallest mountains and
peaks in the world,
it goes through the cold
bank of the interior before
it hits the Yukon River
and then the Artic Coast;
the Bering Sea Coast.
The rules are pretty
bare bone jungle rules.
No assistance. You can
come into villages.
You can take advantage of
but there's no pit crew.
The winner will generally do
it in less than 9 days now.
With mushers out on the
trail for 14-15 days.
I've seen broken
bones out there.
These people defy common sense.
They defy the average
laws of toughness.
The very first year
they didn't know
if anybody would
even get to Nome.
You know?
And when they left
we didn't know
if we'd ever see them again.
I'm proud of the
fact that my dad was
involved putting
this event together.
This is Lance's second Junior
Iditarod. He is 15 years old.
He's one of the famous
Mackey Iditarod clan.
All Lance ever knew was
Iditarod. That's all he knew.
Lance Mackey 1986
Junior Iditarod.
Lance, congratulations.
You did your best boy.
Don't let nobody get
in front of you.
Alright. Smile. The Mackey boys.
Those two were always
up to something.
What one didn't think
of, the other did.
We couldn't get
away with nothing
You know they always say
'Mom knows everything.' Well,
you best believe they do.
She would catch us
doing things sometimes
that we weren't
supposed to be doing.
Sure enough, here she'd come.
It's mom.
I started flying when I was big
enough to reach the pedals.
Dick bought me an
airplane for Christmas.
I just about killed
myself in it.
I was safe. I mean I
never cracked one up.
I didn't, you know,
I never had
I went through the trees one
Mom's always been more
or less a tomboy.
She always had short hair.
Kind of looked like a guy.
She had no problem
digging ditches and
banging nails or whatever.
She used to take us
down to the airport
and just watch planes fly.
Landing and, you know, touch
and go's and all that.
And you know our big thing was
'What kind of plane is that?'
I remember one day she took us
down to watch the airplanes.
It was odd to see
mom drinking beer
at, you know, 10:00
in the morning.
And driving for one. You know?
So something was up.
It was real quiet.
I was sitting there watching
these damn airplanes take off.
And she broke it to us that
her and dad was splitting up.
He wouldn't be coming home.
Dad and I just ain't - dad's not
going to live here no more.
Well, what did we do? You know?
How come dad ain't
going to live with
us no more? Don't
he like us no more?
You know? And they were little.
They don't understand.
Hell, I didn't understand.
I had been with Dick since
I was 19 years old.
What the Hell am I
going to do now?
I didn't know.
I just knew that my kids were
going to be with me. Period.
I felt like my dad abandoned us.
You know? He'd
send money for dog
food or whatever occasionally.
I say occasionally. He
probably did it every month.
Mom used it for bills
if need be, you know?
It was just a struggle.
That's it, hut.
They're coming.
There he is. Woohoo.
Welcome to McGrath man.
How's it going?
Pretty good.
Thanks for your help
out here again.
You bet.
Hut. Let him go. Let him go.
Alright. Hut.
Hey, get up there.
Let me reach down there for
a second.
There we go.
Listen to me boys.
Alright. Hut. Hut.
I wished I'd a spent
more time with the kids.
Hell, I was off work at-
You get home from work, ya
eat, then you go run dogs.
Then you feed them,
then you go bed.
Then you get up the next day.
When were you going to
spend time with your kids?
Weekends? Okay. And what
did you do then? Dogs.
You want to be a part of it?
Come on kid. You know?
That's just the way it was.
I knew the personalities,
and quirks, and in and outs
of my dogs better than I
understood my children.
My dad was 80 years old before I
went fishing or
hunting with him.
Living in the state of Alaska?
Are you kidding me?
Soon as my kids were
old enough to walk
I bought them a
fishing pole and gun.
We went camping, we go
hiking, we go rafting.
You know?
I had to go Montana, buy
my dad a fishing pole,
take him down to a river that
didn't even have a fish in it
to get a picture of him
with a fishing pole, with me.
I mean that -
you know?
And you know what he said?
I reminded him of
that not too long
ago and you know
what he told me?
'I never been much
of a fisherman.'
I don't give a shit if he ever
fished a day in his life.
Teach your damn kids to fish.
You know?
I still don't know
him the way most
kids should know their father.
You could sit here and tell
me that my dad was a good guy
and he's just trying to make
a living and providing.
You know whatever
the case may be.
But none of that stuff
ever registered to me.
I think some of the
things I did back then
was basically to try
to get his attention.
