"Into the Wild" is about a young man named Christopher McCandless who, after graduating from high school, sells his belongings and hitchhikes to Alaska to live off the land. McCandless's body is found two years later in an abandoned bus in Denali National Park after he died from starvation.
The story is told from the perspective of investigative journalist Jon Krakauer as he tries to uncover the cause of McCandless's death and what drove the young man to renounce his possessions and go on the adventure. Over the course of "Into the Wild", Krakauer discovers that McCandless originally set out for Alaska in his old yellow Datsun car from the East Coast, but eventually had to abandon the car at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area because the engine got water logged. This sent McCandless hitchhiking throughout the western portion of the United States, where he met two drifters named Jan Burres and Bob in Idaho, worked at McDonalds in Arizona and canoed down the Colorado River to Mexico.
Eventually McCandless works his way back to Carthage, South Dakota where he works at a grain elevator. He leaves the job after 13 days and sets out for Alaska. He arrives in Alaska and enters the Delani National Park where he finds the abandoned bus. He lives off the land for a time before, Krakauer ascertains, McCandless dies from eating toxic wild potato seeds.