The phone rings. Duane “Dog” Chapman yells to his ex-wife and current business partner, Beth Smith, to answer the phone. She immediately delegates to Leland Chapman. Beth's the type of woman to not take shit from no man.
“Hello?” Leland listens quietly inside their Texas hotel room and then hangs up the phone, and turns to his family. His parents see the excitement/worry clearly on his face.
“Who was it?” Dog questions.
“That was the Fish and Wildlife Service. They have a case for us.” Dog and Beth look at each other in surprise.
“What, is there a lion with a bounty?” Dog laughs.
“Close,” Leland explains, “there's a tiger on the loose. The Tiger King, Joe Exotic, escaped from prison last night. They’re putting a $2 million bounty on him. They want us to take the case since they know we’re the best and we’re in town.” Dog and Beth immediately grab their gear and head out. They call their daughter Lyssa and son’s Tim and Duane Jr. to meet them at Fort Worth prison.
The family reconvenes and debriefs with the fish and game warden, their liaison with the FBI agents at the scene.
“Tristan Pokorney,” The Tarrant County game warden introduces himself. “We spoke on the phone earlier.”
“Nice to meet you, Tristan.” Dog shakes his hand. The warden ushers them all in.
They see the giant hole in the wall, where hours earlier, as Tristan explains, Dillon Passage had driven a truck through to free his husband, Joe Exotic. The crew and Tristan step over the murdered bodies of the prison guards, tracing the path Dillon took to Joe’s cell. They finally reach the cell and get a good look at the squalor Joe had been living in. His cell was the typical six-by-eight-foot block, with white painted brick walls. The paint had been scratched away on one of the walls. It looked like it had been done with human nails, as there was blood smeared in places. The markings read: “CAROLE”.
“Well, that’s not good,” Leland states the obvious. The warden reaches and lifts up the corner of the mattress, revealing letters stashed away.
“They’re letters written from Dillon, spanning back two years.” The crew dons gloves and flips through the husband's correspondence. Their letters begin as declarations of separated love and slowly morph over the years into pure gibberish.
“Must be a code,” Dog says flippantly. “These probably won’t be much help anyway, we already know their prison break plan was successful.”
“They might reveal their motivation to break Joe out, or where they’re headed.” Beth corrects him.
“I think that-” Dog motions at the giant “CAROLE” carving, “reveals motivation pretty clearly.”
“Fair. I still think cracking the code is worth it though.” Beth passes the letters to Tristan.
“The FBI is on it.” Tristan assures them. The gang continues their search around the small cell, revealing nothing else of note. They exit and reconvene with the FBI agent and Tristan. The agent hands them all of the files they had prepared on Joe and Dillon. Dog thumbs through the material and passes it off to Leland.
“Alright, here’s the plan…”