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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard tells the story of a young man named Danny, who lives in the wilderness of the Wintapi forest with his father, Ross. They live a subsistence life trapping, fishing, and hunting near their cabin, which is located on the land of a wealthy man named Mr. Haggin. Danny visits Mr. Haggin to tell him that an old bear, known as Old Majesty, killed one of his bulls. While visiting Mr. Haggin, Danny meets Big Red, an Irish Setter, and an immediate connection is established. Mr. Haggin is cognizant of the relationship and puts Danny in charge of the dog, along with his dog trainer, Mr. Farley. The plot of the story chronicles Danny’s trips to dog shows with Big Red, which is a new adventure for him since the dogs that Ross and Danny keep at the cabin are purely hunting dogs. Eventually, Red goes to live with Ross and Danny. Danny attempts to make the Irish Setter into a partridge dog. The story chronicles their experiences with wild animals and life in the wilderness. Danny tries to teach Red wilderness skills while keeping him fit for the dog shows. Difficulties arise when Big Red reverts to his natural instincts as a hunting dog when confronted with a wolverine bringing intrigue and excitement to the story.

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