- Who are we looking for?
- Where are they going?
- When do they expect to get there?
- When do they expect to return?
While it's true that Dr Johnston and his travelling companion had a rough old time of it, they were better off than John and Phil because at least the search times had a rough idea of where to look. Since Phil stupidly failed to inform people of where they were headed because it's a great big stupid secret, he made things worse than they should have been. The reason that we should have expected something stupid like this is that I remember the last time Pattersons entered the wild country.
What I remember is that the people of Sioux Lookout had no idea who the family with the puppy were, where they were supposed to be and how long they were supposed to be there because idiot John forgot the directions and moron Elly didn't think to ask where they were headed. The end result is that they stupidly blundered into the same sort of self-induced disaster Phil would later will on himself and his brother-in-law. While Elly blamed everything on John for being a man, I think that the real lesson is that the Pattersons should be legally required to stay in urban areas where they belong.