The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists is a film directed by Roy Allen Smith.
| Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
A herd of migrating longnecks, described as Littlefoot's cousins, comes to the Great Valley and brings alarming news about weather changes that transformed the hospitable land they came from to a wet, marshy land. Strange new creatures have begun to appear in this land, that is now known as “the land of mists”, and extrude the dinosaurs who had lived there so far. The Great Valley however is as beautiful as ever and there is no sign that any changes could happen there. Littlefoot quickly befriends Ali, a shy but playful longneck girl from the migrating herd. Ali, however, has always lived with that herd, never got to know anyone but other longnecks, and is used to sticking with her own kind. So Ali regards Littlefoot’s friends with great distrust, a distrust that is returned sarcastically by Cera.
But Littlefoot’s worries about the relationship between his old friends and his new friend Ali are soon replaced by a more urgent worry. Littlefoot’s grandfather takes ill stuck by a disease that the Old One, the leader of the migrating herd, diagnoses to be fatal unless the patient eats the healing petals of the Golden Nightflower that only grows in the land of mists. Worried by the tales of the changes in the outer world Littlefoot’s grandfather takes a terrible promise from Littlefoot; to leave the Great Valley with his grandmother and the herd in case of Grandpa's death.
As nobody is willing to risk a journey to the dangerous land of mists in order to get the night flower Littlefoot decides to go himself and sneaks away clandestinely at night. When he asks his new friend Ali to tell him the way to the night flower she decides not to tell him the way, but lead him right to it. She only asks Littlefoot to go without his old friends Cera, Ducky, Petrie and Spike whom he had planned to ask for their accompaniment. With mixed feeling Littlefoot agrees.
Very soon Littlefoot’s doubts turn out to be founded. The only way to reach the Land of Mists runs through a mysterious series of caves and caverns, in which Littlefoot accidentally sets off a rockslide. Neither young one is hurt, but the fallen rocks cut them off from one another altogether. Ali finds herself in urgent need of help and returns to the Great Valley as quickly as possible in order to get help from Littlefoot’s friends. When they learn about Littlefoot’s peril Ducky, Petrie and especially Spike overcome their antipathy against Ali while Cera, still too proud to trust Ali and still offended by the fact that Littlefoot didn’t ask them to accompany him on the quest, decides to stay behind and sulk; a decision which she does not stick to for very long.
Inside the cave meanwhile Littlefoot is absolutely unaware of what is going on behind the debris of the rockslide and doesn’t even know if Ali too was lucky enough to survive it. Desperately he errs through the darkness of the cave seeking for another entrance. He meets Archie, a huge turtle who initially tries to be scary, but fails totally in this attempt to conceal his good nature. Ali tries to help Littlefoot digging through the debris of the rockslide which proves however really difficult even with Ali, Spike, Ducky and Petrie helping from the other side. The situation becomes really dangerous when Littlefoot and Archie encounter two other inhabitants of the cave; Ichy, an annoying Ichthyornis and Dil an almost blind Deinosuchus, who stick together although they cannot stand each other because each of them is dependent on the other one. Ichy is too small and too weak to be able to hunt down sufficient prey while due to her almost blindness Dil’s enormous size and strength would be no good to her if her tiny companion wouldn’t lead her to the prey. Just when there seems to be no way for Littlefoot and Archie to escape the pair of villains anymore, Cera appears and with her hard head makes to break through the debris of the rockslide whereby Ichy and Dil are temporarily put out of action by falling debris.
Yet saving the day and being the heroine doesn’t improve Cera’s opinion about Ali, even though the others have accepted her. Being rebuffed because she is a "Threehorn" has hurt Cera's nationalistic pride. When during a talk after the rescue Archie for the first time learns about the actual reason why Littlefoot and the others were in the cave at all he shows them a shortcut through the caves to the Land of Mists.
Despite Ali’s warnings of the dangerous mists Cera soon gets separated from the others and lost in the mist. Seeking for her Littlefoot and the others encounter a great variety of creatures—most of which do not turn out to be friendly minded. An exception is a little ratlike creature whom Ducky names Tickles, who helps the friends to find Cera.
In order not to get further lost Cera had stayed at the spot where she had been when she had lost sight of her friends, but just when the mist thins out this very spot proves dangerous. Unaware because of the mists that she is at the edge of a river bank Cera jumps up upon seeing her friends again, whereupon the edge Cera is standing on crumbles into the rapid river that caries Cera along. While her friends are trying to rescue Cera from drowning in the river, Ichy and Dil appear. For them, Cera in the river seems to be an easy prey. Only a brave and perilous action of Ali saves Cera and finally results in Cera seeing Ali as a friend. Matters are further clarified when Ali explains her lifelong isolation and agrees musically that it takes all sorts to make a world.
