Where the Red Fern Grows (2003) Movie Script

Take me back like a child to see
Faces lost in the memories
If I could only go back again
Stop it. Come on, get out of there.
Stop it.
Hey, hey!
Get outta here. Get.
Hey, fella.
How you doing?
He hurt you there?
Oh, good dog.
That's a good boy.
That's a good dog.
It felt like forever|since I'd held a dog in my arms.
No creature could live in my heart|like those dogs of mine so long ago.
This place is far away|from the wilderness I came from.
Forever. and a thousand miles away.
Here you go, boy.
I was a little boy growing up|deep in the Ozark mountains.
with my mom and dad|and my two little sisters.
and woods in all directions.|as far as the eye could see.
My ma was part Cherokee,.
and there was a legend in those parts|that a little Indian boy and girl
got lost in a blizzard and died.
When they found them in the spring,
a beautiful red fern|had grown up between them.
And that spot was sacred forever.
- Howdy.|- Howdy.
- Morning.|- What can I do for you?
- You Will Coleman?|- That's right.
Well, this is Hud Bellington,|and I'm Ben Kyle.
Good to meet you.|That's my wife, Jenny.
- Howdy, ma'am.|- Howdy.
And my daughter, Sarah.
Alice, hiding behind the post.|And there's my son, Billy.
We're up from Tulsa.
Oh, really?|We got some kinfolk up there.
We know that. Your uncle Fred's|the one that sent us out here.
Says you got the finest|coon-hunting in the Ozarks.
How about that? You hear that, Jenny?|Uncle Fred sent 'em down here.
How's he doing?
Feed and grain business|doing right good.
Says he wants to sell,|move back East.
Yeah, we heard about that.|We were hoping to...
Hoping to make him an offer sometime.
Boy, that sure would be|a fine thing for a family like yours.
'Course, it'd be mighty tough|giving up country like this, too.
- You'll stay for supper?|- Why, that's mighty kind of you, ma'am.
Well, if we're going|to get any hunting done,
we're going to|have to set up camp before dark.
That is, of course,|if we have your permission.
Oh, that'd be fine.
There's a nice spot|just down the river,
called Dripping Springs.
Well, this road'll take you right to it.
With hounds like these,|you're bound to tree a few.
Well, they're the best|in Mr. Bellington's kennel.
They're sure fine ones, mister.
- They're champions.|- Yep.
Won the coon-hunting competition|three years running.
Is that right?
Hey, you got any hounds|of your own, son?
Well, ain't that a shame?|All this fine hunting...
It's getting late, Kyle.|Maybe we ought to go.
Sure thing, Mr. Bellington.|It's mighty nice meeting you folks.
Yeah, y'all take care, now.
I'm out back, son.
Thank you, Billy.
I was down at Grandpa's|store yesterday, and he said
that old man Stanton's|collie's about to have pups.
- And I'm sure he'd be glad to-|- Pa?
I don't want no collie.
I want hunting dogs.
I know what you want, son.|But hunting dogs cost money.
Right now there's a bluetick pup outside|Grandpa's store. It's going for $35.
Can I go see him?
Did you hear what I said, boy?|I said $35.
Can I at least go look at him?|Please, Poppa?
- Did you finish stacking that cordwood?|- Yes, sir.
Well, I guess it won't hurt nothing.
Be back by noon. You gotta|fix that fence down by the south end.
Every town has its characters.|and every boy has his nemesis.
Mine was the Pritchards.
We didn't have no train|running through our neck of the woods.
and no train tracks. neither.
But if we did. the Pritchards would|definitely be on the other side of 'em.
I don't know. $35 is a lot|to pay for a dog like that.
- He ain't worth more than 20, Pa.|- Hey, Billy. How you doing?
Not even that much.
Well, if you don't like the price, you better|talk to Chet Parker. It's his hound.
I'm just trying to sell it for him.
All right. We'll take it.
It ain't no $35 dog.
But I promised these boys a hound, I'm|gonna get 'em one. Even if it is a poor one.
Now, there's five, 25, 35.
Come on, boys.
I sure seen better dogs in my day.
It'll be hard,|but we'll make something out of him.
Guess it's better than no dog at all.
Well, that's a real shame.
And, sure as I'm living, that's dog's gonna|end up being just as mean as they are.
Bootleg money, that's for sure.
Oh, Billy.
I wish I could have|bought him for you myself,
but I ain't much better off than your pa.
Don't you worry, son.
You'll have|your own hound before too long.
I don't know, Grandpa. Sometimes|I think God don't want me to have any.
Well, maybe that's 'cause|you ain't doing your fair share.
- What do you mean?|- Ah, Billy.
