Gentle Ben (1965) was a touching entente between boy and bear; this time the co-star and catalyst is the Alaska coast--offshore where the salmon run, inland where survival may mean kill or be killed. Brad is the boy, fifteen, alone except for his Malamute dog Mickie. There's an aunt in Seattle waiting to seize him and the fishing couple who take him in and make him feel like family. In the course of his stay with Captain Ed and ""Stampede"" Annie, Brad takes on the responsibility and makes the decisions of a man: helps Annie with the trap line and kills, barehanded, the wolverine who is threatening it; talks his way onto the fishing boat and learns the skills of a seiner; stalks and kills the brown bear who has wounded Annie, tends the house in her place. When Aunt Clara appears, Brad rebels and runs away to Annie--his home is the north. The expectable reconciliation (winter in Seattle, summer in Alaska) is only so much more superimposed plot in a story that works only when Brad is working, especially watching for the leap of salmon in the short season that makes all the difference to the fishermen, or when he is worrying about Mickie, who has more integral character than any of the people. Conventional boy-becomes-man in a very particularized setting.