Stone Fox: Summary & Characters

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dori Starnes

Dori has taught college and high school English courses, and has Masters degrees in both literature and education.

Grandfather is sick in bed, and it's up to Willy to try to save their farm. But to do it, Willy and Searchlight will have to be faster than Stone Fox, who has never ever lost a race. Complete this lesson to find out what happens!

Stone Fox

Stone Fox is a 1980 children's novel by John Reynolds Gardiner. It tells the story of Willy and how he must try to save his grandfather's farm. It's set in Wyoming, and inspired by a legend Gardiner heard while traveling in Idaho. In this lesson, we will focus on the major characters and summary of Stone Fox.

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  • 0:03 Stone Fox
  • 0:23 Major Characters
  • 1:13 Major Events
  • 3:22 Lesson Summary
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Major Characters

Let's take a look at the major characters first…

Willy is the ten year old hero of Stone Fox. He's being raised by his grandfather and decides to take action when his grandfather gets sick and their farm is in trouble.

Grandfather has raised Willy. He is usually full of life and adores playing jokes on his grandson. The heavy burden of the tax debt becomes too much for him and he shuts down, unable to get out of bed.

Searchlight is Willy's pet dog. She is his loyal companion and best friend.

Doc Smith is a woman who lives in their town. She's a doctor and a good friend to Willy and his grandfather.

Clifford Snyder is a tax collector who isn't a pleasant person.

Stone Fox is a Shoshone Indian who does not speak to white people. He has never lost a dogsled race before.

Major Events

Let's now go over a summary of the story's events. . .

Willy lives with his grandfather in Wyoming on a potato farm. Grandfather loves to play tricks on Willy, like dressing up as a scarecrow and standing out in the field. So when Grandfather gets sick, Willy thinks it is a joke at first.

One day, Grandfather cannot get out of bed. Though Willy is used to his grandfather getting up early and making breakfast, now he just lays there and stares at the ceiling. So Willy heads off to get Doc Smith to see if she can help.

The Doctor's Diagnosis

Doc Smith accompanies Willy back to the farm, where she examines Grandfather. She tells Willy that he is healthy but that he does not want to live. She thinks that Grandfather will die soon and tells Willy he should come back and live with her, but Willy refuses.

Willy resolves to harvest the potatoes and sell them, and he manages it with the help of his dog, Searchlight. Together, Willy and Searchlight store food and firewood for winter. Grandfather remains in bed, though he and Willy are able to communicate. Even with all of this, Willy continues to go to school.

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