"Old Yeller was a hunter, a rearin', tearin' hunter. In any chase, he knew just how to run! And when he got in trouble, he always found it double, and that's when Old Yeller had fun!"Old Yeller
is a book by Fred Gipson about a boy and a stray dog in post-American Civil War
Texas, later made into a Walt Disney film in 1957. 15-year-old Travis Coates has enough responsibility taking care of his mother, little brother Arliss, and the family farm while his father goes away on a cattle drive. Then the wilderness blows a stray "yeller" dog into his life whom he initially takes a strong dislike to... until Old Yeller saves Arliss from a Mama Bear
(kids shouldn't play with bear cubs). The two become inseparable partners, hunting and facing the dangers of The Wild West
together. Then a rabid wolf comes along...
Warning, this page has Spoilers, but most people already know what they are.
The novel and highly faithful Disney film contain examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: In the book, Travis shoots Yeller immediately after the fight with the wolf, knowing he will inevitably contract rabies, and the scene takes up less than a page. In the film, he delays the inevitable for two weeks, hoping Yeller won't become rabid, and shoots him only when it's clear that he has.
- All There Is To Know About The Crying Game: Old Yeller doesn't make it to the end of the film.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Little Arliss.
- Bittersweet Ending
- A Boy and His X
- Bratty Half-Pint: Arliss at times.
- Coming of Age Story
- Cub Cues Protective Parent: Arliss plays around with and tries to catch a bear cub, resulting is a rather displeased mother bear showing up.
- Death by Newbery Medal
- Determined Homesteader's Wife: She cooks and cleans, works the farm, is able to handle a gun, settles disputes between Travis and Arliss, and doesn't bat an eye at stitching a wound shut.
- Disappeared Dad: Gone for most of the action selling cattle.
- Everything's Worse with Wolves: The rabid wolf that attacks the family but that Old Yeller tries to keep at bay until Travis manages to shoot the wolf dead, but not before Yeller is bitten in the struggle and soon becomes mad himself.
- The Film of the Book
- Go Look at the Distraction: Mom asks Arliss to get her a horned toad, so he won't be present while she's dressing the injury that a boar gave to Old Yeller.
- Happily Adopted: Non-human example. Old Yeller is so ingrained into the family that by the time his rightful owner shows up, even he sees that Old Yeller is better off with them than with him.
- The Hero Dies: Old Yeller himself at the end.
- Heroic Dog
- I Am Song: "Best dog-gone dog in the West..."
- Manly Tears: Yes, it's entirely permissible for grown men to cry at the ending.
- Mercy Kill: Wow, is every trope about Old Yeller about the ending?
- Promotion to Parent: Travis.
- Replacement Goldfish: Savage Sam.
- Shoot the Dog: Trope Namer present and accounted for, sir!
- The So-Called Coward: Old Yeller.
- Spin Offspring: Savage Sam: Son of Old Yeller — also filmed by Disney, although deviating more strongly from its novel than the first film did.
- White-Haired Pretty Girl: Lisbeth.
- Zombie Infectee: This is why they need to Shoot the Dog, substituting "rabies" (or "hydrophobia" as it was called in both book and movie) for "zombie".