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You're a fucking animal.
— Ellie to David, disgusted by his people's practices
Cannibal closeup

A closeup of a cannibal.

Cannibals are a type of enemy survivors encountered twice in The Last of Us, first in the University of Eastern Colorado and then in the town of Silver Lake and with Infected in the Colorado Mountain Plaza in Left Behind.

These are survivors who have resorted to the capture and murder of any travelers who they encounter, eating them as a means of survival due to the shortage of food in the post-infected world.


Events of The Last of UsEdit

The cannibals that are encountered by Joel and Ellie are led by David, who is aided by his right-hand man James. There are women and children in this group, unlike the Hunters of Pittsburgh or the Bandits encountered in Jackson County.[1]

The group is based in Silver Lake and is reluctant to trust David's leadership, finding him to be incompetent in keeping them safe. It is possible that they only recently resorted to cannibalism, as David mentions that this winter has been especially harsh. Therefore, they could have started out a non-hostile community of survivors previously, much like Tommy's group. However, a note found by Joel suggests they've been doing it for at least a year.

In the autumn of 2033, David sent some of his men to look for food at the University of Eastern Colorado, where they encountered and attempted to kill Joel and Ellie. When this failed, the surviving men informed David and James that their friends were killed by the two travelers, some even calling Joel "a crazy man".[2]

A few months later, David and James encountered Ellie in the forest, but didn't realize who she was. They agreed to trade a bottle of penicillin and a syringe in exchange for a deer which Ellie has killed. James left to get the medicine, leaving David with Ellie. While waiting, David tried to get Ellie to open up to him, deducing she was doing this for the sake of one person, not a group like she had previously implied. After facing a large number of infected, David realized that Ellie was the girl who had killed a large number of his men along with Joel. James appeared and pointed his gun at her, only to let Ellie go when David talked him down.[3]

A small group of the cannibals were sent to capture Ellie, finding her at the cabin where she was treating Joel, though they tried to kill her once they found out who she was. One even shot and killed Callus, Ellie and Joel's horse. Ellie was eventually caught by David and taken to their town.

Trying to convince her to join the group, David became deranged and furious when Ellie continually refused his advances and attempted to escape, injuring him out of spite and disgust for his people's cannibalistic ways.

When Joel recovered, he found a small group left at the cabins and killed all but two. He then tortured one of them to discover Ellie's location, then beat both of them to death. Joel tracked Ellie to the cannibal's town, where he finds strung-up corpses in a meat locker.

Ellie ended up escaping after killing James, eluding the group only to be tracked by David. She is then engaged in a lethal game of cat and mouse. He nearly killed her, but ultimately died when Ellie hacked him to death with his own machete. Ellie then fled the town with Joel, leaving the remaining cannibals without a leader.[4]

Events of Left Behind Edit

Left Behind shows that a small fraction of the group did not return, but instead tracked the wounded Joel and Ellie to the Colorado Mountain Plaza, suffering many casualties from both Ellie, who was gathering medical supplies for Joel, and the Infected residing in the mall.

One of them briefly wielded a bow before being killed by an infected. These cannibals also faced off against Infected and Ellie at the same time, though they eventually either retreated or were killed in the fight.[5]

Skills and strengthEdit

The cannibals do not use armor, but have access to weapons such as pistols, revolvers, hunting rifles, shotguns, and occasionally bows, as well as melee weapons. David is very dangerous, using a Machete and a revolver, as well as having a high pain tolerance in combat, resisting being stabbed three times by Ellie. He also possessed a hunting rifle, but admitted that he wasn't a good shot. He was able to handle several Infected alongside Ellie, even Clickers and a Bloater.

They are known for being rather cowardly, fleeing from a recently-recovered Joel despite outnumbering him, preferring to take him by surprise when possible.

They are similar to the Hunters in power but lack numbers in most cases. Much like the Hunters, they either fear or distrust their leader. They are, however, more diverse as they have women and children in their group, making the group arguably weaker since not all of the members are suitable for fighting.

However, the group is well organized and are skilled trackers, an entire search party managing to locate Ellie on at least two occasions and captured her with David's help. They could even hold their own against several Infected[6], something most other groups have been shown to either struggle with or avoid entirely[7], even the military, who were overpowered by Stalkers despite being the best-equipped faction of survivors left.[8] Their cowardly nature still persists despite this, as some run and hide rather than fight the Infected directly, choosing to attack when the infected are a safe distance away.

Through David's dialogue[9], it appears they can afford to waste certain supplies (apart from food) suggesting that they have lots of equipment. However, it appears better equipment, like shotguns and rifles, is only used by scavenging parties that go out hunting for food and supplies. The town watch, by comparison, mostly has men armed with simple revolvers. However, when Joel finally arrives, some of the watchmen have equipped melee and heavier weapons.

Despite being generally weaker than most enemies, it is harder for the young Ellie to combat them directly, due to her inferior size and strength. It could be argued that this is why David was so difficult to defeat even though he only had a revolver. Compare him to Joel and he could be argued as being much weaker, despite his high pain tolerance.

When Ellie does engage them in melee combat, they react in a similar manner as Clickers do for Joel, with them blocking her attack after two strikes and either putting her in a chokehold or punching her to the ground. They can even string up to three punches on her in quick succession, taking almost all of her health. On Grounded mode, a single punch is enough to knock Ellie out.


Known membersEdit


Trivia Edit

  • Dialogue hints that David might not be the leader of the group, or it operates as a democracy. When he is talking to Ellie, he states that he has to convince the others to let Ellie in.
    • However, a cannibal says that after they kill Ellie, they should have a town meeting, and put David's leadership up to a vote, implying democratic leadership.
  • While it is heavily implied that the cannibals think nothing of killing others, they are a tight-knit group, displayed when a cannibal attacked Joel with a shotgun yelling "Those are my friends you killed, asshole!" This relationship contrasts with the Hunters, who seem to only begrudgingly work together.


  1. While searching for Ellie, a woman mentions she will take the children to safety
  2. University
  3. The Hunt
  4. For all of the above
  5. The Enemy of my Enemy
  6. A group of cannibals successfully defeated infected, unless Ellie intervened
  7. Hunters barely defeated one Clicker or had to kill from a distance, some even running away from them and the Bandits never faced the Infected
  8. Field Ops Log
  9. David persuading Ellie

Start a Discussion Discussions about Cannibals

  • How much did the rest know?

    9 messages
    • BenRG wrote:David was very charismatic and probably a psychopath (somewhat like Charles Manson or Jim Jones IRL - Google them in the unlik...
    • I really don't think that David was telling all of the villagers that they were eating human meat... I think it was just known in ...
  • cannibals

    10 messages
    • They have teeth and claws to kill and eat human beings.Isnt it obvious?
    • ^ HA!!:)

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