What is the plot of the The Monkey Wrench Gang?

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jfwheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Monkey Wrench Gang is the story of four political dissidents who turn to radical means to try to achieve enviromental change.

As the novel opens, we are introduced to two characters, Doc and Bonnie, who are traveling across Arizona and New Mexico defacing billboards they find offensive to their social sensibilities.  One night, Doc and Bonnie meet Seldom Seen Smith and George Washington Hayduke.  The three men bond while getting drunk and discover their mutual hatred of the power plants and dams that they feel are destroying the land.

Soon, the four friends begin executing raids on power plants and disabling the equipment used to build them, like bulldozers.  Each member of the "gang" brings something to the group.  Doc has money.  Seldom Seen has intimate knowledge of the desert.   Hayduke knows military tactics and manuevers, and Bonnie is a willing solider for any need. 

As the raids become more successful, they also become more daring.  Eventually, Doc and Bonnie are arrested.  Hayduke is shot and the group thinks he has been killed.  Seldom Seen is captured trying to steal food from a cooler. 

In the end, all four are reunited and it is strongly implied that despite the enormous risks, they will resume their environmental radicalism. 

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The Monkey Wrench Gang

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