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Chapter Six - Part Three

It is not long before Thornton's fears are realized. The group is in Circle City, when a man named Black Barton picks a fight with another man at the bar, and Thornton steps in to separate the two. Buck, intently watching his master as usual, immediately jumps on Black. The other people in the bar describe the noise that emerges from Buck as a roar, and the dog leaps for the man's throat. He is stopped by Black's outstretched arms, but pushes the man to the ground and lands on top of him. He tears open the man's arm, and then his throat, before the crowd manages to pull him off Black. He paces, staring, while a surgeon checks the wounds. He attempts to go at Black a few more times, but is held back in each instance. The group decides that Buck had sufficient reason to attack the man, so he is not punished. His reputation, however, is firmly established.
During that fall, he saves John Thornton's life again, though in a different manner. The three men are fighting their way through a nasty set of rapids, with Hans and Pete on the shore with ropes and Thornton manning the boat. A nervous Buck paces on shore, anxiously watching his master's every move. At one point, Hans accidentally pulls the rope too suddenly, the boat overturns, and Thornton is thrown out. He is carried downstream toward the worst part of the rapids, an area where no one could survive. Buck acts instantaneously, leaping into the water and swimming to his master's aid. As soon as he feels Thornton's grip on his tail, he heads for the bank with all his strength. They make their way toward the bank, but progress is slow, and their travel toward the rapids is much faster. The roar of the water fills the air; the power of the suck grips Buck and his master with all its might. The shore proves equally perilous, a fact that Thornton realizes as he scrapes over several rocks. Finally, he crashes against a rock and is able to hold on. Buck, meanwhile, continues to be swept downstream. Thornton calls out to him repeatedly, and the shouts keep Buck going. He keeps his head high, and, just in time, manages to make it close to shore, where Hans and Pete pull him in. Next, they turn their attentions back to Thornton, who is clinging perilously to the rock. Hans and Pete attach a rope around Buck and send him back into the churning water. The dog accidentally ends up too far downstream, so the men drag him back to shore, where Buck arrives half-drown. Hans and Pete throw themselves on him, pounding the life back into him. Buck staggers to his feet, but falls down. He hears the faint sound of his master calling to him, and the words have an electric effect on the dog. Buck springs back to life, runs farther up the shore, and leaps into the rapids. Again, he heads toward his master with a rope tied around his waist. This time, however, he does not miscalculate. He runs right up to Thornton, who wraps his tired arms around his dog. Hans tugs at the rope, which pulls the duo under water. Banging against rocks, scraping against the bottom, and nearly drowning, Buck and his master are pulled to shore.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapter One - Part One
Chapter One - Part Two
Chapter Two - Part One
Chapter Two - Part Two
Chapter Three - Part One
Chapter Three - Part Two
Chapter Four - Part One
Chapter Four - Part Two
Chapter Five - Part One
Chapter Five - Part Two
Chapter Five - Part Three
Chapter Five - Part Four
Chapter Six - Part One
Chapter Six - Part Two
Chapter Six - Part Three
Chapter Six - Part Four
Chapter Seven - Part One
Chapter Seven - Part Two
Chapter Seven - Part Three
Chapter Seven - Part Four


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