The way Lance dealt was 'I'll
just turn into a little jerk.'
You know? Because now I'm
pissed off at the entire world.
I'm mad at mom, I'm mad at dad.
I'm mad at life.
Hut. Hut.
Rebel is an understatement.
I went crazy.
Doing stuff no parent would
brag about their kid doing.
Come on, Hut, Hut.
There was many weekends Id get
put in jail for minor consuming.
Drunk in public.
I can get in trouble and
moms going to bail me out.
I'll never forget one time
they called her and she's like
'Let him sit there. I can't
take off work. I'll be
there if I can get there,
when I can get there.'
And they come back and
they told me that.
'Sorry, you ain't
leaving today.'
'Your mom said she
ain't coming.'
And I'm like 'Bullshit.
Mom's coming to get me.
She always does.'
'Not this time boy.' You know?
Three or four attempts at high
school and still a freshman.
My mom knew that
there was something
going on. Didn't
know exactly what.
So she put me in a drug rehab.
And the drug rehab
kicked me out.
Hut. Yep, yep. Come on here.
Hut. Yep.
Get up.
Good to see you man.
Good to see you.
Win yourself some gold?
Yeah. This is worth
the effort I think.
You know the dogs deserve
it more than I do.
Holy cow. He's been
in here about four
hours now. He's still
trying to perform
but he was just- come here.
He wasn't so enthused
about this whole mess.
I think maybe just a
good meal, a good rest
and he might just be a
whole different dog again.
You're not sure about
this stuff are ya?
I got to run this team according
to what it's capable of doing.
Not worry about what's
going on behind me.
And if I happen to
get to Nome and
there's nobody in front of me?
I won.
Lance congratulations
on being the first to
reach the halfway point
on the 2013 Iditarod.
On behalf of GCI and Iditarod
committee it's my pleasure to
present you with this year's
$3000 worth of gold nuggets.
In addition to the gold nuggets
you'll get to keep this trophy.
And we will also add your
name to the permanent halfway
point winners list which is
in the Iditarod gallery.
Making sure you got
it all out of there.
You get to take it home.
That's awesome. Thank you.
Much as I'd love to
stand around and count
them I'm going to
leave that up to you.
I'm going to take a little,
I don't know, catnap.
We'll see you gentleman shortly.
You earned it.
Thank you much.
- Good luck the rest of the way.
- See you soon
Good night lance.
I've only slept one hour
since the starting line.
I don't know how people
do this shit every year.
Oh, that feels so good.
Yep. Haw. Haw.
That's it. Alright. Alright.
Thatta boys'. Good job guys.
Good boys. Good boys.
There. Mmm. Look at that.
Oh, that looks good.
How about you Reverend?
Who you want to win?
Who you want to win?
I thought you were going to win.
That's a good answer.
Oh yeah. Nice.
They stopped more on that run.
And I stopped the whole
damn race combined.
Okay. Good enough for me.
I drop a dog in Iditarod.
And when I leave he's the only
one barking and screaming to go.
Everybody else was
just, you know,
got up and we marched
out of there.
I had to- before I
even left I went
over and said goodbye
to him again.
Just I'm sorry.
You're the one that told
me you wanted to stay.
Now you're tel- you know?
You're here.
Now you're telling
me you want to go.
Yeah. Racing anxiety.
I was - he stood
up the whole time.
From the time I
dropped him, until
the time I left. He
never laid down.
I felt so bad.
What was his name?
Oh man. Get some
sleep if you can.
I don't know.
I don't think I'll be here
long enough to sleep.
When I was 15 mom was frustrated
and over her head on what to do.
So she thought it would
be a great idea to
send me to my dad's
truck stop in Coldfoot.
Coldfoot is 65 miles above the
Arctic Circle on the
Dalton Highway.
And its claim to
fame is the Northern
Most Truck Stop in the World.
I had driven all the
way up from Wasilla to
distribute these bear
proof garbage cans.
I said 'You can't even get a
cup of coffee on this road.'
A friend of mine owned a school
bus made into a kitchen.
And I said
'What do you think
if we was to take
that school bus of
yours and go up
there and we just
sell hot dogs, and
soup and whatever
for the summer?'
and we pulled in there
just dead tired.
Got a few hours' sleep.
Woke up the next
morning and there was
100 trucks parked
in that gravel pit.
Wanted to know when they
could get something to eat.
And I went 'Ding, ding,
ding, ding, ding.'
And we were off and running.
We developed a little town.
