When does the statute of limitations run out on films with twist endings? Is 56 years long enough? Well, it had better be because after watching Roger Corman's Teenage Caveman, the thing I'm fixated on is the Twilight Zone-like reveal that these aren't genuine cavemen we're following, but rather people who were bombed back into the Stone Age by nuclear war. To heighten the sense that it's all an elaborate post-nuclear parable, screenwriter R. Wright Campbell doesn't give any of the characters names. Instead, we meet the Son (Robert Vaughn) of the Symbol Maker (Leslie Bradley) who is on the verge of coming to manhood and spends far too much of his time questioning The Law and wondering what is Beyond the River and the Burning Plains. Most of all, he wants to know why everyone is so fearful of The God That Gives Death With Its Touch, which turns out to be a scientist in a blackened radiation suit that makes him look monstrous. (Also, the fact that he's radioactive is the reason why he has such a bad reputation.)
Apart from Symbol-Making contingent, the only other members of the clan that get enough screen time to distinguish themselves are the Black-Bearded One (Frank DeKova), who encourages Vaughn's rebellious streak in order to usurp his father's position, and the Blond Maiden (Darah Marshall), who talks Vaughn into make a Sleeping Place for them and frets about his safety when he announces his intention to go Beyond the River and kill The God That Gives Death With Its Touch once and for all. Corman regular Jonathan Haze also appears as the resident Curly-Haired Boy, who goes along with Vaughn on one of his earlier forays Beyond the River, an ill-fated expedition that one of their number doesn't come back from, after which Vaughn gets the silent treatment. All this does, though, is give him time to practice his music, which he invents along with the bow and arrow, although I should say he re-invents them since, as the closing explanatory voice over spells out, this has all happened before, and if we're not careful, it will all happen again.