If God was a-minded to get you a dog,|that'd be easy as cutting lard.
But then he'd be doing all the work.|That ain't good for your character.
I don't want character. I want dogs.
I know.
And if you want dogs bad enough,|you're gonna have dogs.
But if you want God's help,|you gotta meet Him halfways.
- What does that mean?|- What, about meeting Him halfways?
Why don't you think about that? OK?
You can feel the rhythm|coming from the alley
Down around the corner|near the vacant lot
It'll get inside you|the moment that it finds you
Everybody's talking|about the Southside Stomp
Mommy's on the trashcan.|Daddy's on the drainpipe
Johnny's jamming hard|on an old crate box
You can hear the backbeat.|even from the back streets
Everybody's checking out|the Southside Stomp
If you want to feel alive
Shake loose what's locked up inside
Do the Southside Stomp
Southside Stomp
you want to just let go
Stir up something in your soul
Do the Southside Stomp
Southside Stomp
Toes are tapping. things are heating up
Everybody's dancing, putting on a strut
We're working the scene.|smoking up the blacktop
Everybody's doing it.|the Southside Stomp
Come on, stomp
If you want to feel alive
Shake loose what's locked up inside
Do the Southside Stomp
Southside Stomp
If you want to just let go
Stir up something in your soul
Do the Southside Stomp
Southside Stomp
- Thanks.|- Take care, now.
Where in blue blazes|did that come from?
- I saved it.|- You saved it?
So I can buy two hound pups.
Will you order 'em for me?
- How long you been saving up, boy?|- A long time.
I did what you said,|about meeting God halfway.
He's the one that helped me.
- Your pa know you have this?|- Pa needs a new mule real bad.
But I want them dogs real bad, too.
You must have worked|real hard for that.
Earned it.
That there is your money.
You want them dogs,|you're gonna get them dogs.
I'll guarantee that.
Billy?|You done your schoolwork?
I'm doing it now, Ma.
I want you|to understand something, Billy.
I love this place. It was my mother's land,|and her people before her.
And it'll break my heart to leave,|and it'll break your father's heart as well.
But I know we gotta go to where|my children can get a proper education.
Better than I can give you here.
Now, finish your schoolwork.
Hey, Billy.
- Need some help with that feed?|- No, I got it.
I was just down at Grandpa's store.|He said he's got something for you.
All right, baking powder,
a pound of pork,
- and... Hey, Billy. How you doing?|- Ah, hey, Billy.
Well, I sure thank you,|Miss Carter, and I, uh...
I'm just gonna put this on your bill.
- Appreciate it.|- OK.
- D.J., here you go.|- Thank you.
Well? Are they here?
What are you talking about?|Is what here?
Oh, you know what?
I think something did come for you...
Oh, I had it on me.|Wait a minute, now. Just...
There it is, yeah. There you go.
What's this?
- Where are they?|- Tahlequah.
- Tahlequah?|- Yes, sir.
That's halfway down the river.
Well, why didn't they come here?
Well, the mail buggy|don't deliver dogs, that's why.
Well, don't get all upset.|I already talked to Jim Hedges.
He's going over there Saturday,|he'd be happy to give you a ride.
- What if he forgets?|- Well, he ain't gonna forget.
Have a piece of licorice here, and stand|on your head. That'll calm you down.
I have something else for you.|It'll make you feel better.
There you go.
- Well, what's this for?|- Well, that's the Depression.
Price is going down on everything,|including hounds. That's your change.
A whole week.
Hey, Billy. You waited this long.|Few more days ain't gonna hurt.
Now, go stand on your head.
Didn't think hunting dogs|was on the schoolwork schedule, Billy.
I'm sorry, Ma.
I just get so excited,|thinking about having my own little pups.
Now, I need you to promise me|that you'll put your schoolwork first
and you put away|this daydreaming about dogs.
I promise.
Cross your heart?
Cross my heart and hope to die.
My ma was always worried|I was gonna turn out a hillbilly.
and this was just|the sort of behavior that would prove it.
I was in trouble.|But there was no way around it.
My pups might be starving to death|15 miles away in Tahlequah.
and I was never gonna|make it back in time for supper.
Remember the traveler
Bring us safely home
Heavenly father
Remember the traveler
Bring us safely home
Safely home
There was this old wives' tale|that two owl hoots means bad luck.
I was busting to take this shortcut.|so I had a real good listen.
'Course. I missed it.
Who's there?
I'd never been|in a big city before.
and I'd never seen half this stuff|in Grandpa's store, that's for sure.
Anyway. I reckoned|I was fitting in pretty good.
I just needed to find them railway tracks.|'cause I knew where they'd take me.
I look around at all the faces and I see
All the lonely people|looking back at me
Hey, look what we got here.
Rich, poor, don't matter.|we're all the same
Everybody's hungry in a different way
Look at that. Barefoot and all.
But really.|what the world needs now is love
Love and only love
A little help from up above
Are you the-
- Morning. I was wondering-|- Kinda warm out there today, isn't it?
- Yes, sir, sure is.|- Might be fixing to rain, though.
We could use some up where I come from.
Oh, where might that be?
Up the river a ways. About ten,|twelve miles as the crow flies.
You know, I've got a crate back there|making some strange noises,
for a boy who lives up the river.
The name is Billy Coleman.
Yes, sir. That's me.
Come on back here, now. I'll show you.
Well, there they are.
What do you think?
Aren't you gonna pick 'em up?
They already know you.
You're gonna need|a gunny sack to carry them in,
and I've cut a couple of slits|in them so that they won't smother.
- Do I owe you anything?|- Oh, no.
There's a small feed bill, but I'll|take care of that. T'ain't much, anyway.
Well, now, ain't that something?
Well, thanks again.
- Good luck, and good hunting.|- Thanks.
Hey, boy. What's your name?
Billy Coleman.
- How come you ain't wearing no shoes?|- He's one of them hill people.
Think he can feel that?
What you got there?
Don't do that.
I said, don't do that.
So, you want to fight, huh?
Nah. But don't touch my dogs again.
- Beat him up.|- Come on, you can lick him.
He's just a hillbilly.
He's busted my nose!
Grab him.
You're dead meat.
All right, all right.|Break it up. That's it.
- Get up, get up.|- Sheriff.
You boys get on home.|Your parents are going to hear about this.
Go on.
You all right, son?
My dogs.
Here's your dogs.
- Thanks.|- You're welcome.
Come over here and sit down.
Here you go.
There you go.
These are fine-looking dogs.
Where'd you get 'em?
From a dog kennel in Kentucky.
They cost me $40.
You mean to tell me|you paid for 'em yourself?
Yes, sir.
Well, you had to slop a lot of hogs
and cut a lot of cordwood|to get that kind of money together, son.
I sure did.
What's your name?
- I'm Billy Coleman.|- I'm Sheriff O'Donnell.
You any kin to Will Coleman|up the river?
Yes, sir. He's my daddy.
That explains a lot.
Is there a place nearby|that sells things like overalls?
And candy?|Candy with mushy centers?
One of 'em's calling for you.
You cleaned up good.|Good-looking shoes, mm-mmm.
Listen. Let me buy you a soda pop|before you head for home.
Oh, I ain't never had any before.
Well, for one who's just|starting a soda pop habit,
I would suggest strawberry.
Well. that strawberry soda|was about the best thing I'd ever tasted.
I couldn't figure out why anyone'd put|these things on their feet on purpose.
But I had my pups. and them dogs|was already about to bust my heart in two.
I tried not to think about that black cloud|hanging over me when I got home.
Yaa, yaa!
Dan! Ann! Come here.
Well, I'll be.
- Billy.|- Ma, I-
Don't you say a word, Billy Coleman.|You broke a promise to me.
I had to get my pups, Ma.|They might have died.
You never would have let me go.
Turns out it was|Billy Coleman's lucky day.
This here's little Ann, and that's Dan.
Just as I'd hoped.|the sight of me all beat up and sore...
Well. it was too much for her.
Poppa went over the hill looking for you.|Come on home, now.
- Well, Jenny, will you looky here?|- Are those your dogs, Billy?
Did you bring me a treat?
- There you go.|- What about me?
Thanks, Billy.
Here you are.
- They're sure fine hounds, son.|- I figure they'll do.
Here. This is for you, Pa.
Thank you, son.
This is for you, Momma.
Let's open these up.
Oh, well, now.
Will you looky here? And just in time.|These old ones are barely keeping me in,
and the breeze out.
Your momma's|been wanting a new dress.
Looks like there's enough|material there for half a dozen.
You like it, Momma?|The colors are all right?
It's perfect.
Thank you, Billy.
Yeah, thank you, son.|It's mighty thoughtful of you.
- Tell your pa their names.|- Well,
this one is old Dan,|and this one's little Ann.
I'd say that fits 'em both just fine.|What do you say, Jenny?
I think it's about time|this boy has a decent meal.
Go find Dan.
Over here, Dan.
Come on, old Dan. Get it. Get it.
All right. Come here, Dan.
Time for the big test.|You two wait here.
All right, let's go.|Come on. Come on!
Gimme a little more water, son.
Just a little.
That's it.
