“You can’t know life unless you know death; it’s all part of one thing.”
and the story nicely ambles through an unconventional tale of a boy and his beloved animal — akin to, but less sentimental than, The Yearling (1946).
Steinbeck fills his screenplay with unexpected characters and twists; we never really understand what makes Strudwick tick the way he does, but the point is that his son’s development and coming of age will continue regardless, assisted by the other influential men in his household. Ultimately, this is a story about a young boy learning to make some sort of peace with the challenges of life, which range from schoolmates teasing him to accepting the limits of human intervention in animals’ well-being.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: