Walt Disney’s “Old Yeller” is the boy-and-his-dog story by which all others are judged. When his father accepts a job on a long-distance cattle drive, teenage Travis Coates is forced to run the family ranch with his mother and younger brother. The arrival of a stray mutt in the cornfield seems like a problem at first, but before long the dog sets him on a journey to adulthood that’s as thoughtful as it is heartbreaking. Yeller (so named because of his yellow color) may look like a rather ordinary mixed-breed Retriever, yet inside he’s anything but. Functioning throughout the film like a classic Western hero, the brave dog tangles with raccoons, snakes, bears, wild hogs and wolves, all of it rendered in lavish technicolor.
Doggo Sadness Level: The ultimate tearjerker, with an emotional climax that hits like a punch to the gut.