The same successful blend of realism and adventure that distinguished Riverboy and Meoneyed Hound manifests itself in the story of a young Southern mountain boy's love an ugly old hound appropriately named Outcast. The hound's devotion to Caleb takes the form of expert small animal hunting and is forever ingrained when Outcast risks his life to save his master's in a battle with a rattler. At the height of their relationship Outcast is unjustly and tragically shot for supposedly harming a neighbor's sheep, a serious offense in these parts. Caleb's resentment against the real sheep killer, another animal, is not so entrenched as to allow him to watch the animal die, and so he saves the monster and discovers his own ""streak"" of goodness. This, rather than the new pup he receives is the redeeming human factor.Flavorful dialect enriches an already colorful regional flavor but it is the author's sensitivity to man and beast alike that makes this outstanding reading.