So starts this savage tale in the middle of a roaring Cadillac convertible speeding down a desert highway, occupied by two men filled to the brim with all the manner of exotic drugs. .
On assignment from Sports Illustrated to cover the prestigious "Mint 400"--a free-for-all biker's race in the heart of the Nevada desert--the drug-a-delic duo--Thompson's alter ego Raoul Duke and his 300 pound Samoan attorney Dr. Gonzo-- stumble through Vegas in hallucinatory hopes of finding the American Dream. They of course never get the story, but they do commit the only sins in Vegas: "burning the locals, abusing the tourists, terrifying the help." .
>From the very start, the mayhem and the lunacy overcome the duo, and they essentially are led on a giant roller coaster ride through the Las Vegas desert. At first, things run fairly smoothly, that is until the drugs overcome the two men's ambitions, and it all goes berserk in quite a gonzo fashion, as the two men hit the lounge scene from cheesy hotel to cheesy hotel on the strip.
The search for the Dream apparently does lie in this City, but finding it may just be a small detour from drinking lots of booze, popping multi-colored pills, and wrecking hotel rooms. Apparently Los Angeles got too boring for our heroes, and what should it matter on an all expense paid for weekend?.
This Las Vegas is the Las Vegas Thompson/Duke wants and allows us to see. It's an enjoyably loud and discolored city, with outrageously obnoxious people and bright blinding lights. But beyond all that, the city is a wading pool for all the absurdities present in "this foul year of our lord, 1971” (as Duke calls it). We can be the clueless hitchhiker just looking for a ride, or the dumb photographer looking for the best action shots, or the cute blonde stuck in an elevator with a drugged-out ape and his quiet baldheaded friend.
Besides being a twisted commentary on the 60's and a portrait of The City of Sin, Fear and Loathing is unbelievably hilarious at times: monstrous bats, bloodthirsty reptiles, demented cops, and a Barbara Streisand freak to name a few things.