Set in the late 1860s in Texas, the story is about Travis and his best friend, his dog, Old Yeller. When his father leaves for a cattle drive, he puts Travis in charge of the ranch, his mother, and his younger brother, Arliss. Old Yeller helps the family survive many close calls. She remains loyal to the family until she is bitten by a rabid wolf and dies. But she leaves behind puppies, which step in to take her place.