When night falls the group has still not succeeded finding the Nightflower and tiredly takes a rest in a field of inconspicuous, closed blossoms. As they sleep, the Full Moon is revealed from behind the clouds by a wind. The wind bends the stems of the field, making the flowers appear to bow in reverence for the Moon. Spontaneously they open, exposing themselves as the Nightflower. Spike and Tickles, being the first to see this, waken Ducky, who stirs everyone from sleep.
Returning home loaded with night flowers the group again is attacked by Ichy and Dil, who have been following them all the while. The heroes run for their lives, taking refuge behind a stone. Ichy, however, is not a fool. He finds Petrie and captures him, only to fight with Dil over whose prey Petrie is. Taking advantage of this argument, Tickles snatches Petrie and stuffs Dil's tail into Ichy's beak. Cera cannot resist gloating at her friend's strategem; unfortunately for her, this alerts the predators to her position.
In the resulting chase, the hunted and hunters must cross a river. One of the Nightflower blossoms falls, and Ducky tries to retrieve it. Consequently she falls into enemy clutches and is soon the unconscious prize over which all are fighting. She is nearly pulled in half by Ichy and Petrie, then falls from the air onto Dil's snout. Dil immediately flips her off and waits with open mouth below. As Ducky falls, she is insensible, but all that changes when Spike speaks for the first and only time since he was hatched, shrieking his foster-sister's name with all the vigour he can muster. Ducky is shocked into consciousness, and catches a dry branch from which she hangs, nearly safe, but inaccessible by her friends. Seeing the latter fact clearly, Ichy attempts to frighten them by sneering sadistically; but Spike has had quite enough nonsense. Every inch the offended brother, he smites Ichy with his versatile tail, knocking the nasty bird into Dil's still-open mouth. Dil closes it, thinking she has caught Ducky. As a matter of fact, Ducky and the others are on their way home, amazed yet at Spike's newfound ability to talk.
Below, in the river, Ichy exhorts Dil not to swallow him and to let him out ("Open up, you idiot!-- You almost ate me!"). When Dil protests that she did not see Ichy, he rubs her nose in it, calling her useless. This is the last straw; the two numbskulls part ways, wherapon Dil is chased (and presumably killed) by a Pleisiosaur.
Littlefoot and the others return to the Valley in time to save Littlefoot’s grandfather with the night flower which also ensures that Littlefoot is to stay in the Great Valley. Soon after Ali moves out with her herd, but according to the epilogue Littlefoot and the others are going to see her again.
- John Ingle .... Narrator (voice)
- Candace Hutson .... Cera (voice)
- Heather Hogan .... Ducky (voice)
- Rob Paulsen .... Spike (voice)
- Jeff Bennett .... Petrie/Ichy (voice)
- Scott McAfee .... Littlefoot (voice)
- Kenneth Mars .... Grandpa (voice)
- Linda Gary .... Grandma (voice)
- Carol Bruce .... Old One (voice)
- Juliana Hansen .... Ali
- Tress MacNeille .... Ali's Mother/Dil (voice)
- Charles Durning .... Archie (voice)
- Frank Welker .... Tickles (voice)
The songs are written by Leslie Bricusse.
- This is the last Land Before Time sequel directed by Roy Allen Smith, and the last sequel in which Scott McAfee and Candace Hutson provide Littlefoot and Cera's voices.
- The last time Linda Gary would provide the voice of Grandma before her death. This is one of the reasons why Grandma has little screen time.
- The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists at the Internet Movie Database
- The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through The Mists Trailer at Video Detective
Film series: The Land Before Time (1988) • The Great Valley Adventure (1994) • The Time of the Great Giving (1995) •
Journey Through the Mists (1996) • The Mysterious Island (1997) • The Secret of Saurus Rock (1998) • The Stone of Cold Fire (2000) • The Big Freeze (2001) • Journey to Big Water (2002) • The Great Longneck Migration (2003) • Invasion of the Tinysauruses (2004) • The Great Day of the Flyers (2006) • The Wisdom of Friends (2007) Journey of the Brave (2016)
Characters: Littlefoot • Cera • Ducky • Petrie • Spike • Chomper • Ruby (The Land Before Time)