The Story of Dao

An elephant is born deep in the forest of Thailand. The year is 1953.  Life is idyllic for the little elephant – until one fateful day when everything changes: young Dao is captured. She is broken and pressed into human service, forced to leave behind all that she loves.

Like the beloved character “Black Beauty,” Dao experiences both hardship and kindness in the world of man.  Her sixty-year journey carries her from pristine jungle, through ancient ruins, logging camps and a black market underworld. 


In the final chapter of her life, Dao finds safety in a forest sanctuary.

Alternately heartbreaking and uplifting, Dao’s is a story of close calls and fateful encounters. With dignity, she navigates the landmines of her life, her spirit fueled by the dream to someday find her family.  In the end, Dao’s courage and endurance are rewarded. Five decades after her story began, Dao encounters a stranger.  Within a heartbeat, she recognizes the old elephant… It is her sister, separated nearly five decades ago.  The two old women trumpet and roar, hobbling across a clearing to embrace.  Their bond will never again be broken.

About the Film
Dao, though semi-fictional, is a composite of living, breathing elephants and their extraordinary histories. Six-time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Allison Argo was inspired to bring Dao’s story to the screen after meeting an elephant named Pang Dao on the streets of Bangkok fifteen years ago. The Story of Dao has been germinating ever since. At last, the time is right to bring this remarkable tale to life as a theatrical film. Like the beloved tale of Black Beauty, The Story of Dao will open hearts and minds to the plight of some of earth's most intelligent, sensitive and endangered creatures. Behind the dwindling population of the world’s elephants are hundreds of stories, and behind every statistic there is an individual—a breathing, sentient being who has witnessed a changing world. This is the story of one such elephant and her unforgettable journey.

Watch the trailer of The Story of Dao here:

Learn More:

Twelve years ago I met an elephant named Pang Dao while filming in Bangkok. She was living in an abandoned lot under a highway. Each night she would beg for food on the streets with her mahouts.

This film follows the extraordinary life of an elephant. Inspired by a true story!

These selected clips are from THE STORY OF DAO, ArgoFilms. The Story of Dao is a dramatic feature film that carries the audience through 50 years in the life of an elephant named Dao.