Original Artwork by ThinkQuest Team CR0211900
Chapter I "Into the Primitive"
Buck was a family dog living in a large house in the Santa Clara Valley. He was part St. Bernard and part Scotch shepherd. Buck was loved and treated lovingly by Judge Miller's family.
Judge Miller's gardener Manuel loved the Chinese lottery. Unfortunately he was not lucky. Manuel decided to make up his loses by selling Buck. He needed the money to support his wife and children. Strong dogs with thick coats brought a fair price for the gold seekers in the Yukon Territory.
Buck traveled northward by train. While traveling, Buck bit his kidnapper's hand. Buck was then choked and locked into a crate. The crate passed from wagon to train.
After two days and nights without eating or drinking, Buck decided never to let anyone mistreat him again. In Seattle a man in a red sweater decided to "break" Buck with his club and hatchet. Buck's body became broken, but not his spirit. Once Buck was exhausted and down, the man with the club brought him water and meat. Buck learned that a man with a club can't be beaten.
Buck was then sold to a French Canadian named Perrault. Another dog named Curly was also bought. They were taken onto a ship called the Narwhal. On this ship the dogs were turned over to Francois. They joined two other dogs named Spitz and Dave. Finally they reached the cold new land and Buck had his first experience with snow.
Chapter II "The Law of Club and Fang"
Buck realized that he is away from civilization and living in the wild. Buck's friend Curly was killed by a stranger. When she fell 30 to 40 other husky dogs rushed in and trampled her. Buck learned a lesson from this. Never go down.
Buck was harnessed to the other dogs. He remembered the horses being harnessed back on Judge Miller's farm and found the experience humiliating. Between Dave and Spitz, who have been in a sled team previously, Buck learned how to pull a sled. He learned the meanings of "ho" and "mush".
Perrault bought two more dogs, Billee and Joe. Sol-leks also joined the sled team. He was an old husky who was missing one eye. Buck soon learned not to approach Sol-leks from his blind side.
One cold night Buck was having trouble sleeping. He tried to enter the tent, but Francois and Perrault chased him away. While wandering Buck learned that the other dogs had dug sleeping holes so they could sleep comfortably. Buck dug his own hole and settled in for the night. The next day three more dogs joined the team making a total of nine. The team traveled forty miles a day. They continued this pace day after day. Buck learned he must eat quickly to avoid his food being stolen by the other dogs.
Chapter III "The Law of Club and Fang"
Buck learned to live by his instincts in the Northland. Spitz became his rival. One day while Buck went to get his food, he found that Spitz had taken his sleeping hole. Buck and Spitz prepared to fight. Just then a pack of wild hungry dogs ran into the camp. They were mad with their hunger and attacked the team dogs. They ate everything they could find including moccasins. Each of the team dogs fought back. They received four to five cuts each during this battle.
The team had to cover four hundred miles of trail to reach the next stop. This was the hardest part of the trail. The dogs even broke through the ice on several occasions. One of the dogs Dolly went mad and began to chase Buck. Francois killed the mad dog with his ax. Spitz decided to attack Buck after this exhaustive chase with Dolly. Francois whipped Spitz harder than he had whipped any of the other dogs for trying to fight Buck when he was tired. After this incidence, the rivalry between the dogs strengthened.
One night the dogs saw a rabbit. This lead to a great chase. Fifty dogs from the Northwest Police camp joined in the rabbit hunt. Spitz got to the rabbit first by taking a short cut. Buck fought Spitz when he saw this. Buck soon realized this was a fight to the death. During the fight he acted as if he was headed for Spitz's shoulder, but turned at the last minute and bit his leg. Buck broke Spitz's leg. Once Spitz was down Buck moved in for the kill.
Chapter IV "Who Has Won to Mastership"
The morning after the fight between Buck and Spitz, Perrault found that Buck was covered with cuts and Spitz was missing. As Perrault harnessed the dogs, Buck stood in Spitz's lead position. Francois tried to harness Sol-leks in the lead. Buck pushed Sol-leks out of the way and moved back into the position. Francois came back with his club. Buck retreated from the club, but did not give up.
Finally Perrault told Francois to throw down the club. Buck moved into the lead position. Buck became the new lead dog. He did a wonderful job. Two new huskies were added to the team. Buck taught them how to work. The team averaged forty miles a day. They reached Skaguay in record time.
Perrault and Francois received orders to move on. The dogs were too tired to continue. Perrault and Francois moved on with a new set of dogs. The team traveled back to Dawson under the leadership of a Scotsman. They carried a load of mail to the gold-miners in the North. Once the dogs reached Dawson they were treated well.
Dave was suffering from a strange illness. No one could find the problem. The men decided he was too weak to work and unharnessed him from the team. Dave fought for his place. The men realized he must die working, so they harnessed him back in place. The next day Dave was too weak to travel. After he collapsed the Scotsman moved the dog team out of sight. He then returned to the place Dave fell with a gun. The team heard the shot and knew what had taken place.
