Spatial gradients in human activity, coyote activity, deer activity, and deer herbivory provide an unusual type of evidence for a trophic cascade. Activity of coyotes, which eat young mule deer (fawns), decreased with proximity to a remote biological field station, indicating that these predators avoided an area of high human activity. In contrast, activity of adult female deer (does) and intensity of herbivory on palatable plant species both increased with proximity to the station and were positively correlated with each other. The gradient in deer activity was not explained by availabilities of preferred habitats or plant species because these did not vary with distance from the station. Does spent less time feeding when they encountered coyote urine next to a feed block, indicating that increased vigilance may contribute, along with avoidance of areas with coyotes, to lower herbivory away from the station. Judging from two palatable wildflower species whose seed crop and seedling recruitment were greatly reduced near the field station, the coyote-deer-wildflower trophic cascade has the potential to influence plant community composition. Our study illustrates the value of a case-history approach, in which different forms of ecological data about a single system are used to develop conceptual models of complex ecological phenomena. Such an iterative model-building process is a common, but underappreciated, way of understanding how ecological systems work.