Chief Park Ranger Michael Kelly is a main character and the main protagonist of the 1976 natural horror film Grizzly. He was the Chief Park Ranger of the national park in the film, where he took his job very seriously and cared greatly about the people in the area, and the forest itself.
Little is known of Kelly's past, though he stated to his girlfriend in the film, Allison, that he dreamed of being famous and wealthy and tried a shortcut by marrying a wealthy, beautiful lady who, just like him at the time, was a mercenary. He became unhappy in the marriage and pretended to have an affair to end it, but it only made his wife more onguard, so he sold all of his holdings, donated it to the Salvation Army, and became a ranger, and his wife finally divorced him. He eventually became the Chief Park Ranger for his natural skill at his job.
Chief Park Ranger Michael Kelly lived in the area of the national park in the film, where he took his job very seriously. After the summer tourism season had ended, an unusually large post-season crowd of campers remained in the forest and Kelly instructed his rangers to do the best they could to watch over the area and sent most of them out on patrol. He then went to the restaurant that his girlfriend, Allison, 's father ran and picked her up after she failed to meet him at an appointed time and place. Joking around with Allison, Kelly took her with him into the forest to take pictures of the changing seasons as she had been doing and they encountered a ranger named Tom, who informed Kelly that two girls were missing in the R4 area. Kelly and Allison accompanied him to shack nearby the missing girls' camp, and Kelly found one of them's bloody corpse inside, killed by a bear. Calling all of his rangers, Kelly and his men searched into the night for the bear, finding no trace of it. Allison, who accompanied them, stumbled into the blood of the second girl, also killed by the bear. At the Coroner's office, Kelly suggested the animal was sick, as there was more than enough food in the high country, where they moved all the bears.
Park Supervisor Charley Kittridge walked into the room and angrily demanded to know why he hadn't been informed of the incident, to which Kelly stated that he clearly had gotten the word. Kelly told Kittridge of the bear and that he had men hunting it in the woods, saying he intended to contain it in the the R3 and R4 areas. When Kittridge tried to say that Kelly might not have done his job, Kelly disregarded him, saying his friend, naturalist Arthur Scott, knew every bear in the forest and couldn't have missed one. When Kittridge then told him to bring Scott back, Kelly called him on his field phone, scaring away the family of deer he was following, to his annoyance. Informing Scott of the recent bear attacks, Kelly called him in. As Allison had arrived as he was on the phone, Kelly told her of his and Scott's love of their work and of his "perfect plan to fame and fortune" and how he tried to marry into it, but disliked it and pulled out all the stops to get a divorce. After a ranger named Gail was killed by the bear, Kelly became saddened and lamented that he didn't know what to do. As he listed what he loved about being a ranger to Allison, she told him that he was doing just fine for a man who once thought of himself as a mercenary.
Kelly enlisted the aid of his friend, helicopter pilot Don Stober, to help him find the bear and they flew over the forest in his chopper. Kelly thanked Don for helping him out and they discussed the bear's possible whereabouts. Don stated that the bear may have a hideout cave, but Kelly stated it was so hard to find because it was always moving and had billions of acres to cover its tracks. When Don asked him if he had learned any of the bear's patterns, Kelly told him that it liked women and kept moving, prompting a humorous joke from Don. Kelly spotted something below and asked Don to take the helicopter down. Believing they had found the bear, Don landed and Kelly got out with his rifle, only to find that it was Arthur Scott, covered with animal skins, tracking the bear. Kelly asked Scott what he was doing and Scott told him and Don that the bear killing people was a prehistoric Grizzly bear(a fictional Artodus ursos horribilis, based off of the real life Artodus simus), standing 15 feet tall and weighing over 2,000 pounds. While they both scoffed at the notion, Kelly and Don both accepted his word and they left when Scott pointed ot the grizzly only ate meat. That night, after another attack by the Grizzly, Kelly allowed the victim's saddened lover to ride in the ambulance and distastefully argued with Kittridge when he showed up about responsibility.
The next day, Kelly, Scott, and Don saw that Kittridge had allowed hunters into the forest to kill the bear, and he drove back and demanded that they be ordered out, but Kittridge refused, and Kelly argued with him and told him that he'd handle them as he saw fit, before leaving with his friends. Outside, Kelly learned that a hunter had been attacked by the grizzly and asked Scott to take Don to get his stuff. That night, Kelly conversed with Don and Scott and refused to allow Allison to come with them and the rangers on the hunt, saying it was too dangerous. They found a trio of hunters who had tried to lure the grizzly into a trap with a bear cub, which the grizzly killed and ate. Scott asserted that it was a male from this, and Kelly asked him if that helped them, to which Scott said it would retrace its route. Kelly told Ranger Tom to go to a nearby tower to look for the grizzly, while they looked on foot. When Scott requested to try and capture the grizzly, Kelly refused to allow him to enter the forest alone, but promised to allow him the chance if they spotted him first. The next day, Kelly talked to Tom and, when he alerted them that the grizzly was attacking the tower soon after, rushed with Don to try and save him. However, the grizzly knocked over the tower and killed Tom before they could get there. Later, in Kittridge's office, Kelly requested him to close the park and give him a good chance to kill the grizzly, but he refused, and Kelly quickly figured out after some press comments that all he wanted was to get a better job in D.C., so they had a fallout and Kelly left. Later, in his office, Kelly became diheartened and talked to Scott about meaningless things, prompting him to leave on his own to find the grizzly, despite Kelly urging him not to.
