Notes on Objects & Places from Where the Red Fern Grows

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Where the Red Fern Grows Objects/Places

Snake River Valley: A valley in Idaho, where Billy lives as a grown man. The story opens in this part of the country. It is far from the Ozark Mountains, where Billy grew up as a child with his family and dogs.

cups: The prize cups Old Dan and Little Ann win in the hunting contest. Billy keeps them on his mantel. Old Dan's is big and gold, and Little Ann's is smaller and made of silver. Old Dan's is from the actual hunt, and Little Ann's is from the beauty contest.

coon hounds: A type of dog used for hunting raccoons. This is the only kind of dog Billy wants and he wants two of them. Old Dan and Little Ann, the dogs Billy eventually gets, are coon hounds. Old Dan is bigger and stronger, but Little Ann is smarter. Together, they successfully hunt raccoons and even go on to win a coon hunting contest. Old Dan and Little Ann work together as a team; they look out for each other and Billy. They even save Billy's life. The dogs also give Billy's childhood meaningful memories that he grows to cherish into adulthood.

Ozarks: Where Billy grows up with his family. One of the finest hunting places in the world, the Ozarks are a place of rich, fertile soil where huge red oaks grow. It is not highly populated. The Illinois River runs below the fields where Billy's log house is. The land where Billy lives is Cherokee land, given to his mother because she is part Cherokee. The Ozark mountains are where Billy spends all of his time hunting with his dogs.

steel traps: Traps used for hunting. Papa buys Billy three steel traps and Billy could not be happier. He uses them to catch river coon.

Samie: Billy's cat. Billy catches Samie in his steel traps the first day he uses the traps. It causes a huge commotion in the barn and all of the animals and Billy's sisters howl and yell at the sight. Samie is a very sneaky and nosy cat; he watches Billy's every move and gets caught in the trap numerous times.

ringtail coon: A type of raccoon. Billy is determined to catch this animal, but it is too smart for him. It eats the bait from the traps, springs the triggers, and sometimes turns the traps over altogether. With help from his dogs, Billy is finally able to catch a ringtail coon.

K.C. Baking Powder Can : An old, dirty can Billy finds in the campground where he first finds the magazine with the advertisement for the dogs. He cleans off the can and uses it as a bank to hold the money he saves to buy the dogs.

Tahlequah: The town where Billy picks up his dogs. Billy travels to this big country town by himself on foot. He is taken aback by all of the stores, people, and merchandise in this big town. He has never been to a town like this before. It is here that the schoolchildren make fun of his clothes and call him a 'hillbilly'.

sycamore tree: The tree that Old Dan and Little Ann chased their first coon up. This is the biggest tree in the river bottoms and Billy is sure that he will not be able to chop it down. For days, he chops at the tree. He is in tremendous pain all over, but he will not give up. He says that he owes this to his dogs. Finally, Billy asks God for the strength to chop the tree down. It falls and the coon gets out of the tree. Old Dan and Little Ann then go on to catch their first coon.

ghost coon: Coon that lives upriver in the part of the country where the Pritchard boys live. The Pritchard boys bet Billy that his dogs cannot catch the old coon that has been running around the country for years.

blue tick hound: The Pritchard boys' dog. He is straggly, mean, and dirty, just like the Pritchard boys. When Billy and the Pritchard boys are out hunting for the ghost coon, this dog shows up. Old Dan and the Pritchard dog get into a bad fight. Little Ann jumps in to help Old Dan and they end up badly hurting the blue tick hound.

mountain lion: This is the animal that ultimately kills Old Dan. The lion tears Old Dan to shreds. No matter how much Billy does to doctor Old Dan, it is of no use. His wounds from the lion are too deep and he eventually dies.

red fern: Just as Billy is about to leave the Ozarks, he goes to see his dogs' graves one more time. Growing in between Old Dan and Little Ann's mounds is a beautiful red fern. Billy is in shock as he recalls the old Indian legend about the red fern. The legend is about a little girl and a little boy who get lost in a blizzard and freeze to death. In the spring, when their bodies were found, a red fern had sprung up between them. The seeds can only be planted by an angel and once they are planted, the red fern will never die.

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