We had a post office.
We had a store.
We had a bar. We had
overnight facilities.
Not to mention a restaurant
for truckers and etc.
By the time I got up there it
was still a work in process.
He's right in the middle
of building a business
with 50 employees or
however many he had.
And all of a sudden
he's got to be a dad.
No, I was more like
another employee.
500 trucks through there a day.
I learned a lot of things
but I was also unguided.
I'd do whatever I
want pretty much.
When you're trying to build
something like Coldfoot,
you know, it's 24/7.
You're just going
And so as long as we were under
the radar we were golden.
I would go out with a bucket
of water and a squeegee when
they pulled in and washed their
windows and their lights.
And I found out which one
would give me a Bud.
Or something else.
Pretty soon I'm spending
all my money doing
the same shit that I
was doing in Wasilla.
Just took me a little
longer to figure
this whole system out. You know?
Dad was just getting into the
tour companies running up there.
And I remember him offering
me a job as a baggage
carrier for the tourists
coming off the buses.
Are you kidding me?
I would never do that. You know?
I'm a carpenter, I'm
this, I'm that.
But I'm not a baggage bus boy.
He just kind of looked
at me like 'I'm
handing you a start
to a goldmine.
This could all be yours.'
And I just gave him the bird
and packed my shit and left.
Hut. Hey. Hey.
That's it. Good boys. Alright.
That's it.
Good job guys.
How many dogs we got?
Not enough. 11.
My run from Eagle
Island up to Kaltag
was as slow as I've ever done.
And for whatever reason it's
the speed they want to go now.
What do you say boy? Hmm?
I've been breathing cold
air on an exposed tooth.
I was eating fudge and
it had nuts in it.
Not the most pleasant feeling.
At least I saved my tooth.
Almost swallowed the damn thing.
I've been dealing with
my teeth for years now.
Oh, pretty hard to get to
a dentist at the moment.
I just need some Advil
and a tall Crown Royal.
Okay. That will work.
Ah, everything feels so good.
I don't know what to tell ya.
I'm sure it probably does.
Just take one tablet by
mouth six to eight hours.
Thank you.
My teeth are falling out. My
toes black with frostbite.
Lance? Stu's on the
phone upstairs.
He said he had something
to talk to you about.
About my other dog?
I don't know. You'll
have to call him.
Hello Stu? This is Leslie
from Kaltag. Is this you?
I have Lance here. Could
you take the call please?
Doc, how you doin?
Yes sir. Tell me the news.
Oh boy.
Are you there?
Lost him.
Okay. Well he's
alive but barely.
He has an ulcer.
He lost a lot of blood.
There you go precious.
Can you show them how
it's done Rev? Hmm?
Hut, come on there. Hut.
Thatta boy.
Thatta boy.
When I left my dad's truck
stop in Cold Foot I was
pretty adamant about not
going back to my mom's.
I didn't have any money. None.
I had nowhere to go.
I ended up getting a
job down in Kodiak.
Working in a Cannery.
My first real job.
Kodiak was one of the
biggest boom fishing
towns in the state of
Alaska at one time.
And yeah, there was
millions of dollars coming
in and out of there
in months at a time.
I ended up getting a job on the
boat they called The Mariah.
I'll never forget getting
out in the middle
of the Bering Sea
when it's pitch
black in the middle of June.
You can hear the wind.
There's a snow squall.
The seas about 35 feet.
We're not getting a
whole lot of sleep.
We are getting our
asses handed to us.
I went up by the wheelhouse
where nobody else could see me.
Out in the blunt of the storm.
I knew I was dying.
I wasn't coming home.
And I sat there and cried.
I got my shit together and
I went back down,
finished out the trip and I made
like $5500 bucks that month.
I was rich.
Holy shit. $5500 bucks?
For a month?
Oh, I forgot all about
how miserable it was.
And how cold it was. And
how tired and how hungry.
Oh, buddy. I'm going back now.
I could hardly get a dishwashing
job but now I could
go and make $50,000-$60,000
grand in no time?
Then it was also justifiable
to come back to town
for three days and spend
$2000 bucks partying.
I was hooked right there.
It got worse and worse with
the more money I made.
And the more people I met.
It wasn't a healthy lifestyle.
How you doing?
What you think Big Al?
There you go.
You a handsome boy, huh?
You a handsome boy. Yeah.
That's nice. Hold on a second.
Much easier if you
do it yourself.
He just wanted some company.
When I got here Larry asked
me if I wanted a piece of it.
