Where the Red Fern Grows (film) Video release on December 21, 2004, by Walt Disney Home Entertainment of a film made by Crusader Entertainment, Elixir Films, and Bob Yari Productions. Based on the best-selling novel by Wilson Rawls, the story follows a young boy named Billy Coleman whose hard work and determination help him realize his dream of buying a pair of Redbone Coon Hounds. Billy and his hounds become an inseparable trio, as he trains them to become the best hunting dogs in the state. Directed by Lyman Dayton and Sam Pillsbury. Stars Dave Matthews (Will Coleman), Dabney Coleman (Grandpa), Joseph Ashton (Billy Coleman), Ned Beatty (Sheriff), Renee Faia (Jenny Coleman), Kris Kristofferson (older Billy Coleman). Originally shown at the Tribeca Film Festival on May 3, 2003.