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The story White Fang begins with two men, Bill and Henry, along with their team of 6 sled dogs on a long journey to deliver a coffin of a deceased Lord to a remote town named Fort McGurry. Although during the trip they have to ward off a pack of starving wolves. The pack devours all of the dogs and Bill, but four more teams find Henry trying to escape them. The wolves knowing the lot of them are outnumbered by the recent arrival of humans they scatter.
The focal point of the story changes to the wolf pack as they’re been raided of its previous prey. After a period of time, the pack takes down a moose, and their famine has ended; the pack splits up, and the story now follows the she-wolf and her mate, One Eye. The she-wolf soon gives birth to a litter of five cubs all but one are slain by hunger. Then One Eye is killed by a lynx while trying to raid her den for food for his family; the she-wolf later discovers his remains near the lynx’s den.
The two are left to fend for themselves and shortly after that, the she-wolf slays the lynx’s kittens to feed her cub. This action prompts the wildcat to track them down to seek revenge only for her to die. The pair of wolves are injured but given a week of food. One day, the cub runs into five people, and the she-wolf comes to his rescue. One of the men, Grey Beaver, recognizes the she-wolf as his brother’s wolfdog, Kiche, who left during a previous famine. Grey Beaver’s brother is dead so he accepts ownership of the two and dubs the cub White Fang.
White Fang’s cubhood at the Indian camp was harsh; the current pack of puppies see him as a wolf an immediately gang up on him. The people of the camp save White Fang, but the pups and their leader never accept him. This treatment causes him to grow to become a savage, morose, solitary, and deadly fighter, ‘the enemy of his kind.’
White Fang is soon separated from his mother and realizes how hard life in the wild is when he runs away from camp. He gains the respect of Grey Beaver when he saves his son Mit-Sah from a group of boys seeking merciless revenge. When White Fang is five years old, he is taken to Fort Yukon, so Grey Beaver can trade with the gold-hunters. Grey Beaver is tricked into getting drunk and selling White Fang to an evil dog-fighter named Beauty Smith.
White Fang defeats all opponents forced against him, including several wolves and a lynx, until a bulldog named Cherokee is brought in to challenge him. Cherokee gains the upper hand in the fight when he grips the skin and fur of White Fang’s neck and begins to suffocate him. White Fang is nearly suffocated but is rescued when a wealthy, young gold hunter, Weedon Scott, prevents the fight and forcefully buys White Fang from Beauty Smith.
After a long time, and many unsuccessful tries, Scott tames White Fang and the now tamed wolfdog grows to love him. When Scott attempts to return to California alone, White Fang pursues him, and Scott decides to allow the dog to join him back home. In Sierra Vista, White Fang struggles to adjust to the laws of the estate. Near the end of the book, White Fang defends the family from an escaped convict but nearly dies in the encounter. After he recovers, the women of Scott’s estate name him ‘The Blessed Wolf.’ The story ends with White Fang relaxing the sun with puppies he fathered with one of the Scott’s dogs, Collie.
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