I didn't know he was going to
go make them bring it down.
Oh yeah. Just came
out of the oven.
Oh, it's hot.
Doesn't get any better
than that right there.
I'm not sure how many people
got pizza brought to them.
It's been a Hell of a welcoming
committee everywhere I go.
You're biggest fan here has
got a surprise for you.
Moose jerky.
Oh, look at you.
And smoked salmon.
Thank you.
We're twins. You're missing
the same tooth I am.
I dont have many
teeth as it is.
It sure sucks not
having another one.
Maybe I should just go
have a liquid diet.
That would take care of my
tooth problem wouldn't it?
You're almost there.
It's been the slowest trip ever.
I mean speed wise.
I mean I don't know
if we're still
on day 9 or something
at the moment.
There you go.
I bet you go to sleep.
I ended up meeting
this gal, Tonya.
We were both on a
dead end street
with dead end relationships.
She had three small kids.
I needed somebody to help
me straighten out my life.
She needed to have a father
figure around for the girls.
We felt we could
help each other.
Three months later
we got married.
We're starting over. Let's
start over somewhere
completely different
where we know nobody.
Not a clue in what the
hell was going to happen,
how we was going to
make it even happen.
We're going to drive until
we're out of money.
To a place where we
don't know anybody.
That took us to the
Kenai Peninsula.
We set up camp. We made a big -
more or less a house
out of blue tarps.
Put the tent inside
the blue tarp.
Found an old couch, an old
piece of carpet at the dump.
Every single day we'd
build a campfire.
That was how we cooked.
But it was going into winter.
It was getting kind of cold. We
don't really have nowhere to go.
We damn sure ain't staying
in a tent all winter.
I didn't have a chainsaw.
I didn't have a nail or
hammer, nothing like that.
But I had a handsaw.
And I went over and started
cutting trees down by hand.
We're building a
house right here.
Not sure exactly
what kind of house.
But we're going to have it
right here. We're going to
use these stumps as
part of the foundation.
I'm hustling.
Anything and everything I
possibly can for a $20 bill.
I just stuffed the
walls full of old
clothes that we got
at Salvation Army.
I'd stop at the dumpster
every single day.
I found a wood stove,
I found tires.
I mean all kinds of
things I could use.
Things were just
flowing together.
Well, then I got this
harebrained idea.
'Man, I'm going to have to
get a couple of dogs again.'
It seemed like maybe
a matter of a week
and I had 2, 3 dogs
in the backyard.
Next thing I know I
have 20 dogs now.
The dogs I got were
all leftovers.
Dogs that came from the
pound and off the streets.
Misfit dogs that
nobody else wanted.
It was stupid cause we're
barely feeding ourselves.
That winter there
was a little local
sprint race track
on the peninsula.
The first time I went down there
the people in the neighborhood
said 'Man this is one of the
most jalopy teams I ever seen.'
I had all their rejects and
I ended up beating them.
I was back the next weekend,
and the following weekend.
And I raced every weekend.
I told Tonya one day
'I'm going to run the
Iditarod next year.'
This is the start
of Iditarod 29.
Lance Mackey on his way to gold.
The first 20 years of my life I
put my parents through hell.
I finally realized that
life's too damn short
to be screwing up.
I want my dad and my mom to be
proud of the things I'm doing.
And not be ashamed
and disappointed.
They called me from McGrath.
and man he was on
top of the world.
'Mom, I am having such a
good time at -' you know.
On and on and on.
Just everything was good.
He got to Kaltag and
he called me again.
And he said 'I don't know.
I don't know if I'm
even going to make it.'
I remember going from Kaltag to
And I heard these
wolves behind me.
Yep. Hut. Hut. No. No.
Maybe I was hallucinating
I don't know.
Cause I never did see them.
I remember turning
around real fast.
My eyes went dark and I
hit the deck basically.
I didn't know exactly
what had happened but
I was not feeling right.
Since he was a little, little
boy never ever complained.
He had strep throat one
time with a 105 fever.
'How do you feel Lance?' 'Fine.'
I knew something was up.
Prior to going into the race
I had this little
lump on my throat.
They kept telling me that
I had this abscess tooth.
Gave me some pain
killers and some
antibiotics and
sent me on my way.
As I continued to Nome things
started growing rapidly.
It went from the size
of pea to the size of
softball in just a
short couple of weeks.
But I pushed on and I
made it to Nome with
with this thing growing in my
Not knowing that it was
ultimately cancer.