Chapter V "The Toil of Trace and Trail"
After 30 days on the trail the dogs were looking forward to a long rest at Skaguay. Unfortunately the men were ordered to deliver mail right away. Since the dogs were too weary to travel, they were sold and replaced with fresh dogs.
Buck was sold to two men, Hal and Charles, from the United States. These men were traveling with Charles's wife and Hal's sister, Mercedes. They were very inexperienced with dog sledding.
The men loaded the sled too heavily. They whipped the dogs when they were unable to pull the sled. One bystander even had to tell the men how to break the runners lose from the snow and ice. A few feet down the path the load fell off the sled. Hal and Charles repacked only half the load and purchased six more dogs.
The dogs were overfed during the beginning of the trip and underfed when the owners realized they were running out to food. Dub died from his injuries. The new dogs all starved to death. Hal, Mercedes, and Charles fought among themselves and showed little compassion for the dogs.
At Five Fingers the dogs ran completely out of food. They were fed horsehide. Buck worked at pulling the sled until he was no longer able. Hal and Charles whipped and clubbed Buck. With only five dogs left the team reached the camp of John Thornton. Buck was near death from Hal's whip and club, John Thornton attacked Hal for beating Buck. Hal finally cut Buck free from the team.
John checked Buck and discovered that he was exhausted, starved, and bruised but had no broken bones. Hal, Charles, and Mercedes left with the sled and remaining dogs. Buck and John watched the sled team fall through the soft ice. They heard Mercedes scream. All the dogs and people dropped into the icy water and died.
Chapter VI "For the Love of a Man"
As Buck regained his strength he began to love John Thornton who saved his life. John was the ideal master. He treated Buck with kindness. When they went to Dawson, Thornton tried to stop a fight. "Black" Burton fought back at Thornton. Buck jumped at Burton's throat. At a town meeting everyone decided that Buck was only protecting his master and was justified. He earned the reputation of a fiercely devoted dog all through Alaska.
At another time Buck saved Thornton's life when Thornton's boat overturned in some rapids. Men attached a rope to Buck's neck and shoulders. Buck swam to Thornton. The men pulled the two to the safety of the shore.
Buck won a contest. A man named Matthewson bet a thousand dollars that Buck could not pull his sled loaded with a thousand pounds of flour. Thornton borrowed the money from a friend and the bet was sealed. Buck won the bet and the crowd was amazed.
Chapter VII "The Sounding of the Call"
John paid off his debts with the money he earned from the bet. He took off for his lost mine. John and Buck lived off the land as they looked for gold. The men began making a lot of money panning for gold. Buck had nothing to do so he wandered. One night he began to feel the yearnings of the wild dogs.
Buck wandered off with a timber wolf. After a while he missed John Thornton and returned to camp. He stayed by John's side for a while, but soon began to wander from camp again.
One day when he returned to camp Buck saw John's dog Nig lying dead. Then he found Hans lying face-down covered with arrows. Buck found the Yeehats dancing in the wreckage of the mining camp. Buck charged them, cutting their throats with his fangs. The Indians ran. Buck then found John dead.
Buck was deeply upset by the death of his master. He also felt pride at having killed the Yeehats. After this incident Buck was never afraid of men unless they carried weapons. He heard the call of the wolves again. Buck joined the wolf pack. One wolf tried to bite Buck's neck. Buck was able to break the wolf's neck. Three others also attacked. Buck beat them as well. After half an hour all the wolves became friendly with Buck. Buck joined the wolf pack. The Yeehats later saw a difference in the timber wolves as the generations passed. They tell the story of a ghost wolf that lead the pack.
|Judge Miller||Buck's original owner|
|Manuel||Judge Miller's gardener - kidnaps Buck|
|The man in the red sweater||the person who teaches Buck to obey a man with a club|
|Francois||French Canadian mail carrier who drives Buck's team|
|Perrault||French Canadian mail carrier who drives Buck's team|
|Scotsman||drives the team back to Dawson after Francois and Perrault move on with new orders|
|Hal||inexperienced man from US who owned Buck|
|Charles||inexperienced man from US who owned Buck|
|Mercedes||Charles's wife and Hal's sister|
|Matthewson||bet a thousand dollars that Buck could not pull his sled loaded with a thousand pounds of flour|
|"Black" Burton||man who fought John Thornton - Buck killed him in defense|
|Buck||dog stolen from Judge Miller and sold as a sled dog|
|Curly||Buck's friend- is killed by a wild dog|
|Spitz||Buck's rival for leader of the pack|
|Dave||dog from original dog team who dies from a strange illness|
|So-lecks||old husky - blind in one eye - does not like to be approached by blind side|
|Billee||husky - half brother to Joe - good-natured|
|Joe||husky - half brother to Billee - bitter|
|Dolly||went mad on the trail|
|Dub||team dog who dies under the care of Hal and Charles|