Two circular hero journeys were portrayed in the film The Earthling. The film opens with the hero, knowing his time is almost at an end he answers his call. He begins his return journey home, to pass away where he vowed he would, his father's farm. As he passes through the airline gate and rides the bus into town, he passes through the threshold of his journey. The hero examines his changed surroundings, the familiar and unfamiliar faces, all of which have heard of him. He walks through town bidding farewell to friends and announcing his return to die gracefully. The shaman, a childhood friend, is angry with the hero. He doesn't want the hero to leave again, or die alone. However the hero is stubborn and very sick, he hasn't much time to return to his uncharted home. The hero gives the shaman a magic medicine bag as a gift.
The hero receives the serapis as a gift from the shaman. The serapis will transport the hero over the river threshold and will be turned loose into the wild. Meanwhile the young prince enters the same town in the care of his parents pursuing the uncharted, following an old logging map. The prince meets the shaman and is given the secret pouch; he is told it will keep the evil spirits away. While pushing forward the prince's camper plunges over the cliff with his parents inside, leaving the prince an orphan, and calling him to his journey. The hero hears the ritual cry of the prince. The camper that once was a life chamber has now become a death chamber. Pushing past the fear and terror, the prince leaves the tomb, plunging into the wilderness beginning his hero journey. He hears an echoing sound, the hammer of life. It is the hero warrior, the call to life. The prince must accept the call or die.
After crossing paths with the hero, the prince tries to steal an apple, and fails for making too much noise. The prince accepts his call and passes through the threshold after recalling his childhood dependence and realizes his parents are dead. However, at that same moment the hero receives his call of life while trying to decide what to do with the prince. He can not take him back for there isn't time, he can't take him with him for it would slow him down, and he believes the prince can't be taught for he is crazed and will not learn. The prince must require the hero to respond, so he pursues to prove himself worthy. The hero, beginning to respond, as the prince his name, the prince does not have an identity outside the womb and therefore can not answer. The hero attempts to rid himself of the prince by giving him quick instructions to follow the stream downhill. The prince refuses to understand. At dawn the prince has been abandoned, a new call, the call to fight for life. The prince follows after the hero in shock, desperately searching his memory for his identity so he can move forward in life. He shows the hero the pouch he received from the shaman. The warrior hero knows now he must acknowledge the prince, who has been chosen.
As they continue on deeper through the hinterland the prince complains of being tired and needing rest. Irritated and irate the hero scolds the prince and declares he doesn't know the prince's name. The prince then declares back with frustration; "It's Daley. Shawn Daley." The hero responds with more compassion; "My name is Foley. Patrick Foley." The hero is now the hero priest and the prince has now become the prince novitiate. The hero priest has accepted the call and taken the responsibility to teach the prince all he'll need to know to return to civilization. The prince must become independent or he'll die.
The prince shows progress when he finds berry seeds to eat. His first test is to explore the unknown in search of something scurrying in the woods at night. Looking with his ears as opposed to his eyes showed his first step toward independence. At dawn the prince finds the hero has deserted him again, and sets out with great anger venting his first cry of defiance and rebellion. The prince catches up to the hero after completing obstacles such as wild dogs, and climbing a cliff to escape. The hero begins to feel more pain now, and getting very sickly. The prince begins to take over more tasks for the hero is too weak to complete them. When reaching their destination the prince recalls the map his parents were following. The hero had made that map long before, the map signaled the call. Crossing the river to the valley was the last threshold. The hero's beginning of the end, and the prince's end of the beginning.
The valley was but a shell of what it once was. The old house was broke and weathered, so far from everyone. The hero explained it was a magical place, where heroes of the world came to talk to each other. Pain strikes the hero again, the hero knows it won't be much longer before he must go, but he pleads to have just a little more time to teach the prince the final necessary lessons. The hero begins to explain to the prince the way to get back, away to civilization. The prince rebels, wanting the hero to take him back, but it is impossible. The hero explains to the prince that he made it to the valley on his own, and he can make it back on his own. The prince vents out in anger and confusion; "I hate you." The hero replies; "I know you do." The hero explains to the prince there is nothing to be afraid of. The prince expresses his love for the hero. The hero gives the prince one last word of wisdom, "Don't ever be ashamed of love, boy. Show it. Always show it." The prince gives the hero a proper burial. The knocking of rocks signals death. The hero's journey is over. The prince lays the pouch on the hero's grave, returning it to the priest to keep the evil spirits away. The prince then begins his return journey home, with the wisdom the hero has taught him running through is mind. "Go North boy. You'll make it" (1070)