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The three main characters of Fred Gipson's enduring novel, Old Yeller, are members of the Coates family: Travis, the young boy who comes to love Old Yeller; his little brother, Arliss; and the title character, Old Yeller.
Travis is fourteen years old, and he serves as the "man of the house" while is father is on a cattle drive. Travis is proud and confident of his new responsibility of tending to the farm while his father is gone. He must also look after the five-year-old, Arliss. Old Yeller, an ugly yellow dog, arrives on the farm the same day as the father leaves. Travis immediately hates the dog, in part because he is still grieving from the loss of his old dog, Bell. But Arliss loves the new dog, and they become immediate playmates. Old Yeller eventually proves his worth, saving Arliss from a bear and Travis from wild hogs.
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