The doctor he just looked at
me and said 'Lance I'm sorry.
And I am telling you
straight up, it's serious.'
There was really a slim chance
that I would pull through this.
It was wrapped around
some of the main things.
Cutting of the
circulation to my brain.
You know, I mean every
time I turned around they
might as well have been
talking Japanese cause
I wasn't understanding
these terms.
And all the things that they
said was not going to happen.
Or the things they said I
wouldn't be able to do.
You know? I wouldn't
ever race dogs again.
I probably wouldn't have
any use of my right arm.
I could be mentally
challenged afterwards
because of the whole operation.
I mean all these different
things were just like,
phew, right over my head.
Family and friends all got
together at his moms house.
Trying to be cheerful you know?
But it was a pretty
tense evening.
That was awful.
I just gave him a great big hug.
We all just kind of
went through the motions until
it was time to go
to the hospital.
Nothing ever really sank in
until I was laying
on that hospital bed
just fixing to go into
the doors to go surgery.
And they said
'You need to say goodbye
to your family.'
And, I mean I remember just
starting to cry profusely.
Cause now all of
sudden it made sense
that I might not be
coming out of this.
The doctor finally
came out and said
he looked me right in
the eye and he said
'Well he ain't pretty
but I got it all.'
Yep, that was relief.
The dogs, they absolutely
knew that I was sick.
I missed them and I needed them.
On the weekends my wife and
my kids would come to see me,
they would sneak a dog or
two into the hospital.
The first time it
happened I cried.
Then I couldn't wait for
it to happen again.
And I cried even harder
the second time.
The radiation treatments they
were fixing to give me were
not only kill the saliva
glands but there would never
be enough saliva produced for
protection for my teeth.
And inevitably they'd be
rotten and falling out.
Shit their only teeth.
Take them. You know?
Main artery showing in my neck-
very, very vulnerable
to scratches.
They told me flat out
'If you get a tree
branch that pokes you
in the neck and pops that open
you're going to bleed to death.
If you get a dog
that jumps up on
you, and scratches
you with a toenail
real bad, and pops that open?
You're going to bleed to death.'
I was warned.
In fact I was told
not to ever race
dogs again because
I'm setting myself up for,
you know, death basically.
But I'm stubborn.
If I fall off my sled I'm
going to have a smile
on my face doing
something I love to do.
Don't tell me I can't
run the Iditarod again,
don't tell me I can't
get up and walk now.
Don't tell me I can't.
No, I remember
telling him, don't worry about
the dogs' dude. I got the dogs.
I'll take care of the dogs.
And he wouldn't have
no part of that.
He was like 'No.
I'm going to get
out of this treatment today,
and we're going
to the peninsula,
and I'm going to run dogs.'
I thought he was an idiot.
But I also knew that
that was really
the only thing
keeping him going.
The dogs needed me.
And I needed them
at the same time.
When I was a little boy
my dad said 'If you
tip over you don't just let go.
You hang on.
There's going to be bumps
and bruises along the way.
If you fall off
your sled you get
up and get back on it.
Keep going.'
I drew bib number 13 in 1978.
For the '78 race.
It was my 6th attempt.
Years later here comes Lance.
Bib number 13. His 6th attempt.
Lucky position number 13.
Lance Mackey.
I feel I'm indebted to my dogs.
And I'm going to
do my best to pay
them back for changing my life.
Lance Mackey on his way to Nome.
I believe we got a second
chance at life for a reason.
This is the reason.
Let's go.
We barely got going and
we had a major setback.
Right down the creek.
Right on the ice.
Did he miss it again?
Look at that ice. That's
just nasty looking.
That's a tough area there.
On the second day of
racing Lance broke
the runner off the
back of his sled.
So basically he's on one runner,
navigating some
really dicey trail.
That was a close call.
Okay I'm imagining he's really
thinking 'Man, I'm
glad I made it.'
That could have been dicey.
He bounced like ricochet rabbit
through the Dolsal Gorge.
It's a notorious canyon.
It was a hell of
an accomplishment
just making it with
good equipment.
When I saw the
runner broken on his
sled and him riding
on one runner,
I just went 'Oh, I'm
so sorry Lance.
I guess this ain't your year.'
And I fully expected
him to scratch.
Because going down the Dolsal
Gorge on one runner is asinine.
One freakin runner.
I had it all bolted into there.
This is so -
It was working pretty good.
It actually held
up by 2 hours.
See when I got it done
I was making the joke
'I don't need another sled.
