This is the 1974 movie rendition of a children's novel written by Wilson Rawls. It is about a boy who raises two coon hound hunting dogs during the 1930's in the Ozark Mountains.
There is a wealth of character development here for a young boy. I especially enjoyed watching the father guide his son into manhood.
Additionally, it is a good movie to prepare young children for the sorrow in life, yet, provides hope in the midst of it. The two coon dogs meet a mountain lion and both dogs die. When the family moves, the boy is discovered at the graves of his beloved dogs, saying good-bye. He notices a red fern growing between the dog's graves. According to Indian legend, only an angel can plant a red fern and wherever it grows is sacred. With this sign, Billy is finally able to recover from his loss.
It reminded me of how there is always a glimmer of hope no matter how bad life gets. I like that concept being passed along to my children.
We will read the book in a couple of years but head's up: Walmart has the 1974 version of the DVD for 5 bucks. There have been a few remakes since then.