You know,|Grandpa says in New England
everyone's going crazy|over coonskin coats.
- Is that right?|- So we should be getting a good price.
Well, I'll tell you what.
You can use the side of the smokehouse|wall if you think your hounds can cover it.
It ain't hardly big enough.
It's not, huh?
What are you gonna|do with all that money?
Well... you were always saying|how you could use another mule.
Well, you be careful|with this axe, son.
I put a fine edge on that hatchet.
It's for cutting down trees|with coons in, and that's it.
Yes, sir.
Look at them.|They're sure enough ready to go hunting.
Here's a little something|for when you get hungry.
Don't worry, Momma. I'll be fine.
Yeah, well, put this on.
I just don't understand why|you have to do your hunting at night.
Well, that's when|ringtails are up and about.
Come on, Billy. Better get going.
And good luck, son.
I expect to see a big coonskin on|the smokehouse wall in the morning, OK?
All right. See y'all in the morning.
- Bye, Billy.|- Bye, Billy.
I hope he'll be all right.
What are we going to do|about Uncle Fred's offer?
Oh, it'll take a miracle to get that|$1000 he's asking us to put down.
I mean, Uncle Fred|wants to go back East by springtime.
I suppose I can do some patchwork|and mending and such.
You're working your fingers|to the bone as it is.
Pretty as they are. I sure wish|I could have given you an easier life.
You're doing fine.
I just want my children to be able|to go to school so they can read and write.
And go to church.
I'm ashamed of you, little girl.
You let that ringtail fool you like this,|you'll never be a coonhound.
You either, Dan.
You'll never fool them again.|Not never.
All right.
Now, I made a promise and I'll keep it.
We'll get that coon,|whatever it takes.
Those dogs must have|thought I'd lost my marbles.
Anyone else would have.
I didn't know how I was gonna do it.|but a promise is a promise.
Billy. Billy.
Come on, son.
I couldn't come home.|My dogs put one up a tree.
Oh, that's a big sycamore.
Biggest in the whole river bottom.
There ain't no use cutting down|a tree like this just for one coon.
- Come on, Billy. Let's go home.|- I can't, Poppa.
You can't? Why?
I made a bargain with the dogs.
I told 'em if they|put one up a tree, I'd do the rest.
They done their part.|It's up to me to do mine.
Let me take a look at those hands.
- Does that hurt?|- It's all right.
You gonna cut down a tree like this,|Billy, you need a man-size axe.
- Here are my gloves.|- Thanks, Pa.
And before you swing that axe,|I want you to eat these eggs.
You can share the biscuits|with the hounds. OK?
All right.
Billy, can you handle this?
Yes, Grandpa.
Well, I guess every boy should have a tree|like this to chop down once in his lifetime.
We're gonna have|enough wood for three seasons.
You take care now, all right?
I just can't do it, little girl.
My strength's all gone.
Haven't I done my fair share?
Can't you help me a little?
Come on, Ann. Come on, Dan.
Ma always regretted the cap|she made me out of that first coonhide.
She said after that|I had raccoon on the brain.
Lucky for me. it turns out|the price we were getting for those skins
was turning what|I loved doing most in the world
into a whole lot of money for the family.
Meanwhile. me and my dogs|were getting known in those parts.
on account of bringing in|the most skins to Grandpa's store.
I tell you, I never seen|anything like it in my life.
When that male redbone|grabbed that raccoon by the tail,
he wasn't anywhere nears a tree.
- Is that right?|- That's right.
And last week, we sent|a bundle of furs like you wouldn't believe.
If they're as good as you say they are, you|ought to enter in that fall competition.
Might have a chance to win,|and find out how good they really are.
Oh, they're good. They're good.
- There's the boy now.|- Hey, Billy. How you doing?
Your grandpa's been|bragging up a storm about you, boy.
If you and your redbones|is half as good as he says,
I got a pesky ringtail out there been|getting into my chickens, stealing eggs.
- Could use your help one of these nights.|- Just tell me when.
Anytime this week.|How's Thursday night?
- That should be all right.|- All right. I gotta get going.
- All right. Take it easy.|- Barley's waiting in the field.
All righty.
- We'll see you later.|- All right.
Where's them hounds|we been hearing so much about?
Back home.
- Ma needs a big sack of cornmeal.|- All righty.
Here you go. And here's the Pritchards'.
You boys need anything else?
Uh... gimme two plugs of tobacco.
- Little young for that, ain't you?|- It's for my pa.
Is them hounds of yours really as good|as the old man says they are?
My grandpa doesn't lie. Why?
Well, since you're so sure|of yourself, wanna make a bet?
- No.|- What's the matter? You chicken?
No. I just don't wanna.