This will make it to Nome.'
Right. Oh what a wreck.
I imagine he's really
going to be glad
he got through here
in the daylight.
Oh yeah.
That's it. Alright. Hut, hut.
That a boy.
When you leave Rohn for
the next 90 miles these
are the toughest miles
that the race knows.
I mean it's up and down.
And it's ice, it's rocks, it's
It's holes, it's tussocks.
It's the fair well burn.
It is hell.
For him to go out there
with one runner - people
didn't know if he was going
to get there safely.
Oh man. I wiped out a couple
times coming through the Dorsal.
So just from that one runner.
You know? There's no -
you take a turn. You know how
sometimes you power slide.
And there's no runner
there to keep it. Wham.
I managed to make it to Nikolai.
There was two sleds sitting
there that belonged
to people that had
scratched in the race.
One guy said 'Yeah, you
can use my sled. $3000.'
Well that wasn't going to work.
The other person said flat out
'No, you're not using my sled.'
I just realized right then and
there that a lot of these people
that I called my friends were
nothing more than competition.
We put the word out that
I needed a sled and I
had a sled waiting when
I got into McGrath.
Took me about 15 minutes
is all to switch my sleds,
snap the dogs, put a few booties
on and head down the trail.
Thanks guys.
There's quite a bit of activity
at this checkpoint tonight.
Lance Mackey in here about 8:30.
He switched out his
sled, headed out.
Lance Mackey, man is
he ever moving good.
That one in the lead,
Larry, he's you
know really the
heart of the team.
Larry's real serious,
figures it out.
Knows where they're going.
Lance always said he's
the brain of the team.
He says Larry is
smarter than he is.
The dogs are exceptional.
The only problem I have is
keeping - taking care of myself.
Look at that finger.
Oh, it just kills me.
He's had constant
problems from radiation.
Nerve damage.
I mean how many people go
from one doctor to the
next bugging - begging
to get a finger cut off?
I had some side effects from
the cancer. No doubt about it.
And one of the main ones is the
circulation in my
toes and my fingers.
My index finger on
my left hand got
to be very painful all the time.
So I went to the
doctor and I asked
him if he could
remove my finger.
He said 'Well let
me tell you what.
You gotta think about
this a second. It's
not an octopus leg.
It won't grow back.
And once it's gone
it's gone for good.
You still want to
do this?' I said
'Chop it off' basically.
Lance Mackey is now
40 minutes behind
which is a lot different
than we saw yesterday when
we estimated he was like
2 1/2 -3 hours behind.
Momentum and times have really
changed in this 2007 Iditarod.
He's really booking.
It wasn't until after
he left Unalakleet,
or maybe even when he got
to Shaktoolik to Koyuk that
'Hey, he might pull this off.
I gotta get there.'
Here's a look at the actual
leaderboard right now.
Lance Mackey is on the attack.
He's in first place.
Lance Mackey going after it,
Lance Mackey, the
leader of the Iditarod.
Man is he ever moving good.
He's really putting
the hammer down.
He isn't playing cat and mouse.
He's just saying 'I'm going
to take this race over.'
The only thing that keeps
really running through
my head is my dad.
I don't know anything
else in the world
that I could do to make
him any more proud.
I got to Cape Nome, which is
10 miles outside of Nome,
up on this little mountain.
And I knelt down in front of
each one of them one at a time.
And I just thanked them from
the bottom of my heart.
Told them how proud I was, what
they were about to accomplish.
I made it up to Larry, who
was in the lead of course.
He was the last one I talked to
cause I had the
most to say to him.
And I looked him in the
eye and I said 'Larry,
I know you know where we're at.
We've been here several times.'
I said 'I dont
know if you realize
that we're going to be
here first this time.'
Larry looked over at me and
got this smirk on his face.
Gave me kind of a one
eye 'Yeah dad, I know.'
His chest puffed out.
His head came up real high, and
his tail came up in the air.
And for the last 7 miles he
just strutted down to Nome.
Lance Mackey whipping
up the crowd.
Clapping both his hands as
the chute closes behind him.
He's in the chute. Coming
up past City Hall.
Lance Mackey and his
comeback kettle coming back.
This is Lance Mackey,
your Iditarod Champion.
Life just changed.
You guys are incredible.
I so love you.
Why is it so important
to the Mackey family?
Why has this event
become so much
about your family
in its definition.
Well it's our lifestyle.
It's something we
breathe, eat and sleep.
I mean this is what we do.
