"Dog Jack" is the story of a slave boy and his dog who escape the master's plantation, join the union army, and have to face their former master on the battlefield. The story is inspired by...
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"Dog Jack" is the story of a slave boy and his dog who escape the master's plantation, join the union army, and have to face their former master on the battlefield. The story is inspired by the historical true-life adventures of the beloved mascot of the Pennsylvania 102nd, who was so prized by his regiment for his skills in battle that he was twice exchanged for a Confederate prisoner of war. Written by
When Jed leaves the Union lines to go after Jack, in the shots from behind him he is carrying a full-length rifle, and in the shots from in front, he is carrying a much shorter carbine with more of the barrel and ramrod sticking out from the stock. See more »
In this fact-based film which is still considered fictional in the closing credits, Jed is a young slave at the beginning of the Civil War. Louis Gossett narrates the story from the point of view of Jed as an adult. Jed's best friend is his dog Jack.
Jed is owned by General Cooper but actually works for the general's son Kyle, who has taught him to fight hoping that they will be able to serve together in the war. Jed's knowledge proves valuable later.
Several slaves run away but are found and punished. While training in the woods, Jed and Kyle find a wounded Yankee soldier Nathaniel and bring him back to the general's place so Jed's father can take care of him. For this Jed's father is severely punished, and Jed runs away. Nathaniel has given him a letter to give to his father Rev. Stewart in Pittsburgh. The pastor hasn't spoken to his son in years and strongly opposes the war, though he will help slaves. Given directions on how to get to Pittsburgh, Jed makes the trip with the dog but is pursued by men who want the money they will get for returning Jed; it is federal law that runaway slaves be returned, even in areas without slavery. When Jed goes inside Rev. Stewart's church, the pastor refuses to let the men have Jed, and he provides the young man shelter. Jed does not give the pastor the letter, because the pastor indicates he has no desire to reconcile with his son.
Jed and Rev. Stewart both sign up for service in the Union Army. The pastor does this to keep an eye on Jed but also to act as a chaplain for the medical corps. With the attitude that blacks aren't as good as whites, Jed finds military service more difficult than he expected, but with the training he received from Kyle, he performs admirably and is soon accepted. Casey, a veteran of the Mexican War, gives Jed the additional training and support he needs. The dog also makes a contribution to the war effort.
Jed and Rev. Stewart both face numerous ethical dilemmas, and Jed finds his life in danger several times.
As expected, Kyle and his father both end up serving in the war.
This is a good movie. Most of the leading actors do a good job. Jed is portrayed as quite intelligent and determined, and he overcomes a lot of prejudice to show he is a man and equal to others.
Being a war movie, this does have violence, but most of the violence is unrelated to the war. The cruelty of white people toward slaves is the worst part, but it is not graphic. As for the war itself, we see the unfortunate decisions that have to be made in combat situations, and both sides of moral issues. We are also reminded of what a terrible thing slavery was.
There is also good music. Songs performed by slaves are the best. There is also church music sung by white people, who don't sound professional, though overall they sound good. They are supposed to be soldiers, not singers, and so what if they aren't together or all on key?
It is a worthy effort.
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