Billy, get yourself a peppermint there.
- Sure this is for your pa?|- It's for my pa, all right.
So what-
Now, what do you boys think you're doing?|What do you think you're doing in here?
Get out of my store, right now!
You're gonna have a fine time|explaining this to your pa.
Two plugs of tobacco he never seen.
I better get going.
Remember to tell your folks.|Sunday, supper at my place.
- OK.|- OK.
- Thanks.|- Take care now.
- See you on Sunday.|- OK.
Hey, Billy boy.|How you doing, you chicken?
Come on.
Come on, here we go. Come on.
- Come on!|- What's going on out here?
- Come on.|- Hey, hey!
Can't you Pritchards do|nothing but make trouble?
We ain't looking|to cause trouble. Just bet.
- Bet?|- Bet.
- On what?|- Well, we got a ringtail out near our place
that no dog's been|smart enough to tree yet.
Every time they think|they got him treed, he just disappears.
Twice as big as you ever saw,|and they call him the ghost coon.
We got $5 says yours dog can't tree him.
I know my dogs can tree him,|but we don't hold to betting.
Told you he was too chicken.
Wait there, whoa, whoa, hold it.|You say $5?
- $5.|- Just count Billy in on that.
- Grandpa.|- Now, you just take this. OK?
Hold onto that. You hold onto|your money, he'll hold onto his money.
But Grandpa, you said the Good Book|says a wager's a fool's argument.
The Good Book never had|to deal with no Pritchards.
This better be on the fair and square,|or I'll be talking to your pa.
Oh, it'll be fair. My pa would|beat us to a pulp if he caught us cheating.
'Bout meeting old Billy and his hounds|in our pasture today? Around sunset.
- I'll be there.|- He'll be there.
Don't forget the $5.
- Yeah.|- Hey, hey.
- We're gonna be rich.|- Easiest $5 I'll ever see.
You mean two.|I'm getting three, you know.
It was my idea.
Billy, I have never asked|nothing of no man on earth,
but I am asking you|to get that so-called ghost coon.
All right, all right.|Come here. Come here.
OK, you two. We gotta find this ghost coon|tonight, and show those Pritchards.
Grandpa's counting on us,|you understand?
All right.
Come on. Come on.
Come on, little girl.
This'll hold him. We don't want him|fighting with those cooning dogs.
That's them. Come on.
They got the scent.
Get him, Dan. Come on, let's go.
Attagirl. Come on.
- It's the ghost coon, all right.|- Yep.
He always goes this way. Come on.
Hurry up, Rainie. Let's go.
That's him.|He always finds that tree.
There's no holes up there or nothing.
We've been up there.|He just disappears.
He's gone.
- He's the ghost coon.|- We want our five bucks.
What you doing up there, boy?
He ain't up there. He's gone.
Come on down here and pay up.
That son of a gun.
You were right.
He's gone. He's disappeared.
He's the ghost coon, all right.
It's old Blue.
Look out, Dan.
Hey, get off him.
He's hurt real bad.|I'm gonna get my pa.
I'm kind of homesick
For that country
To which I've never
Been before
No sad goodbyes
Will there be spoken
For time won't matter
Any more
Beulah land
I'm longing for you
And someday
On thee I'll stand
Where my home
Shall be eternal
Beulah land
Sweet Beulah land
Don't go blaming yourself, Billy.
I'm the reason he's dead.
Billy, if anybody's at fault, it's me.
- I'm the one who called those boys' bet.|- It's nobody's fault. It was an accident.
You can stop worrying, Momma,|'cause I ain't never going hunting again.
Come on, now, girls.
Hurry up. Grandpa's waiting.
I have an idea, Jenny, this ain't|just a Sunday dinner we're going to.
Why? Do you think he's got|something else up his sleeve?
Knowing your father,|it could be anything,
especially where Billy's concerned.
All right, Jenny.
- I know you want some more tater pie.|- Thank you, no.
- Uh, Will? You? How about some?|- No, no. I couldn't.
Girls? Huh?
- No thanks, Grandpa. I'm stuffed.|- I'm full, too.
Sarah, did you know|this is your grandma's favorite recipe?
No more, Grandpa.
Now, what are you|trying to do to us, George?
I'll just throw it to the critters, then.
All right, Poppa. What is it?
- What's on your mind?|- Mind? I-
Well, you must have some purpose|for laying out a feed like this.
No, I just wanted Jenny|to get out of the kitchen
and sample some real cooking here.
Poppa, will you stop your teasing?
You've got something|up your sleeve, and what is it?
I don't. I got nothing|up my sleeve, that's a promise.
But, uh...
...I do have a little thing here in my pocket|that might be of interest to you.
