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"Old Yeller was a hunter,and that's when Old Yeller had fun!"
a rearin', tearin' hunter.
In any chase, he knew just how to run!
And when he got in trouble,
he always found it double,
—from the opening credits of Disney's Film of the Book
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: The dog does get shot in the book, but it happens just after the fight with the wolf, taking up less than a page, instead of being drawn out for two weeks for prime Emotional Torque like in the film.
- All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": Old Yeller contracts rabies, there's a lot of crying, and he eventually gets shot.
- 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 trys 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.
- 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.
- Heroic Dog
- "I Am" Song: "Best dog-gone dog in the West..."
- 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.
- Zombie Infectee: This is why they need to Shoot the Dog, substituting "rabies" for "zombie".