In Call of the Wild, what is Buck's motivation for protesting for an hour?
Following Buck's victory to the death over Spitz, Francois and Perrault were still not ready to make Buck the leader of the team. When they attempted to put Sol-leks into the harness, Buck attacked him repeatedly. Francois dragged Buck from the front, but he only tried to return. When Francois picked up the club, Buck knew better than to be hit, so he kept his distance, circling so as not to be caught. After Francois and Perrault harnessed all of the other dogs, Buck still refused to be placed in his old place in front of Dave. Buck was "in open revolt." He would accept no other spot but in the front where Spitz had been.
He wanted, not to escape a clubbing, but to have the leadership. It was his by right. He had earned it, and he would not be content with less.
Even after Perrault joined in, the two men could not catch Buck. After more than an hour, they finally gave up, resigned to their fate, and they placed Buck in the lead harness, where he eventually became an even greater leader than Spitz.