Fangs of the Wild


1h 11m 1954

Brief Synopsis

Tad Summers (Freddie Ridgeway), son of mountain lodge owner Jim Summers (Onslow Stevens), sees Roger Wharton (Charles Chaplin Jr.) kill his supposed best friend. Tad tells his father, who doesn't believe him, but Linda Wharton (Margia Dean), Roger's wife, does and taunts him into a confession. Roger sets out to get rid of the boy.

Film Details

Also Known As
Follow the Hunter, My Dog Shep
Release Date
Apr 2, 1954
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 5 Mar 1954
Production Company
Lippert Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Lippert Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Big Bear, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 11m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
6,480ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

Jim Summers operates a hunting lodge in a California mountain area where he lives with his young son Tad and handyman Mac. Tad has a vivid imagination, fueled by fictitious accounts of events in Mac's life, and consequently, Jim is constantly admonishing Tad to tell the truth. On a walk through the forest with his dog Shep, Tad sees two hunters who are staying at the lodge, and becomes alarmed when he sees one of the men, Roger Wharton, deliberately shoot his friend, Dick Matson, in the back. Intending to claim that the murder was an accident, Wharton removes Matson's bright, regulation jacket, in order to hide it. When Shep attacks Wharton, Wharton clubs the dog with his rifle. After Tad runs back to the lodge and convinces his father that what he saw was real, Jim, Mac and Tad head into the woods, but are met by a distraught Wharton, who tells them that he has accidentally killed his friend. Later, Deputy Sheriff Ridgeway takes custody of the body and reports that Shep will recover. Wharton tells Ridgeway that when he saw something moving in bushes, he shot at it, not realizing he was firing at his friend. Wharton states that he was confused because Matson was not wearing his regulation, red hunting jacket. Ridgeway informs Wharton that he will have to remain at the lodge for a few days until the coroner's inquest. When Ridgeway leaves the cabin, Wharton takes a red jacket, identical to Matson's, from a suitcase. Losing patience with Tad's insistence that Matson was wearing a red jacket at the time of the shooting, Jim shows him the jacket that Wharton planted in Matson's cabin. Tad says that the jacket should have a bullet hole in it, but there is none. Later, Linda Wharton, Roger's wife, arrives at the lodge, having heard about the accident on a radio news report. Linda doubts that the killing was accidental and after Mac tells her that Tad claims to have witnessed the shooting, tries to befriend the boy, but Tad wants nothing to do with her because her husband hurt Shep. Later, as Shep recovers, Jim, who has ordered that the dog be tied up, allows Tad to walk Shep on a leash. Jim inadvertently tells Wharton Tad's tale about witnessing the shooting, forcing Tad to lie to potect himself. Linda again tries to befriend Tad, by telling him that she does not believe that Matson's death was an accident. After Tad tells Linda about the missing jacket, she suggests that it may be hidden near the crime scene. When Linda challenges her husband to deny that he knew that she was in love with Matson and accuses him of deliberately murdering her lover, Wharton reminds her that wives cannot testify against their husbands. She then impulsively blurts out that Tad can testify against him and has gone with Shep to look for the jacket as proof of his guilt. After Wharton takes his rifle and goes after Tad, Linda tries to find Jim and Mac to warn them. As Mac and Jim chop wood deep in the forest, Mac tells Jim that Linda has confided to Tad that her husband had a motive for murder, and Jim realizes that Tad might be telling the truth. After Shep finds the buried jacket and digs it up, Wharton approaches causing Tad and Shep to run off. Upon finding Jim and Mac, Linda tells them that Wharton killed Matson and that he is now stalking Tad. As Wharton pursues Tad, Tad fires his rifle at Wharton and then loses it while scaling a rock. Jim, searching for Wharton and Tad, is alerted by the shots and heads for the area, finding the jacket along the way. Tad and Shep try to hide in a small mountain shed, but are trapped after Wharton discovers them. Wharton is about to shoot Tad, when Shep leaps at him and sinks his fangs into the killer's arm. From a distance, Jim sees Wharton and Shep struggle on top of a towering rock. Shep forces Wharton off the rock, sending him falling to his death. After Jim joins Tad and Shep, he tells his son that he now realizes that he has been telling the truth.

Film Details

Also Known As
Follow the Hunter, My Dog Shep
Release Date
Apr 2, 1954
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 5 Mar 1954
Production Company
Lippert Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Lippert Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Big Bear, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 11m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
6,480ft (8 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The print viewed had the film's TV release title, Follow the Hunter. The film's working title was My Dog Shep. According to Lippert publicity, "Buck," who plays "Shep," was half collie, half German shepherd. The film was shot in Big Bear, CA.