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.


Norman Tokar


Wilson Rawls (based on the novel "Where The Red Fern Grows" as written and told by), Douglas C. Stewart (screenplay) | 2 more credits »





Cast overview, first billed only:
James Whitmore ... Grandpa
Beverly Garland ... Mother
Jack Ging ... Father
Lonny Chapman ... Sheriff
Stewart Petersen ... Billy
Jill Clark Jill Clark ... Alice
Jeanna Wilson Jeanna Wilson ... Sara
Bill Thurman ... Sam Bellington
Bill Dunbar Bill Dunbar ... Ben Kyle
Rex Corley Rex Corley ... Rubin Pritchard
John Lindsey John Lindsey ... Rainie Pritchard
Garland McKinney Garland McKinney ... Mr. Pritchard
Robert S. Telford Robert S. Telford ... Station Master (as Robert Telford)
Charles Seat Charles Seat ... Carl Brown
Roger Pancake Roger Pancake ... Shopkeeper


Where the Red Fern Grows is a great book about the adventurous story a young boy and his dream 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 story 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, and more.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A True Story of a Boy and His Dogs See more »


Drama | Family


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


You can visit the waterfall that was in the movie. Natural Falls State Park is located in West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma. See more »


Incorrectly regarded as goofs: instances of the boom mic being visible are a result of the home video transfer. The film was shot "open matte" and cropped to an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, however in subsequent video releases, the entire 1.33:1 frame is shown. See more »


Billy: Grandpa says, in New England, everyone's going crazy over coon skin coats
Father: That right?
Billy: So we should be gettin' a good price.
Father: I'll tell you what. I'll let you have one whole wall of that smokehouse if you think you and them dogs can cover it.
Billy: It's not hardly big enough, is it?
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Alternate Versions

The theatrical version does not feature a fade out before the end credits. All subsequent home media versions have "The End" with a brief fade to black before the end credits. See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Saddest Animal Deaths in Movies (2014) See more »


Gone Away
Written by The Osmonds
Sung by Andy Williams
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User Reviews

The best coon hunting dogs in the world
18 February 2017 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Set in the Depression Era Ozark country, the Coleman family has it pretty tough as most did in those years. But they are a wholesome lot without getting too sticky sentimental. The parents are Jack Ging and Beverly Garland and their oldest Stewart Petersen a slightly pre- pubescent adolescent has only one thing in mind. He's a country kid who has his heart set on getting and training a pair of hunting dogs for coon hunting and on the advice of his grandfather James Whitmore works like a dog to get the money to buy a pair of puppies to train.

Coon hunting is both a profession and a labor of love for those who get into it. We see young Petersen train his canines to be the best. But it comes at a tragic price.

Where The Red Fern grows is a fine family film that most likely never played in the cosmopolitan east during its release. Stewart Petersen was a Mormon Kid who did a bunch of these of varying quality during the 70s. He comes across as a real and not a Hollywood kid and he gets good support from the veteran cast. Note the Osmonds as producers. Petersen did films for the LDS church itself as well as other family features in the 70s.

Where The Red Fern Grows holds up well today. Dig the Quo Vadis type ending which explains about the significance of the Red Fern.

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Release Date:

21 June 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Where the Red Fern Grows See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Doty-Dayton Production See more »
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