You know?
My dad got me hooked
on this sport.
I'm so proud of him
not being a warrior
or a line cook, or
something like that.
I don't know if I'd
follow in his footsteps.
This is my passion.
And it is very important for us
to be
for me
to be successful.
And make my father proud.
You know?
Lance, your father is not here
If he was, right now, what
would you say to him?
I don't know if I could talk.
He'd be a proud man.
No prouder than your mom.
He ain't no prouder
than your momma.
Dreams do come true momma.
He ain't no prouder
than your mom.
I know. I'm so happy to see you.
Oh my God mom.
I can't believe it.
It was a vision with a dream.
Oh, I did it. They did.
They did it too.
Lance will check in.
Oh, it feels so good.
Oh my God. My son
just won this thing.
That was the best -
that was the best win, I think,
in the history of Iditarod.
I was just in the
middle of getting
comfortable and undressed when
I seen the door
come open and him
come through the front door.
He said 'I've always wanted to
be like my dad and now I am.'
That was pretty special.
Yeah. Yeah.
It was cool standing there
as I'm answering questions
to look over and see
that smile on his face.
The whole time.
And I knew that I'd done
what I'd set out to achieve.
And that was to make
my parents proud.
He's a guy that didn't
get any respect
leading up to the day he won.
And then he still had
trouble garnering
respect from his peers
once he did win.
The first thing that the
competitors were saying was
'Oh, he got lucky. Oh, it was a
fluke. That will
never happen again.'
You know? Really?
Why can't you just come
up and congratulate me.
Tell me good job instead of
making all these excuses
why it happened, why
you couldn't do it?
And that's exactly
what was going on.
And all that did was
just piss me off.
Really? Watch this.
3,2,1 Go
Champion, Lance Mackey from
Fairbanks, on his way to Nome.
2,1 Go!
The Denali Park Champion Jeff
King on his way to Nome.
Jeff was the team I had
to beat to win the race.
I don't care who
wins the Iditarod.
They have to outrun
Jeff to do it.
He is the best in the world.
And we pretty much dominated
the race from the very get go.
He knew Jeff was faster.
And his team was better.
And Jeff was toying with him.
Everything I was doing he
seemed to be doing as well.
If I stopped, he
was going to stop.
If I went to sleep, he was
going to go to sleep. If I
fed my dogs, he's
going to feed his dogs.
He realizes that King
is just dogging him.
He's going to dog him and dog
him. Let him break trail.
Just be his shadow.
And then in the last
100 miles of the race he's
going to take control and win.
He's been doing this since
he started racing. You know?
Hang back, hang back and
catch you on the coast.
And you never see him again.
We both knew it was going to
come down to the two of us.
And trail times were giving
me a slight advantage.
But enough of this letting you
leave an hour ahead of me.
I'm going out right behind ya.
Hut. I kept thinking
'How am I really going
to outrun a team that's
faster than me?'
I knew I had to do something
to shake him a little bit.
Elim's the last opportunity.
It was pretty much
the end of the line.
Okay. Welcome to Elim.
How's it going?
Planning on sleeping
a little bit?
Couple hour's maybe.
Okay. Good then. Okay. Okay.
Plan on staying?
I'm only going if he's going.
Uh, he plans on
staying a little bit.
I'm not sure exactly what to
say to him at this stage.
I'm not going to
congratulate him yet.
He's finally done. He finally
knows I'm going to beat him.
And he's just going
to hold on to second.
Likewise uh?
He's just going to basically
throw in the towel.
I go in, I drank two big
family size cups of coffee.
Then I went and laid down.
He went and laid
down by the door.
Put in some headphones and
went to sleep that fast.
If anybody asks- I'm
still laying down.
Hey. Come on. Come on. Come on.
Come on. Come on.
Alright. Kill that.
Hut, hut.
When my eyes opened and
I made eye contact
with some of the
people in the room,
they looked like they had
seen a mass murderer.
And I realized I had been duped.
There's quite a crowd out
here as you can hear.
Very boisterous for 3
in the morning but
that's not stopping
the gold rush city
from welcoming Lance
Mackey to Nome for
the second time in a
row in first place.
His lead dogs
crossing right now.
Lance Mackey, your 2008 Iditarod
Sled Dog Race Champion.
If you're going to
dream, dream big right?
Thank you Lance. Good
luck in the race.
Thank you. Have a great night.
Thank you.
There you go.
Thank you.
My pleasure. Thank you ladies. I
appreciate you being out here.
