''The Journey of Natty Gann'' is a 1985 Walt Disney Pictures film starring Meredith Salenger and Creator/JohnCusack in one of his earliest major roles.
It's 1935, and with TheGreatDepression in full sway, finding a job is a matter of life and death, so when single dad Sol Gann gets an offer to travel to the state of Washington to work as a logger, he can't possibly afford to refuse - even though it means leaving his daughter Natty behind in Chicago until he can afford to buy her a train ticket to come join him.
Unfortunately, that takes time, and in the meantime everybody but Natty herself starts coming to the conclusion that she's been abandoned. When she realizes that she's about to be handed over into the custody of the state, Natty takes off on her own, hopping a train and heading west to try to find her father herself, no matter what obstacles she runs into along the way.
!!The film includes examples of:
* AdultsAreUseless: Mostly averted. While many of the adults Natty meets are unhelpful, so are many of the kids, and a few adults - such as Charlie the blacksmith and the woman at the milling operation - go out of their way to help her reunite with her father.
* AirVentPassageway: Natty escapes the reform school via ''some'' kind of vent, anyhow.
* AmplifiedAnimalAptitude: Wolf appears at times to be the smartest character in the whole film. Most notably, the first time Natty encounters him again after helping him escape into the woods, he brings her a freshly-killed rabbit, leads her across the wilderness to a farmhouse, and ''protects the farmer's chicken coop from foxes'' for no apparent reason beyond repaying the farmer and his wife for helping Natty.
* AndroclesLion: Natty wins Wolf's friendship by helping him escape the dogfighting ring and later giving him some of her food.
* AttemptedRape: G-rated version. A guy who gives Natty a ride in his truck tries to get way too friendly.
* TheBlacksmith: Charlie.
* ABoyAndHisX: A girl and her wolf.
* CanineCompanion: Wolf again.
* DaddysGirl: Particularly given the absence of her mother, Natty and her father are very close. She won't hear a negative word spoken about him and never once believes that he would intentionally abandon her.
* DeadpanSnarker: Harry.
* DeathSeeker: After he thinks Natty was killed in a train accident, Sol starts volunteering for the most dangerous jobs available.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Several:
** Natty is first seen [[OneOfTheBoys sneaking off to a bathroom to smoke a cigarette with several boys of about her age]], and getting into a fistfight with one when he calls her father a "commie."
** [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Harry]] saves Natty from falling under the wheels of a moving train, and though he's curt to her himself, he admonishes the other men in the train car to stop scaring her.
* EvilDetectingDog: Wolf ''always'' knows when trouble is coming.
* GentleGiant: Charlie the blacksmith.
* GoodScarsEvilScars: Averted. Charlie has nasty burn scars covering one whole side of his face, but he's one of the nicest and most sympathetic adults Natty meets on her journey.
* TheGreatDepression: The setting, and the reason that Sol has to go from Illinois to Washington - he can't afford to pass up the chance at paying work.
* HeroesLoveDogs: Prior to rescuing Wolf, Natty is also seen adoping a stray puppy, which dialogue indicates is only the latest one that she's tried to bring home.
* HeroicBSOD: Sol doesn't take it well when he thinks that Natty has been killed.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Harry, whose jerk veneer is pretty thin.
* MissingMom: Natty's mother died at some point prior to the film.
* MisunderstoodLonerWithAHeartOfGold: Charlie.
* NobleWolf: Wolf is smarter than some humans and he repays debts of kindness to others, such as Natty for rescuing him and the farmer family for aiding Natty.
* OneOfTheBoys: Natty is a complete tomboy and is shown hanging out with boys rather than girls while she's living in Chicago.
* PluckyGirl: Natty.
* SheCleansUpNicely: It doesn't even take a change of clothes; Harry is visibly startled the first time he sees Natty after she's had a chance to wash her face and comb her hair.
* TheShill: Natty serves as an impromptu shill to help a street vendor make a sale.
* ShooTheDog: Ultimately, Natty encourages Wolf to return to the wild.
* TomboyishName: "Natty" is short for "Natalie Sue."
* TooDumbToLive: The guy who tries to molest Natty ''while he's driving a truck'' and she has a wolf in the back.
* TrainStationGoodbye: At a bus station instead of a train station, when Harry departs for California.