Savage Sam (1963)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Savage Sam Photos

Movie Info

In this sequel to the successful Disney film Old Yeller, the boys take off after a band of Apache kidnappers who have snatched the children of lazy neighbor Bud Searcy. With their true-blue bloodhound Sam, the kids go with Brian Keith to take back the missing children.
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama , Kids & Family , Western
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Buena Vista


Brian Keith
as Uncle Ben
Tommy Kirk
as Travis
Dewey Martin
as Lester
Marta Kristen
as Lisbeth
Rafael Campos
as Young Warrior
Rodolfo Acosta
as Bandy Legs
Royal Dano
as Pack Underwood
Pat Hogan
as Broken Nose
Dean Fredericks
as Comanche Chief
Brad Weston
as Ben Todd
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Savage Sam

All Critics (5)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Old Yeller sequel with Native American stereotypes.

Full Review… | December 13, 2011
Common Sense Media

Not bad sequel to Disney's Old Yeller w/mostly same cast.

March 23, 2008

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 19, 2007

for as good as Old Yeller is, there's its counterpart on the disc - the weak sequel Savage Sam.

Full Review… | February 4, 2006
7M Pictures

Still packed with that patented Disney Nature Quaintness, Sam isn't a terrible follow-up, but it lacks the spine that the grown-ups brought to the first film.

Full Review… | November 13, 2005

Audience Reviews for Savage Sam


Less Racist Than It Could Be, I Guess I am, I must admit, perversely fond of [i]Old Yeller[/i]. I own the Vault Disney collection edition; I am startled to discover that I don't appear to have reviewed it. However, I got it out of the library anyway, because their copy is not the Vault Disney edition. It's another one of those movie-plus-sequel editions that Disney has released for various of its films. Both [i]Apple Dumpling Gang[/i] movies, for example, or [i]The Parent Trap[/i] and its first sequel. I hadn't seen this sequel in years. I'm not sure I've seen it more than a handful of times in my life. Most of my memories of it, in fact, are from a series of hardcover Disney storybooks, which included this in one titled [i]Americana[/i] or some such. I wasn't sure if they'd toned down the racism or not; you can't be too sure about things from this era. It only seemed tangentially a sequel anyway. This time, the Coates boys, Arliss (Kevin Corcoran) and Travis (Tommy Kirk), are completely on their own. Their grandmother might be dying, and their parents are off with her. Travis is in charge, but Arliss has reached that age where he feels he older brother shouldn't be allowed to tell him what to do. They are visited by their uncle, Beck (Brian Keith), who thinks he might have solved things, but not really. Lazy neighbour Bud Searcy (Jeff York) visits the boys to warn them that the Apaches are on the warpath. Bud's daughter, Lisbeth (Marta Kristen), goes out with Travis to find Arliss, who is hunting bobcats with the family dog, Sam. However, Bud was right and the Apaches are out there, and they capture the Coates boys and Lisbeth. Travis manages to get away, and he, Sam, Uncle Beck, and Bud, along with several other local men, go to track down the Apaches and rescue Arliss and Lisbeth. Once again, Travis must become a man in his father's absence and take care of his younger brother--and, it is strongly implied, future bride. It's interesting to see how they dance around the prospect of rape. Lisbeth Searcy says that she's afraid one of the Apaches will "make her his squaw." There is talk about her marrying one of her kidnappers. However, "marriage" isn't quite what everyone is so afraid of. I would imagine this confuses some children watching it, though I don't remember having much of an opinion on the subject myself. Of course, I was much younger when I learned what rape was than most people who were children in 1963. I haven't read the original book of this--though I have read [i]Old Yeller[/i]--so I don't know how it's discussed there, but it's an odd thing to crop up in a Disney movie. I mean, I supposed it would have been stranger if no one had been concerned about it, all things considered. However, plenty of things happen during movie timelines that never make it onto the screen. I'm sure the negotiations so the prisoners could go to the bathroom were involved as well, but we don't see them. Unlike its predecessor, this is not really the story of a Good Dog. Sam, who is Yeller's son, does successfully track the Apaches and their captives, despite a hailstorm and other complications. He and Arliss do fight one of the Apaches on their own. However, this is really the second story of How Travis Coates Grew Up. His parents are so completely vanished from the story that they might as well be dead. (As if you could kill Fess Parker in 1963!) The boys are doing exhausting labour. Travis is basically, as they call it in the [i]Little House[/i] books, "baching it." (I might have the spelling wrong.) As in, "bachelor." The dog is hardly ever vital to the story the way Yeller is to his. Really, we are watching Travis discover exactly what it will be like to have his own place someday, except his own place will hopefully not involve someone quite so resistant to his authority. Even if Travis has kids, one assumes they won't huck rocks at him. And the racism? Yeah, it's there. However, it really is much mellower than it might be. One of the men, possibly Lester White (Dewey Martin), expresses the belief that the Apache wouldn't be raiding all the time if the whites weren't working so hard to push them off the land. However, another of the men, possibly Pack Underwood (Royal Dano), is of the "only good Indian is a dead Indian" variety, as his whole family was killed and scalped a few years before the first man came out from Virginia. The Virginian, whichever he is (have I mentioned how badly credited old movies can be?), even agrees that the Apache don't own the land, though he says that, after a few thousand years, they might get to thinking they did. As if title deeds are required before someone can really have any say over a land, as if there's something reasonable to be said that it was okay to slaughter the buffalo just because they weren't owned. Still, for 1963, it's not all that bad. Even if none of the Apache are played by real Apache or anything like that.

Edith Nelson
Edith Nelson

Travis (Tommy Kirk) and Arliss Coates (Kevin Corcoran) have been left home while their parents are visiting their sick grandmother. We are introduced to Travis' uncle, Beck (Brian Keith) who tries in vain to take the place of Fess Parker and Dorothy McGuire. His droll personality in the film does not work well, unfortunately, making the loss of Fess and Dorothy worse. Since Travis has now grown up, his problems are much greater when he, Arliss, and Lisabeth Searcy (Marta Kristen) are taken captive by Indians. In short, Savage Sam would be an unsatisfying film when viewed alone, but that it is a sequel to such a wonderful work makes it particularly disappointing. All it seems to have in common with its predecessor is a handful of returning characters and the Old West setting. The changes it introduces in tone, spirit, and style assure that it is not a retread with a new dog, but also that it is never as good as Old Yeller at any time or in any way.

Danielle S
Danielle S

the sequel to old yeller. I haven't watched it in years but what I can remember was that it was very savage and there was a lot of violence. and our parents told us not to watch it again.

Mandy P
Mandy P

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