Billy, why don't you read that out?
"Ozark championship|coon hunt to be held. "
There you go.
I don't know about y'all,
but I've always been interested|in being in a real coon hunt.
Billy, all you have to do is enter old Dan|and little Ann and we're in the contest.
I told you, Grandpa.
I ain't never going hunting again.
I ain't talking about you entering,|I'm talking about entering the dogs.
Giving them dogs a chance|to prove how good they are.
Best in Oklahoma.
Do you know I made|a record of every coon he treed?
I took it over to J.B. Johnson,|down at the courthouse.
He made some kind|of notary's affidavit, or something like that.
Turns out there ain't a pair of dogs|in this county can hold a candle to his.
- That's enough, now.|- Enough?
Well, they're Billy's dogs. He worked|for 'em. It's gotta be his decision.
Maybe I will have one more|tiny slice of that tater pie.
Then I think I need|to get started on cleaning up the dishes.
Oh, no you don't.|That's Alice and me and Sarah.
We're gonna do that, aren't we, girls?
- I'll wash, and Sarah can dry.|- Maybe I wanna wash.
Maybe Billy and I can take a look at|the pump and see what's causing that leak.
No, Will. No, no. Relax.|Wilkins are coming Tuesday-
I'll do it.
Grandpa's right.
Dan and Ann are the best.
They have the right to prove it.
Well, I think that settles it.
All right, then.
Well, I expected a mess|of people, but nothing like this.
There's those fellers who were|hunting over at our place a while back.
Mr. Bellington.|He won the competition last year.
- He must be here to win again.|- We'll see about that. Right, Billy?
- Afternoon, folks.|- Howdy.
- How you doing?|- Good.
I'm collecting for the pool,|if you're interested. Cash pool.
- Cash pool?|- Uh-huh.
Howdy, Sheriff.
Well, if it isn't the boy|who tried to fight every kid in town.
All at the same time.
Ain't that right?
- Are these the same pups?|- Yes, sir. They sure are.
They sure grew into|some fine-looking dogs.
Ah, thank you.
Pa, Grandpa? This is the sheriff|I told you about, from Tahlequah.
Abe O'Donnell.|I'm pleased to meet you at last.
Will Coleman.|Thank you for looking after my boy.
George Randall.
You said, uh, you said|something about a cash pool?
Oh, yeah. Yeah, each contestant|puts in $5. Make up a cash pool.
Whoever wins, wins it, and the cup.
- $5?|- Now, now wait a minute.
I think we'd better|go along with that, there.
That's like finding money.
That ought to be $5.|Put it in their name, though, if you will.
- Coleman.|- Coleman.
But the point is,|there ain't a pair of hounds out here
that ain't gonna be struggling|to keep up with these two dogs.
That's a promise, there.
Let me have your attention|in here, gentlemen.
All right?
I got a special bulletin.
Carl Brown's dogs have treed the first|coon of this contest, not 20 minutes ago.
And the dogs|are on the trail of another one.
Hate to tell you this, but old Carl may whip|you before you even get a chance to start.
- Hear that, Grandpa?|- Yeah, I heard it.
They almost have two coons already.
Now, don't you start quitting|before you get started here.
I don't know. There's some|mighty fine hounds out there.
Isn't what they're doing, they're just|stirring 'em up for when you get out there.
You're gonna lick 'em, boy.|You're gonna lick 'em good.
- Sounds like they're onto one already.|- Yeah.
- Well, howdy, folks.|- Hey, Mr. Kyle.
- You remember my boy.|- Sure do.
Well, say, them your hounds, son?
Oh, I figured you'd get you some, but boy,|I didn't think that they'd be such fine ones.
- Uh, what line'd you draw?|- Third.
- Say, you're a little unlucky.|- How come unlucky?
Well, our Mr. Bellington|has got his hounds in the best shape ever.
There may not be any ringtails left|by the time you boys get out there.
Mr. Bellington better not start shining up|that award before he gets his hands on it,
I'll tell you that.
These two dogs here|are gonna smell out
every coon from here|to Arkansas and back.
I'm gonna go get a little shuteye, fellas.|Good luck.
He was dead
I rammed my finger down his throat
And I pulled out a chicken head
Fare thee well, old Joe Clark
Fare thee well, I say
Fare thee well, old Joe Clark
Haven't got long to stay
Them's nothing.
- We just got started.|- I can't wait.
All right, all right.
Come on, everybody. Come on.
The eliminations are over.
Finalists are:|no surprise, Hud Bellington.
All right, all right.
Carl Brown.
And our newcomer, Billy Coleman.
Now, we're gonna start at sundown.
