Synopsis by Mark Deming
The third screen version of Jack London's classic adventure story was also the first with sound, and it toyed with the original story a bit to add a love interest for leading man Clark Gable. Jack Thornton (Gable) is a would-be prospector who has headed to Alaska hoping to cash in on the gold rush. However, he loses most of his stake in a poker game and instead ends up buying a Saint Bernard named Buck. He's able to pick up Buck for a song because he's too ill-tempered to pull a sled; Smith (Reginald Owen), Buck's former owner, treated him with cruelty and the dog mangled Smith's hand in retaliation. Jack loves the dog, though, and treats him with care and kindness. Buck bonds with Jack and soon becomes a loyal companion and a good sled dog. Angry and astounded, Smith bets Jack that Buck can't pull a half-ton sled 100 yards; while the old Buck would never have done it, with Jack's urging the dog manages the feat and Jack now has the funds to set out with his friend Shorty (Jack Oakie) to stake their claim. While searching for gold, Jack and Shorty discover Claire Blake (Loretta Young), the wife of a miner who abandoned her to look for a fresh vein of gold. A warmth grows between Claire and Jack in the frozen North, but Jack is forced to help her husband when he runs afoul of thieves trying to steal his claim. Six more films based on The Call of the Wild would follow this to the screen.
animal, rescue, animal-rescue, battle [war], cabin, canoe, claim, death, dog, expedition, food, gambling, gold, gold-rush, hardships, havoc, hunting, husband, identity, jokes, love, master [expert], mine, prospector, romance, snow, struggle, unconscious, wager, wild [undomesticated], Winter