“The only way to deal with a rogue lion is to face it and kill it.” Bwana Dan Crowley
Coming of age as a young Maasai in Africa required a series of rituals, followed up by an act of extreme courage. If you were successful and didn’t die in the process you became a Maasai warrior earning the respect of the tribe. This was the practice for centuries. It was not questioned as right or wrong but was the expected goal of every young boy.
To our modern first world outlook many of these rites of passage seem like nothing more than barbaric practices of an unsophisticated third world. Yet these practices endured, suiting the needs of these cultures.
“You could kill lion with spear like Maasai, but your lion not live here… your lion live far away.” Sironka
In the modern world, with all its legal processes, coming of age is often determined by reaching a specific age. When you can drive, when you can smoke, when you can drink, when you can marry, when you can go to war… all determined by age. True, you might have to pass a written test or show a physical skill level, but in truth, it’s never much of a test. We expect that by a certain age a person has reached a level of maturity to accept responsibility. We expect they will be able to face adversity, tragedy, fear, doubt, and all life will throw at them.
In 1930, Marlin Colby is a young man from a wealthy family in Charleston, South Carolina. Circumstances will force him to leave his home, go to sea and finally end up in Africa… a far different world. He will learn about a father he barely knew, he will learn about himself… but most importantly, he will learn to face the lion.