And the hounds|that bring in the most coonskins
by sunup tomorrow morning's|gonna win that cup.
Not to mention that cash pool.
Good luck.
- Well, these hounds are raring to go.|- So am I, Kyle. So am I.
Get outta there.
How you doing, boys?
- Howdy.|- Hey, how you doing?
Pretty good.
- Good luck, Mr. Bellington.|- Well, thank you, young man.
Course, I won't be relying on good luck.
I'm gonna be relying on the finest|pair of coonhounds I've ever owned.
Good luck to you. See you.
- Let's go feed these guys.|- Sure thing, Hud.
Come on, Billy.|We got a long night.
Let's get some rest.
- We're in luck.|- How's that, boy?
You know how coons|like to feed before a coming storm.
Lots to feed on in them pools.
- Crawdads and minnows.|- Let's stop here, then.
- OK.|- Whoa.
Come on, let's go, Ann.|Come on.
OK, little girl.|Get ready to go.
- Sounds like they're onto one already.|- Let 'em go, let 'em go.
OK. Go!
- Come on, let's go.|- Yeah!
- Yeah, all right! Come on, let's go.|- Here we go.
Son, are you ready for number two?
Ready as I'll ever be.
Let's get 'em.
- First one. That's the first one.|- Yeah.
Whoa. Whoa!|Ain't this the Coleman buggy?
How they gonna|make it back to camp?
- How did you and Mr. Bellington do?|- Yeah, we got lucky.
We got three of 'em,|before this blasted storm blew in.
That puts you ahead.|Brad and me got skunks.
And the Coleman boy?|He still out there?
He hasn't come in yet. If I know|that boy, he ain't got no quit in him.
Billy. Hold up. Hold up, Billy.
OK, in a storm like this|the coons'll be heading towards the den.
Hope Dan and Ann|tree 'em before they get there.
Hope they're about|as hungry and cold as we are.
- I hear 'em.|- Billy! Hold on, Billy.
Wait a minute.
Hold on, boy.
Sounds like they're up ahead.
Come here!
- They got one.|- Hell, would you believe it?
- All right.|- Yeah.
- There's two.|- Two?
No. No.
- There's three.|- Three coons?
Ain't that something, Grandpa?
- George?|- Grandpa?
- He was right behind me.|- Grandpa.
The dogs can find him.
Son, we better go find your grandpa.|It's getting bad.
The dogs'll stay on that tree|with them coons up there.
Dan, Ann?|You need to understand something.
Grandpa's in trouble,|and we need to help him.
Now, you two are the only ones|who can find him in this here storm,
so you have to forget about the hunt...
...and winning.
Come on, now. Let's go.|Come on, let's go. Come on!
- Come on this way, boy.|- Seems this storm is letting up.
Pa, they can't find him.
Here, smell for Grandpa. Here, smell|for Grandpa. Smell for Grandpa.
Smell. Smell.
They lost him.
Oh, they're onto another coon, now.
They got something.
Go get Billy. Go on.
That's them. They found him.
- George.|- Grandpa.
Grandpa.|Grandpa, are you all right?
- I'm all right, boy.|- Where you hurt?
It's the leg. I think it broke.
OK. Billy, I need...|I need a fair-sized branch, OK?
Is he gonna be all right?
- OK.|- He's gonna be fine.
I'm gonna go for help.|It's starting to let up.
OK. Sorry, Grandpa. I'm sorry.
- We didn't get those coons, though.|- Aw...
- We got Grandpa, though.|- You got no coons?
Hey, Billy. They're about to give|that trophy away. Ain't you gonna come?
I'd rather not, Pa.
Well, if that's the way you feel,|I ain't gonna tell you otherwise.
You're a good man.|You proved it again last night.
Hey, George.|Better late than never.
You know, I think he broke this leg|just to get some attention, don't you?
I bet I could still|beat you in a footrace, Sheriff.
Bet you can.
I think it's safe to say this is|the most exciting hunt I've ever been on.
I'll say amen to that.
All right, everybody. Now we come|to the moment we've all been waiting for.
Presentation of this beautiful cup.
I don't think anybody's gonna be|surprised when I call the winner up here,
'cause this is the fourth year|in a row for this fella.
I declare the winner of the 20th|Annual Coonhound Championship
to be Hud Bellington.
Here you go, sir.|Congratulations.
Thank you, Sheriff.
Thank you, young man. That was|a sportsman-like thing for you to do.
I know how you felt|about winning this cup,
'cause I know how you feel|about your dogs,
and for good reason.
Now, about this trophy.
To be truthful, folks,|I didn't sleep real good last night.
