Jon Arbuckle takes Garfield and Odie camping, unaware that a panther is loose in the area.
In the Arbuckle residence, Garfield is living in a black-and-white world, due to the his boring life routine, and that all the color has drained from his life. He finds a bored Jon Arbuckle in the kitchen who reveals that he wants to take a vacation, much to Garfield's joy. Garfield wonders where they will be vacationing, and imagines himself in Honolulu, Acapulco and Venice, where he attempts to hit on female cats. Garfield asks Jon where they are going, only to be learn that they are going camping with Odie, much to Garfield's disappointment. While driving, they stop at a ranger station, where Garfield learns they will be staying a week. They find a spot where they prepare the camp. Jon catches Garfield trying to eat the food and tells him that it must last the week. When Jon finishes setting up the tent, he finds it to be smaller than he imagines, claiming that it looked larger in the ad.
In the nighttime, Jon switches on the radio before the trio hear that a panther has escaped from the local zoo, and is lurking in the Lake Wobegon area. Garfield wants to leave upon hearing the news, but Jon stops him, claiming they are miles from the area. Jon pulls out a guitar, saying that they will sing a campfire song his mother taught him to play. After singing, they retire for the night. Immediately afterwards, the panther approaches, and watches the campsite for the point to make its move. The next day, Odie wakes Jon up by licking his feet until they all fall into the lake. After Garfield tells Odie to play "with something poisonous", the dog runs past a sign, which reads "Lake Wobegon", the area the panther was reported in. Meanwhile, the rangers are hunting the panther, and stop at Jon's campsite. When they see it is empty, they think Jon must be out hiking or at the lake, and do not have the time to wait for him to return, as they have to stay on the trail of the beast, and decide to leave him a note, which reads "Killer Panther - Evacuate Immediately". Unfortunately, right after the rangers depart the campsite, a gust of wind blows the notes into a recently extinguished campfire, where it burns up immediately.
When Jon and Garfield return, Jon finds that Garfield and Odie ate all the food except the dried fruit. He gets angry with the two, saying that they are wild backcountry with no connection to the outside world, while Garfield decides to take a hike and starts to appreciate the beauty of nature. He suddenly remember the local animals, and thinks he will be eaten. He then meets a beaver and rabbit named Dicky and Billy, and begs for mercy. However, Billy and Dicky say they are not going to eat Garfield, they are peaceful animals. However, there is a dangerous animal in the woods, and talk about the panther. They warn it has been attacking forest animals, and Billy remarks "What it did to a friend of mine is too ghastly to repeat."
Dicky and Billy quickly leave after hearing a noise, while Garfield hides in a tree stump but finds that it is just Odie. In fear, the two return to the campsite and try to warn Jon of the danger but Jon is still relaxed and oblivious to the situation, simply sitting by a campfire and offering Garfield a piece of dried fruit. As night falls, the panther awakens and enters the campsite. Garfield runs up a tree while Jon and Odie first hide in the tent and then the car. Jon realizes that Garfield is not with them and that they cannot leave without him. The panther spots them and smashes the window. After the panther narrowly misses Jon while attacking, Garfield comes to the rescue when he leaps onto the panther and fights it. The panther throws him off, and approaches Garfield. The rangers enter the campsite and subdue the beast with a tranquilizer dart. Jon calls Garfield a hero, before they decide they have had enough adventure and they should head back to civilization. While heading home, Garfield questions the saying "When the going gets tough, the tough get going".
- The Panther
- Ranger #1 (voiced by Gregg Berger)
- Ranger #2 (voiced by George Wendt)
- Dicky Beaver
- Billy Rabbit
- Honolulu Cat (voiced by Desirée Goyette)
- Acapulco Cat #1 (voiced by Desirée Goyette)
- Acapulco Cat #2
- Venice Cat (voiced by Desirée Goyette)
- Radio Announcer (voiced by Gregg Berger)
- This is the first Garfield feature to be produced by Film Roman.
- For the first few minutes of the special, Garfield is depicted with round eyes, as in the first two specials, while Jon’s eyes are larger. Garfield’s eyes become oval-shaped as of the scene where Jon announces that they are going camping.
- Following the radio report about the panther being located in the Lake Woebegone area, So Long Old Friend is briefly heard.
- The fictional Lake Wobegon is best known for its use in the long-running radio series, A Prairie Home Companion, making its reference an apparent breaking of the fifth wall.
- In Garfield's "Venice" daydream, he sings a variation of 'O sole mio.
- In the comic adaptation, Billy Rabbit and Dicky Beaver have bigger roles. Prior to their departure, Garfield tells them of the panther's capture.
- In Garfield's daydream, his "hat dance" changed from doing an actual dance on top of the hat to simply stomping on it.
- At the end, Jon hears scratching at the door and tells Garfield to answer it. Garfield claims he is no longer afraid of anything and says that he will take care of it. He peers out into the dark and sees a pair of glowing eyes. After Garfield screams and faints, a little black kitten walks into the house. Jon also suggests camping again, with Garfield and Odie pouncing on him in response.
- In the comic, the color of the coffee pot that got stuck on Odie's head changes from yellow, to blue, to gray.
- When the panther attacks Jon, it rips a hole through his shirt; later, the shirt is undamaged.
- While Jon is hugging Garfield and Odie, the way he is wearing his shirt changes briefly.
- "R and R" performed by Lou Rawls
- "In the Rough" performed by Lorenzo Music and Thom Huge
- "So Long Old Friend" performed by Desirée Goyette (briefly heard on the radio)
- "Camping is My Life" performed by Thom Huge
- "The Music of Nature" performed by Desirée Goyette
- "Run-Run I'm Afraid" performed by Thom Huge and Desirée Goyette
|Primetime Emmy||Jay Poynor
|Outstanding Animated Program|