Dog Beck, born from St. Bernard and the Scottish Shepherd, did not read the newspapers and did not know that thousands of people rushed to the North in search of gold, and therefore now they need large breed dogs suitable for hard work. Back lived in the mansion of Judge Miller, warmed himself by the fireplace near the master’s feet, went with his sons to hunt, played with the grandchildren of the judge. So the life of the dog proceeded, until the gardener, a passionate lottery player with a small salary, sold the gullible Back to the man at the station.
Never had people treated Bac so cruelly. First the rope is on the neck, then the cage. The dog passed from hand to hand, did not eat or drink for two days. When he is released by a man in a red sweater, Beck brings his rage down on him, but the man reflects the attack of the dog with a baton. Beck is defeated, he realizes it. The dog obeys the new master, but does not flock to it, like other dogs brought.
Back bought Perrault and Francois’s half-breed for transporting government mail. They turned out to be just and calm people, dogs were punished only for their faults.
II. The Law of Cudgels and Fangs
“The first day on the beach in Daiya seemed to Beck a horrible nightmare.” The local dogs fought like real wolves. The way the leader Spitz tore the good-natured Newfoundland became for Beck a harsh lesson. “So this is life, there is no place for honesty and justice in
Back together with other dogs harnessed to sledge. If the dog was knocked off his feet, Dave or Spitz bit his teeth, and Francois sought order by a scourge. Beck quickly learns everything. The work is hard, but the dog does not feel disgust for her. He notes how the sullen dogs Dave and Sollex changed in harness, it seemed, “this work was the highest expression of their being.”
Dogs work hard and are very tired. Beck learns another lesson: one must eat quickly, otherwise other dogs will rip out the ration, and he will remain hungry. Back also learned to steal food and remain unpunished. He is wild. It revives the past of its forgotten ancestors.
III. The primitive beast triumphed
Back does not hurt Spitz the first, but the opponent constantly provokes him to fight. Once Spitz takes a hole dug by Beck in the snow. “The beast spoke in it.” He rushed to Spitz with anger, unexpected for both of them. ” But the battle is interrupted by a hundred hungry dogs, smelling the smell of food and attacking the camp. Between the driving and arriving dogs the fight starts.
Beck becomes a cunning, power-hungry dog, striving for primacy. He wants to become a leader and undermines Spitz’s authority in harness. Only Dave and Sollex remain calm and still work together smoothly.
Somehow one dog misses a hare, and the whole pack rushes in pursuit. In Back awake primitive instincts, he runs ahead of everyone. Sly Spitz runs across the hare and, first overtaking him, sticks his teeth into the back of the animal. “Beck felt that a decisive moment had come that this fight would not be for life, but for death.” The advantage is clearly on the side of Spitz: he manages to bite Back and deftly rebound. All attacks of bloodied Beck are unsuccessful. At the last moment he changes the maneuver: by deceiving the opponent, Beck gnaws at Spitz two paws. The enemy is defeated.
VI. Who won in the struggle for primacy
The next morning François discovers that Spitz does not. After examining Back’s wounds, he understands what happened: “Is not it true that there are two devils in this Back?” Now the fight is over, think Perrault and Francois. The dog tries to get the leader’s place from François. He quickly subjugates everyone else. Dogs make a record run.
Dogs are sold to a half-blooded Scot. Now they are working day after day, pulling sleds with heavy luggage. Back does not miss his homeland. The instincts spoke with authority. When Beck is resting by the fire, he does not see modern people. Before him appears the image of a short-legged man with long arms. “His hair was long and shaky, the skull skewed from the very eyes to the crown… He was almost naked – only on his back dangling skin, torn and warped by fire.”
V. Transactions and burdens of the road
The host with Beck’s team arrives in Skagway. “The dogs were exhausted and exhausted completely.” Dogs sell Americans to Charles and Hel. With them was a woman – Mercedes, Charles’s wife and sister Hal, a capricious, pampered beauty. These three are absolutely not adapted to the conditions of the North. They have unbearable luggage on sledges for dogs, they do not know how to handle animals, in addition they do not listen to the advice of experienced people. In the way, food for dogs quickly ends, seekers slowly advance, often quarrel. Dogs die from exhaustion and hunger one by one. “So they reached the parking lot of John Thornton at the mouth of the White River.” Thornton explains that it’s already spring, the ice is about to move, and travelers should not go any further – it’s very dangerous. But they do not listen to him. Hal lashes the scourge of dogs to make them go. Only Beck does not move and makes no attempt to get up, which leads Hal to fury. The guy takes the club. John stands up for Beck’s defense, there is a fight between Thornton and Hal, and the guy backs off. Back stays with his defender.
The sledges descend on the river ice. But soon a section of ice under them settles, and people and dogs hide under water.
VI. For the love of man
Thornton takes care of the dog. For the first time Beck “recognized love, true love and passionate.” He had never loved anyone in the house of Justice Miller… only John Thornton was destined to awaken in him an ardent love, a love-adoration, passionate to madness. ” Thornton took care of the dogs, “like a father about children,” that was his nature. “
Returning companions John, Hans and Pete, the dog condescendingly tolerates because of his master, “as if out of grace”, accepts their courtesies. Watching Beck’s devotion, Pete once said to John: “Yes, I would not want to be in the place of a man who will try to touch you with him.”
Pete was right. Once in the bar, John tried to stop the quarrel, but one of the participants hit him. Beck immediately attacked the offender, having had time to bite his neck. In the autumn of the same year, Beck rescues Thornton. John’s boat overturned, “Thornton carried away the current to the most dangerous place of the rapids, where every swimmer was threatened with death.” But Beck, tied up by a rope Pete and Hans, pulls out the owner.
In the winter in Dawson, Beck brings John a thousand six hundred dollars. The bet was that the dog would take a thousand pounds and go a hundred yards. And Beck did it.
VII. The call is heard
Thornton and his comrades go in search of gold to the east. After long wanderings people find “a surface placer in a wide valley… Here they for a day washed on thousands of dollars of pure golden sand and nuggets, and worked every day.”
One night, Beck hears a call – a long howl. “Back he seemed familiar – yes, he had heard it once!” In the open glade the dog sees a skinny wolf. The wolf ran away from Beck for a long time, but realizing that the dog does not threaten him, he ceases to be afraid. They snoop in a friendly way.
“Beck was in wild ecstasy.” Now he knew that he was running alongside his forest brother exactly to where the imperious call that he had heard in his sleep and in reality was. ” In the afternoon the dog remembered Thornton and returned to the camp.
But the call continued to sound more insistent in his ears. At the river he bites a bear. He craved a large booty, and soon he manages to beat off the old leader of the moose from the herd. Back baited the moose for several days until he weakened. The dog remembers John Thornton and rushes back to the camp. “Along the way, Beck felt stronger and stronger around something new, alarming.” Near the camp, he finds John’s dead dogs and the dead Hans and Pete. Around the hut dance Ichthy. “Beck had lost his head, and his fault was his great love for John Thornton.” The dog, like a living hurricane, flew at the Ichi, “mad with thirst for revenge.” He bites the Indians’ throats and tears them apart. Ichthy rush to flee in horror.
John Beck did not find the body, the traces of his struggle led to the pond and there they broke off. “John Thornton died.” The last tie was torn, people with their demands and rights no longer existed for Beck. ” He is adjacent to the wolf pack.