This book is about a young boy living in the great bottoms of Cherokee country with his mother, father, three sisters and his two dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann. Dan is a large dog with plain brute force, Ann is the one with intelligence, and Billy is the one with the heart to train them. Together they made an unbeatable hunting team. Billy saved up for the two dogs through hard work, sweat and a little help from his grandpa.
After a grueling two years of saving he finally gets the fifty ollars needed for the two pups. He then sneaks out of his house for one night and walks all the way to the nearest town of Tahlequah where he picks up his dogs as well as getting into a rumble with some local boys and talking with the sheriff. He works and trains with the pups until finally they are ready to hunt. He hunts all year getting many coon skins and giving all the money he makes with the hides back to his parents.
When winter approaches he enters in a unting contest and it ends up that he is the best hunter there and he wins the gold trophy. In the spring he starts hunting again but tragically, in their last hunt, the two dogs treed a mountain lion. The lion attacks the dogs and they barely manage to fight it off. Old Dan is mortally wounded and after he dies Little Ann dies of a broken heart. At the end of this story Billy buries both of his two beloved dogs atop a hill only to find later that a Red Fern had grown between them.