In first episodes of walking dead season 1 survivors base in a little camp in the forest near some artificial lake. In one of episodes they are receiving an attack of zombies during the night and loose one third of people as dead or bitten.

Question is: why didn't they do any sort of fence around the camp? From my thinking any sort of barrier will give them time in case of attack. Moreover they were there with a dozen people and enough tools to do that. They were also staying in this place for at least a week, which gives plenty of time to at least start doing smth like that. Options I see:

  • cut some trees and dig them into the ground to make the wall. This is kind of hard to do but gives the highest rate of protection. They do have spades, not sure about axes though.
  • use growing trees as base for walls and cut some additional trees to bind to the standing trees horizontally. Combine with stones and maybe loam/mud from the lake.
  • dig some ditches around the camp and put some sharp woods at the bottom, zombies won't die but will stuck for sure.
  • make just walls from stones.
  • make walls of cars, and use stones to close holes.
  • combine any of above.

UPDATE 1: I assume they might have no axes or saws, because they are not shown in the movie. But they have quite some tools, since one of guys has a complete toolbox (looks lie he is keeping whole his household with him). And they for sure have spades and picks since that is shown multiple times clearly.

UPDATE 2: I'd like to highlight that they have 2(!) police officers with them and they setup very sane rules like "nobody should stay or go alone", "somebody is always awake and on duty with a gun". At the same time I understand that those movies are mostly about breaking such rules and paying for that. Like if military guys would follow all their rules, military bases in such movies would never be overrun.

  • They are A) clueless about walker behavior at this point, might think they're safe in the woods and B) they're in shock and exhausted and not particularly organized or rational.
    – Junuxx
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 19:52
  • I haven't seen the episodes you mention, but did they really have felling axes or carpentry saws? Chopping down a tree with a hatchet is no joke, let alone hundreds of them to build a fence. Hauling cars off-road also seems dubious without winches or similar.
    – user1786
    Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 2:49
  • @Junuxx, I agree with point B, but not with A - they do very sane actions proofing that - see my updates in the question. Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 10:32
  • @JonofAllTrades true, they might have no saws and falling a tree is indeed quite a task, but stones and mud are still valid from my thinking. Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 10:32

3 Answers 3


The simple answer is that people in zombie shows (and movies) are Genre Blind. They are reacting to this as though they have no idea what they're dealing with -- because they don't. They've never seen Night of the Living Dead, Resident Evil, # Days/Weeks Later, etc.

What they do know is that there is an enemy, made from fallen people, which masses up and attempts to kill everyone it can reach. That this enemy looks human likely gives them a sense of safety in the dark; hiding from people in the woods would be highly effective. In the meantime, a ditch with spikes is useless against any thinking enemy.

They also lack experience with the zombies: they walk into rooms without looking around, leave their backs to open spaces, and argue when they're in their enemies' midst.

In short, they are untrained in the art of not being an idiot. As anyone else would be in a universe without zombie movies, video games, and the like; these are not rebels, gang members, or deranged hobos; these are -- the Walking Dead.

  • I like this answer I will accept it, besides that see my UPDATE 2 in the question. Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 10:33

Axelrod makes some great points. In addition, I would suggest that the survivors at the quarry campsite were locked into a kind of bizarre, inconclusive status quo before Rick showed up.

They had apparently been talking about putting warning signs on the road into Atlanta for some time, but didn't do anything to make it actually happen. This is symptomatic of their entire situation.

Regardless of whether or not you build fences, a location just outside the biggest city in the region is the worst possible place to try and hold out. There are millions of zombies within a couple of miles - they could actually see the city center from their campsite.

It appears that the group was still holding out hope for rescue and a return to normalcy, despite all of the indications that the world was over. On the one hand, moving on would be tantamount to giving up on the idea that life might return to normal. On the other hand, no rational person could think that the quarry was anything more than a very temporary base of operations. Reinforcing the position wouldn't make sense, but the only logical alternative was to get the hell out of Dodge, so to speak. They just weren't ready to make that move, because they weren't willing to accept the fact that the world as they knew it had ended. This left them in a sort of stasis, knowing that they had to leave, but being unable to do so.

I would imagine that they never really intended to stay at the quarry for any length of time. That's just where they happened to end up, and no one could bring themselves to acknowledge that they would inevitably have to move on or die where they were. And this state of affairs only changed after Rick arrived and gave the impetus to find a more long term solution to their problems. Even Rick didn't realize how serious the need to find a better place to live was until the campsite was attacked by zombies and half of its inhabitants were killed.


To summarize:

Manpower / tools/ materials: I disagree they could have built an effective fence. They had enough tools and manpower to feed themselves OR build a fence, not both by my estimate.

They staked their hopes in secrecy: Realize they don't know what attracts the zombies and how zombies find them. And they don't know how good or bad zombies are at climbing fences, breaking fences etc. Unless you had some specific understanding of zombie behavior and abilities, you'd have to assume that the best way to go undetected is NOT to build a fence.

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