Billy Coleman (Joseph Ashton) is a young farm boy growing up in the Ozark Hills of Oklahoma. Like most farm families in the 1930's, they are struggling just to survive.
They make their home on a remote plot of land that was handed down through generations. Though Billy's mother (Renee Faia) loves the farm but she dreams of moving to the city so that her children can be properly educated. Billy only dreams of having a hunting dog of his very own. Billy's dream is a remote possibility as good hunting dogs cost good money. Money the family does not have.
One day Grandpa Coleman (Dabney Coleman) calls Billy to his general store. A neighboring farmer has asked Grandpa to sell a nice Blue Tick hound for $35.00. The boy is none too happy when two mean spirited boys (Andrew & Stewart Dickison) end up with the puppy. This creates a little competition later on.
It also gives Grandpa the opportunity for a talk with Billy. He tells him that is he wants something he needs to work hard for it. Billy takes his advice and begins taking every odd job he can find. Soon he has a tidy sum of money saved. Not enough for one puppy but for two! With the help of Grandpa, he orders a couple of fine Red Bone hounds.
The day arrives when Billy is called to the store. He is disappointed to find a claim check instead of his new dogs. It seems that they have arrived in Tahlequah and are waiting at the train station for retrieval. What a dilemma! Billy hasn't told his parents about the purchase and has no way to get there except on foot. He decided to make the journey alone and secretly.
He meets many perils along the way including a man with a shotgun, a gang of bullies and a nasty panther. He also meets a nice sheriff (Ned Beatty) and has his first taste of strawberry soda. Everything is well worth it when he sees his new puppies come tumbling out of the crate. They are beautiful! He picks up a few token peace offerings for his family and then heads for home.
His parents are really happy to see him and totally surprised with the puppies. Their minor annoyance becomes pride as the pups grow into fine hunting hounds. Hunts become more fruitful. They are soon making good money selling raccoon hides. Word gets around that Billy's dogs are some of the best hunters around. This prompts folks to invite him and the dogs to the annual coon hunt.
With reluctance, the family agrees. Grandpa Coleman, Billy's dad (Dave Matthews) and Billy load up the dogs and head out. They don't hold out much hope for winning as the same gentleman has won the competition several years in a row. When they get their they find not just a trophy at stake but a nice cash prize pot waiting to be had. They also bump into that nice sheriff who tags along with them during the hunt.
The previous winner sets out first and ends up with several raccoons right away. Billy an his team set out but the weather is beginning to turn foul. The champion gives it up and returns to camp. Billy and his dogs press on even though the storm is growing. He gets one then two but wait....there are several coons in one tree. He is so excited that he calls to Grandpa to hurry up and see. Grandpa does not answer. The other party members then realize that Grandpa has gone missing in the driving rain. The boy decides that he must send the dogs to look for Grandpa and save his life. He does this knowing that his chance at the prize with disappear.
Grandpa is found with a broken leg and they return him to camp. Time has run out for hunting and they tally up their catches. Where will Billy and his Red Bone hounds stand?
This report prepared by Talea