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The Call of the Wild

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First edition cover

The Call of the Wild is an animal adventure novel written by Jack London. It was published in 1903. It tells the story of Buck, a large, strong pet dog living on a plush estate in California's Napa Valley. He is stolen and sold as a sled dog to Yukon gold miners.

Buck experiences great misery, exploitation, and hardship in the Yukon. He finally acquires a kind master named Thornton, who is killed by Indians. Buck kills the Indians. He forgets his civilized ways, and returns to the wild. Every year though, he returns to the site of Thornton's grave.

The story was first serialized in the Saturday Evening Post in the summer of 1903. It was soon released in book form. The novel’s great popularity and success made London's reputation as a writer and as a man's man. He followed this novel with another animal tale, White Fang.

The Call of the Wild was first adapted to movies in 1923. The 1935 version, starring Clark Gable and Loretta Young, expanded Thornton's role and was the first "talkie" to feature the story. The 1972 The Call of the Wild starred Charlton Heston as Thornton and was made in Finland.

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