The short amateur film, recorded with a hand-held movie camera as Patterson ran toward the subject, is shaky and blurry, but shows a creature closely tallying with descriptions of a female bigfoot walking away into the trees. The release of this film started a debate between scientists and since then many experts have examined the film. Some stated that these images could only belong to a real animal, whereas others suggested that this was a tall man wearing a bigfoot suit. To date, the scientific community remains unconvinced that the film shows a real bigfoot.
Ray Wallace, an amateur "Bigfoot expert" who produced many well-circulated photos and reports of the Bigfoot sightings, claimed late in his life that these had been a continuous and elaborate hoax. After his death in 2002 his family went public with many of the details. Among other things, Wallace, who had suggested to Roger Patterson where he should go in hopes of filming Bigfoot, claimed he had himself staged the sighting and that the "creature" was a friend of his in costume. Many consider Wallace's death to have taken most of the credibility out of the Bigfoot movement.