Where the Red Fern Grows is the heartwarming and adventurous tale for all ages about a young boy and his quest for his own red-bone hound hunting dogs. Set in the Ozark Mountains during the Great Depression, Billy Coleman works hard and saves his earnings for 2 years to achieve his dream of buying two coonhound pups. He develops a new trust in God as he faces overwhelming challenges in adventure and tragedy roaming the river bottoms of Cherokee country with "Old Dan" and "Little Ann." The movie follows the inseparable trio as they romp relentlessly through the Ozarks, trying to tree the elusive "Ghost" raccoon. Their efforts prove victorious as they win the coveted gold cup in the annual coon-hunt contest, capture wily ghost coons and bravely fight a mountain lion. Through these adventures Billy realizes the meaning of true friendship, loyalty, integrity and heroics, in this timeless and poignant coming of age story. Written by Anonymous
A character notes that Billy's hounds seem to have more than just loyalty for their owner; they love him deeply. This love is affirmed throughout the novel and contributes to the sad ending. Throughout their adventures, we see how love, and not mere loyalty, enables the team to survive and succeed. It is almost as if Billy, Old Dan, and Little Ann are one being. Rawls uses the color red throughout Where the Red Fern Grows . Red is the color of blood, as well, and through this association it symbolizes the dogs' deep love, their strong will power, and their sacrificial intimacy with each other and Billy - not to mention the mystical qualities of the red fern.