Captain Boyd is sent to a Californian Fort in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, as punishment for his cowardice. He is celebrated as a hero publicly after overtaking an enemy stronghold, but as he points out he was only able to do so by an act of cowardice. He played dead, and was stacked in with other dead men piled on top of him, their blood running into his mouth. This he says changed him, gave him strength, and he was subsequently able to fight his way out from behind enemy lines. Since it would set a bad precedent to explicitly punish him, the army sends him to the isolated post.

Fort Spencer is cold, lonely, and quite unsettling. There is but a skeleton crew - Col. Hart, Pvt Toffler, the religious one, Pvt Cleaves, Knox, and Reich, the soldier. Also at the post are two Native Americans, George and Martha, who it is said more or less came with the location.

One night a mysterious man shows up, claiming to have been lost on an expedition for three months now in the mountains. They survived by eating whatever they could until the first casualty, then they ate the body. Their taste for human meat was peaked, and they began killing each other off to quench their evergrowing hunger. That man is Calhoun. He claims that he ran away from the group, and that there is only one woman left, and a man who's hunger could not be sufficed, Col Ives. He leads the soldiers to a cave where it turns out he is actually the real Col Ives, and has tricked them into a trap.

The film turns from there into a cat and mouse game between Boyd and Ives, and a tale of to eat or not to eat human flesh, which the Native George explains allows the eater to gain the power of the eaten. Director Antonia Boyd, a vegetarian, makes scenes of eating rather repulsive, and uses music as a focal point for highlighting the strangeness of the picture. She makes Ravenous not a horror-gore fest (though there are moments horror in nature and occasional buckets of gore), but a pitch black comedy-thriller-suspense-mystery.

The music is more or less a star in the film itself. Its strange, amusing, bewildering, and fascinating all at once.