The dendritic nucleation model was devised to explain the cycle of actin dynamics resulting in actin filament network assembly and disassembly in two contexts--at the leading edge of motile cells and in the actin comet tails of intracellular pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Due to the detailed nature of its biochemical predictions, the model has provided an excellent focus for subsequent experimentation. This review summarizes recent work on actin dynamics in the context of the dendritic nucleation model. One outcome of this research is the possibility that additional proteins, as well as the six proteins included in the original model, might increase the efficiency of dendritic nucleation or modify the resulting actin network. In addition, actin dynamics at the leading edge might be influenced by a second actin filament network, independent of dendritic nucleation.