The Call of the Wild is one of Jack London's most popular novels. The story follows a dog named Buck, a 140 pound Saint Bernard and Scotch Shepherd mix. Buck is abducted from a comfortable life as a pet and tossed into the chaos of the Klondike Gold Rush and the brutal realities of frontier life. Buck changes hands a number of times before landing in the kindly hands of John Thornton. For teachers and students, we offer our Study Guide.
Thornton takes ownership of Buck from a trio of ignorant stampeders, intent upon making a dangerous river crossing. Buck refuses to cross, despite a vicious beating. Thornton recognizes the dog's intelligence and strength. He steps in to claim the dog and nurses Buck back to health. But Buck is forever changed by the treatment he has received at the hands of other men.
Jack London spent a year living in the Yukon and drew heavily upon his experiences there while writing the book. He later said, "It was in the Klondike that I found myself."