The Living Desert was the first feature-length entry in Disney's True Life Adventure series. Co-written and narrated by Winston Hibler, the film opens with a close-up glance of percolating desert geysers, with appropriate musical accompaniment.
Among the wildlife specimens depicted herein are the roadrunner, the chuckwalla, the skunk, the scorpion and the kangaroo-rat. Much of the narration is undercut by lame attempts at humor; however, a battle between a rattlesnake and a tarantula, followed by a contretemps between the rattler and a hawk, are played straight, and most effectively.
Much of the footage in The Living Desert was photographed by N. Paul Kenworthy Jr., as part of his UCLA doctoral thesis. The film was originally released to theatres in a Disney package, including the live-action short Stormy and the animated featurette Ben and Me.