Lucien Trumbo had come to the Amazon jungle with the intention of starting a new life. He began with eight acres of land but expanded his holdings to build a huge cocoa plantation in a remote region at least two days journey by boat from the nearest outpost. He was intensely proud of his ability to fight back the jungle and to create his own little world, but when his wife died there, he became even more isolated, making his peace with the country but harboring no desire to share his life with anyone. He hired Indian laborers for his plantation, but he owned no radio to maintain contact with the outside world, and he developed a reputation as an impossible and unapproachable man who recognized no law but his own.
When MacGyver and his friend, Dr. Charles Alden, ventured up the Amazon River to investigate the inexplicable behavior of the local wildlife, they hoped to make contact with Trumbo to request a guide to take them deeper into the jungle. Commissioner Santos, the local law enforcement, warned that they would not be welcomed by Trumbo, and in fact Trumbo's men fired a warning shot as he accused them of trespassing and ordered them to leave. MacGyver, recognizing the sound of a broken piston, offered to repair the pump to Trumbo's irrigation system by using jumper cables and half dollars as an arc welder, and in gratitude for saving his crop, Trumbo offered to escort the pair into the jungle himself.
Several kilometers from the plantation, Trumbo, MacGyver, and Alden discovered the reason for the panicked behavior of the indigenous animals. An army of soldier ants was eating its way through the jungle, leaving a path of total devastation several miles across and heading toward Trumbo's plantation. The cocoa plantation was his life, and Trumbo refused to abandon it, but stubborn and practical to a fault, he refused to waste time on the impossible and considered that the ants could not be stopped. As his workers panicked and fled, only Luiz, a young man who had been rescued and taken in by Trumbo as a child, chose to remain behind.
MacGyver proposed a plan to battle the ants, first by flooding the irrigation ditches to create an artificial moat and force them into the river, then to build a gasoline flame thrower to burn them out, and finally to create an explosive to blow open the irrigation dam, flood the land, and drown them. The ants breached the irrigation ditches and survived the fire, but MacGyver's homemade nitromannite explosive successfully destroyed the dam and flooded the fields. The ants were wiped out, but so was the plantation, yet Trumbo considered it a victory and swore that he would rebuild even better than before. MacGyver promised to return in one year's time to see what he had helped to build.
Portrayed by: David Ackroyd
Cross Reference: Charles Alden, Brazil, Luiz, Santos, Soldier Ants
Episode Reference: Trumbo's World