Can someone tell me what story goes like this;

  • A man goes to a museum to hunt dinosaurs using time machine.
  • The guide tells him “Do not step off the path”.
  • The guy steps off the path and unknowingly kills a butterfly.
  • He finishes his hunt and returns, but the future is changed dramatically.

2 Answers 2


It sounds like you're describing Ray Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder"

The story begins in the future, in which the time machine has been invented but is still very temperamental. A hunter named Eckels pays to go traveling back into the past on a guided safari to kill a Tyrannosaurus rex. As the party waits to depart they talk about the recent presidential elections in which an apparently fascist candidate, Deutscher, has just been defeated by the more moderate Keith, to the relief of many concerned. When the party arrives in the past, Travis (the hunting guide) and Lesperance (Travis’s assistant) warn Eckels and the two other hunters, Billings and Kramer, about the necessity of minimizing the events they change before they go back, since tiny alterations to the distant past could snowball into catastrophic changes in history. The hunters must stay on a levitating path to avoid disrupting the environment and only kill animals which were going to die within minutes anyway.

The story is available to read here. It was made into a film in 2005.

  • Yep it's this movie I saw this on television a few years ago, describes the movie to the T. Commented May 2, 2014 at 22:12
  • 1
    Wow! This plotline brings back so many memories! This is also part of the plot of Stephen Leigh's Dinosaur world series which I read as a kid. It had Bradbury's name attached to it, so it looks like he gave permission for Leigh to expand on the story. I had no idea this preceded it. The internet never ceases to amaze :)
    – rschwieb
    Commented May 3, 2014 at 0:24
  • 3
    @Quincunx - The principle is that killing an animal a few seconds before its timely death (and in the place where it would have died) should have a low impact. Killing a healthy animal miles away from where it would have died creates a far bigger "ripple".
    – Valorum
    Commented May 3, 2014 at 6:48
  • 1
    @rschwieb - Yes, this question very much reminded me of a similar one I asked awhile back. Interesting to learn that other titles were written around the same premise.
    – aroth
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 0:24
  • 2
    @Quincunx The bullets! The bullets can't be left behind. They don't belong in the Past; they might change anything. Here's my knife. Dig them out!" Anyhow, it's pretty pointless to get worked up about inconsistences you think you find in fiction. That's what suspended disbelief is for :)
    – rschwieb
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 0:43

This sounds very much like "A sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury. A game hunter goes back in time to hunt a dinosaur, and is told to stay on the path. He freaks out and leaves the path, on the way back to the future, it has been found that he has stepped on a butterfly, and they find that the future has been changed when they return; there is a notice for the time safari agency. At the start, it is written in OUR English, but when they return, it is still English, but the spelling is altered.

You can often find this story in analogies on time travel stories.

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