Old Yeller (film) In the late 1860s on a ranch in Texas, a big, mongrel yellow dog befriends the Coates family, and in particular the two boys, Travis and Arliss. He proves his loyalty by saving Arliss from a huge bear, Travis from wild pigs, and Mrs. Coates from a wolf infected with hydrophobia. Though Travis shoots the wolf, he must soon after shoot the dog, Old Yeller, who has contracted the dread disease. Travis is inconsolable until he accepts one of Old Yeller’s puppies as his own for its uncanny resemblance to Old Yeller. Released December 25, 1957. Directed by Robert Stevenson. 84 min. Based on the well-known book by Fred Gipson, the film grossed over $8 million in its initial release and has proved a perennial Disney favorite. Stars Dorothy McGuire (Katie Coates), Fess Parker (Jim Coates), Tommy Kirk (Travis), Kevin Corcoran (Arliss). The dog who played Old Yeller was named Spike. Gil George and Oliver Wallace wrote the title song. Two educational films were made from the film, Love and Duty: Which Comes First? (1975) and an episode in the Films as Literature series. A program on the Disneyland television series, The Best Doggoned Dog in the World, aired shortly before the film’s release to promote the film. Old Yeller was reissued in 1965 and 1974. Released on video in 1981 and 1992.