August 20, 1994, a circus arrives in Honolulu. As excited spectators wait for the elephant show to begin, a 9,000-pound female elephant named Tyke bursts into the ring kicking her groom around the floor like a rag doll. The audience thinks it’s part of the act but confusion turns to horror as the trainer tries to rescue the groom and is instantly killed by Tyke. As hysterical families head for the exits, Tyke escapes onto the streets of Honolulu where she is gunned down by 87 bullets fired by the local police in front of news crews and horrified onlookers. Tyke’s rampage makes headlines around the world, but back in Honolulu the city is in shock. A man has died and scores are injured and traumatised. Over a hundred lawsuits are filed, the City proposes a bill to ban wild performing animals, and Tyke becomes a martyr for a global campaign to end the abuse of animals in the entertainment industry. Told through the eyes of those who knew Tyke and witnesses to what happened, Tyke Elephant Outlaw is the gripping story of one elephant’s life in captivity and her final break for freedom. Investigating what led up to this tragic incident, the film moves between past and present through extraordinary archive of Tyke’s life and death, and the sharply contrasting perspectives of those involved in her story. The cast includes eyewitnesses to Tyke’s rampage and killing, former trainers and handlers who witnessed her abuse during her life as a performing elephant, a circus industry lobbyist who was sent Honolulu to prevent a ban on wild performing animals, and animal rights activists for whom Tyke’s death became a global rallying cry. Like the classic animal rebellion film King Kong, Tyke is the central protagonist in a tragic but redemptive drama that combines trauma, outrage, insight and compassion. Ultimately, this moving documentary raises fundamental questions about our deep and mysterious connection to other species.