Kenai, like a lot of young boys, have the eagerness to become a man. He has two older brothers: Sitka and Denahi. This is a big day for Kenai, as it is Kenai’s manhood ceremony and he is getting a totem from the shaman woman of the tribe, Tanana.
Kenai fails to tie the brothers’ daily catch on the tree. After the ceremony the basket and the fish gets taken by bears. Angered and raged, Kenai sets off to get the basket but only finds the broken piece.
Kenai sees the bear, and starts throwing rocks at it. The bear is angered and charges at Kenai, causing him to fall off a cliff. His two brothers see his fall, and they come for rescue. Ultimately, Sitka gives his life to save his brothers.
So that very same day a memorial ceremony is held. Kenai blames the bear and sets off to kill it. Before he leaves he throws his totem — a bear — into the ashes. Kenai finds the bear after days of searching, and kills the bear. The spirits get involved as bear is the animal of Kenai’s totem. Sitka, now a spirit, changes Kenai into a bear so that he can learn some lessons before regaining his human form.
Denahi does not see the transformation, but sees the remains of Kenai’s clothing. Angered that the bear now killed both of his brother, he sets off to kill the bear.
Now that Kenai is a bear, he meets Tanana who explains to him what have happened and that now he must go to “where the lights touch the earch” to regain his human form. Not knowing how to get there, Kenai meets the two moose, Rutt and Tuke who just think Kenai is crazy. What’s worse it that Kenai is now hung upside-down a tree! And Koda comes for the rescure — and story. Now Kenai must travel to “the salmon run” with Koda because Koda knows the way to the mountain!