Old Yeller: 2 Movie Collection
Based on the novel by Fred Gipson, the story is set in Texas in 1869. While his father is away on a cattle drive, 15-year-old Tommy Kirk takes over management of the family farm. Adopting a "strictly business" policy, Kirk is irritated when younger brother Moochie Corcoran adopts a frisky stray dog. But soon Kirk is as fond of the dog as everyone else in the family; moreover, "Old Yeller" is an excellent watchdog. But while fighting off a mad wolf, Yeller is infected with rabies. Though Yeller seems unaffected at first, he eventually behaves so viciously that the disheartened Kirk has no choice but to shoot the dog. A heart-to-heart talk between Kirk and his returning father (Fess Parker), coupled with the adoption of a new pup, paves the way to an emotional but reasonably happy ending. Earning $8 million domestically on its first release, Old Yeller convinced Walt Disney to devote more and more time to live-action films and less time to animation-which at the time was a sagacious business move. In 1963, Disney released a lesser sequel to Old Yeller titled Savage Sam.