Study Guide

Where the Red Fern Grows Chapter 17

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Chapter 17

  • The hunt is still on, but the weather's changing and a storm's a-comin'. Dun dun dun.
  • It hits almost immediately. They can hear the dogs howling about a raccoon, but can't find them through the sleet and wind.
  • Everyone wants to turn back, but Billy begs them to push on. Like a bold cowboy, his dad steps forward and says he will follow Billy. He turns to the other men and asks them to follow, too.
  • It's kind of epic and awesome.
  • The men continue to search through the storm for the dogs. They've lost all sound of them, and it's looking pretty bleak.
  • Billy's dad fires his gun to try and call Little Ann, and, hey, it actually works. (Looks like Billy may have had a point about wanting a gun.)
  • They make the long trek to Old Dan, who's treed a coon. But, oops, they lost Gramps along the way.
  • Little Ann has this covered. She doubles back and leads the men to find him. He's twisted his ankle.
  • Everyone hobbles back to Old Dan, who's still got that coon up in the tree. They make a fire, and Billy's dad starts chopping down the tree. 
  • Bam! Out jump not one, not two, but three raccoons. Jackpot.
  • Each of the dogs gets one, and the third runs away. That brings Billy up to three skins, which he's happy with.
  • But not the dogs. They run off after the third, and Billy stays to skin the coons. He wraps one of them around his grandpa's ankle, which we're pretty sure contradicts the RICE principle.

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