The following night of the next day, after an attack by the grizzly in town, Kelly finally managed to gain Kittridge's permission to close the park and ban all hunters and campers. Kelly still allowed Don to stay in the hunt and they loaded up his helicopter with various supplies and weapons, including a rocket launcher, Kelly thanking Don for being so generous about his help. After Don told Kelly of his tme in the Vietnam War and how he promised never to kill afterwards, Kelly apologized for putting him in a position where he might have to kill, but Don declined, saying this was his choice. They flew upcountry, and Kelly told Don that he thought the grizzly's going back home because they don't like to stray after he asked why he thought bear would be going there. They killed and gutted a buck, and landed somewhere they thought was good, where Kelly was given a better hunting rifle by Don, and they dragged the buck downwind, where they hung it up in a tree and Kelly started on a blind, while Don went back for the rest of his stuff. When the bear fell for the bait, Kelly startled it by undoing the safety on his gun, and he and Don chased the grizzly for about a mile, before losing it. Afterwards, they returned and found the grizzly had taken the buck. Being as it was too late to start tracking, Kelly and Don returned to helicopter, where Don told Kelly a humorous joke not to move or kiss back if he felt a wet snout on his face, because it wasn't him, as Kelly had decided to take the first watch that night. The next day, Kelly is contacted by Scott on the radio, who had found the buck. Kelly asked him where he was and told Scott to get out of the area before the grizzly came back, however, he decided to drag the buck to the halfway point between them and lure the grizzly into a trap.
Kelly and Don attempted to fly to his rescue, but arrived too late, as the grizzly had already attacked and killed Scott. Mutually saddened with Don, Kelly said they would burry him there and radio in his coordinates to have his body picked up. They took back to the air and Don stated that he was ready to kill again now and couldn't wait, saying he liked Scott and never mean't him insult when he had joked around with him earlier in the film. Kelly acknowledged this, telling Don he and Scott were a lot alike. As he pulled out a grid map and Don pointed out where the Grizzly was going, Kelly realized it was the same place as his first kill, which fascinated him. Kelly spotted the grizzly below and pointed him out to Don, who angrily flew lower after him. They gave a long chase, terrorfying the grizzly and Don suggested that they use the rocket launcher to kill him, but Kelly told him to land, as the grizzly was too tired and scared to come back out. Afterwards, Kelly started to load his 30.06, while Don started to get out(carrying Kelly's first gun by accident), and the grizzly attacked the helicopter, causing Don to be thrown clean. Kelly looked on in fear as the grizzly advanced towards him, but was saved when Don shot it twice, emptying the gun and causing the grizzly to turn on him. Kelly got out and began to shoot the grizzly as he approached Don, who hit the bear in the face with his rifle, before it grabbed him. Despite Kelly's desperate attempts to save him, Don was crushed to death in the grizzly's forearms. Kelly then retrieved the rocket launcher from the chopper and blasted the grizzly as it reared up, blowing it to pieces and killing it. He then sadly stared at its burning remains, walked over to Don's body, and quietly mourned the loss of his friend.
Kelly was very skilled at doing his job, being able to more than adequately command his rangers and take care of the forest he worked in and anyone who went in it. However, he lacked experience dealing with attacks from man-eating bears and was forced to rely on his friends, naturalist Arthur Scott and helicopter pilot and forest guide Don Stober to help him with their specialties in the field when the grizzly in the film began its killing spree. He was very good with weapons, but had to be provided a good bear hunting rifle by his friend Don as hunting had never been his thing. He also had great skill at navigating, able to read a map perfectly, even if it was unmarked.
Kelly's personality was very similar to that of Chief Martin Brody from Jaws, in that he was very passionate about his job, and very kind and caring of those around him. He made friends easy and got along well with everyone in the film except Park Supervisor Charley Kittridge, who he had a mutual strong distaste for due to his laziness, greed, and constant unnecessary harshness. Kelly cared greatly about his friends, naturalist Arthur Scott and pilot guide Don Stober, always wanting to look out for them and being deeply saddened after the grizzly killed each of them,to the point of being brought to tears. The three of them made a good team, each using their own skills to great effect in the hunt for the grizzly. He cared greatly about his girlfriend too, and did everything he could to keep her safe, although he was not afraid to tell her her faults, as he said the main problem with her was that she was spoiled.