And the reason|I didn't sleep real good is 'cause
I knew that young Coleman's|dogs here treed three coons,
in addition to the one earlier,
which would've given him|four to my dogs' three.
I also know that|he called his dogs off them coons
and abandoned them there|to go find his grandpa.
Now, I know the rul ebook states
that you're supposed to|present the skins to the judges.
But, in all honesty,
I don't want my dogs winning|a championship that wasn't theirs clear.
So I hereby declare|Billy Coleman and his fine redbones
champions and winners|of this beautiful trophy.
Come on up here, son.
There you go.
Take it, son.|You won it fair and square.
But you better be ready to give it back|next year, 'cause me and my Walkers
are gonna beat the britches|off you and these redbones here.
Folks. Folks.
I don't know how you feel right now,|but from where I'm standing, I...
I think Mr. Bellington deserves|a real Oklahoma hand for this here.
Uh... how about this cash pool?
Well, I reckon he won that|fair and square too, Sheriff.
Whoo! Yes, all right.
Billy. Where's your father?
Grandpa hurt his leg a bit.|Pa's fixing him up. He'll be here soon.
What happened?
He just had a little fall.|Pa says he'll be all right.
What is it, Billy?
We won.
- You what?|- We won.
Little Dan and Ann and me,|we won first prize.
Here. This is for you, Ma.
We won the best-looking dogs prize, too.
Or at least, little Ann did.
So we can move to Tulsa.
So you can have your dream, too.
What about you and your dogs, Billy?
We'll be all right.|They can chase cars and squirrels.
I knew our days|on the farm were numbered.
so me and my dogs took to the woods|whenever my schoolwork was done.
It was like we were|drinking up the moonlight while we could.
and we couldn't get enough of it.
Ann, get back. Get back.
Yaa, yaa!
Ann, come back.
Stay, Dan. Stay.
It's OK, Dan.
It's all right.
Good girl. Good girl.
It's all right.
In the days that followed.|we all grieved for old Dan.
It was hard to know|whose heart was broke the most.
Pa, I'm gonna go check on little Ann.
What's wrong, little girl?
You have to eat something.
Sometimes you just know|what's gonna happen,
even if you won't listen|to the voice that tells you so.
And as sure as I knew that winter was|coming and we were moving to Tulsa.
I knew little Ann's heart was broke. and|she didn't want to live without old Dan.
But I wasn't gonna admit it.
and I wasn't gonna|let her go without a fight.
Little Ann.
Little Ann.
Little Ann.
Where is she?
She ain't in the barn, son.|Have you checked in the house?
I looked there already.
I don't understand.
I prayed for both of my dogs.
And now they're both dead.
Your momma said|some prayers, too, Billy,
and 'cause of your dogs|those prayers were answered.
I need to get started.|Little Ann deserves a proper burial box.
Do you think God|made a heaven for dogs?
I'm sure He did, Billy.
I'm sure He did.
If we want to get to Wagoner|by night, we better get going.
We're just about ready.
- You're supposed to sit in the back.|- Uh-uh.
I don't want to hear|any more out of either of you now.
I want you to just sit where|I told you. Here, hold that.
I want to hold Momma's hat.
I want to hold Momma's hat.
That's everything, Pa.
Can I go down the river|just one more time?
All right, son.
Don't linger.
Momma, Poppa.
Come here, hurry.
Ain't that something?
It's a red fern.
It's beautiful.
Maybe the Lord's|trying to tell you something, Billy.
They say only an angel|can plant those seeds.
and whenever that happened|those ferns never died,
and that spot was sacred forever.
I never made it|back to those mountains.
But I can still hear|the wind in the trees,
and the sounds|of my dogs baying at those coons.
rolling over the hills|under the moonlight.
I hope to go back one day.
To stand by the graves|of my dogs in that valley by the river.
where the red fern grows.
There was a time
When they played|for the love of the game
When a soldier gave his life
He knew it wasn't in vain
A time when a father offered
More than just his name
When everybody stood behind
The promises they made
That was somewhere way back when
That's the way the world was then
When "I Love You" meant forever
Up until the very end
Not like the way that things are now
Where the lawyers write the vows
I want the kind of love our parents had
We can learn from them
The ways
The ways of way back when
There was a time when love
Was saved for the wedding day
It's safe to say|that kind of thing don't happen today
It wasn't so long ago
We bowed our heads and prayed
And faith was more than just a word
You heard some preacher say
That was somewhere way back when
That's the way the world was then
I want the kind of love our parents had
We can learn from them
The ways
The ways of way back when
If I could only go back again
To the places where I've been
Feeling love as we did then
If I could only go back
If I could only go back
To live in your heart again
To love and let life begin
To run free as the wind