This race wouldn't be Iditarod,
I think, without Lance Mackey.
How you doing young lady? You
excited about that Iditarod?
I knew you when you were nobody.
Come on now. I've
always been somebody.
Shut up and give me a kiss.
Lance Mackey and his
comeback kettle.
Coming back for a 3rd
consecutive victory.
This is Lance Mackey your 2009
Iditarod Champion. Lance Mackey!
I didn't really think all this
was going to become of it.
I honestly didn't.
I'm not just running
dogs to become
noticed and to win the Iditarod.
I love spending
time with the dogs.
I love Alaska and I
love the people in it.
I was down at the local
hardware store the other day.
A teenager was working in there.
I bought something
with a credit card.
She said 'Dick Mackey.
Are you related to Lance?'
And I says 'Yeah. I'm his dad.'
'Oh cool.'
And she says 'Did
you run dogs too?'
A historic finish for 2010.
Four for Lance Mackey. The only
musher to do so back to back.
I drew the right number.
Number 49.
This is representing
the whole state of Alaska
and the people
who believe in me.
You've done something that
will never be repeated son.
Four in a row will
never be done again.
This is the greatest
that this sport has
ever, ever seen.
And it's the greatest
that this sport will ever see.
Ever. Period. Done.
End of story.
The greatest thing has
already happened.
Okay. Come eat. Come on.
- Hi.
- Hello
- You're eating. I know.
-Not yet
Well, I'm sorry.
No, it's just you
gotta say no. but after me okay?
- Thanks Lance.
- You're very welcome.
It's nonstop. Everybody
wants a piece of him.
I think success always
comes at a price.
His marriage to Tonya probably
is a casualty of the success.
Welcome to the Iditarod.
What a hero I'm going
to be when I go home.
Lance Mackey.
This is a name you
should remember
if you're interested
in dog mushing.
Look over here to the right,
the man himself is going to
be our guest today during the
time that you're on shore.
Small little test.
When you get done
with your vacation,
you go home and see your dog,
lock it in the closet
with your husband
or your wife for about an hour.
Then go back to see which
one's happy to see ya.
Lance Mackey.
I call him Hollywood.
But if there was one
thing that would get his
attention more than
anything- ice cream.
Oh, he found the ice cream.
I started racing dogs even
before I was even born.
When I went to school I had a
knife and a lighter
in my pocket.
He is a lover this boy. He's
done this once or twice.
Here want some water?
He can't drink water
out of a bowl.
He'd think he was a dog then.
I spent, you know, a fair amount
of time fighting
with my ex-wife.
And I would get on a
sled and go for a ride.
And five minutes after I left
the yard normally I was fine.
Dogs didn't care about what
kind of argument I just had. Or-
you know? I understand
dogs a lot more.
I don't understand people.
It's been easier for
me to communicate
with dogs pretty
much all my life.
I'm more comfortable doing
this kind of stuff than being
surrounded by a bunch of people,
and buildings and cars.
Living in the woods would
be just fine by me.
It's warm out huh guys?
I think that's everybody.
That's everybody.
You live in Fairbanks?
How'd you know that?
Musher update.
They got all the musher's
pictures up at the school.
And they say where you
live and everything.
It says you're around year 50.
What? You knew?
I forgot.
No. It didn't say
I was around 50.
I forgot.
No. She's older than I am.
In dog years.
Ah, you make me laugh.
You know at one
point in the race,
I really thought I
could win this thing.
But hey, you know, you're
not going to win them all.
Lance finished 19th
in the 2013 Iditarod.
I'm not going to say I wouldn't
want to win the Iditarod again.
But it wouldn't change
anything if I did.
There we go. That's it.
I just want to go have
fun with my dogs.
Thatta boys. Good job.
How about you old man?
Want some? Hey big Zippo.
Hi pretty girl. You
get some loving too.
I didn't forget you.
Alright munchkins. Alright
little munchkins.
They're all my best friends.
Every single one of them.
Billy Badass. Billy Badass.
There's nothing
else in the world
that matters when I'm with them.
Most people think we're
alone when we're out there
in the middle of nowhere.
There's nothing
more enjoyable than
being out with
your best friends.
That's it. That's it.
That's my boys.
It is all about the dogs.
As long as my dogs are happy
and healthy I'm golden.
I know you haven't had
enough attention today.
I know you haven't had
no attention today.
Yeah, you silly boy.
So sorry boy.
Yeah. Little boy.
Is that all?