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The Fox and The Hound is a Disney animated film featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Larry Clemmons, Ted Berman, David Michener, Peter Young, Burny Mattinson, Steve Hulett, Earl Kress & Vance Gerry; and directed by Ted Berman, Richard Rich & Art Stevens. It was released on July 10, 1981.

The Fox and The Hound is based on the novel of the same name, written by Daniel P. Mannix.

Plot

After a young red fox is orphaned, Big Mama the owl, Boomer the woodpecker, and Dinky the finch arrange for him to be adopted by a kindly farmer named Widow Tweed. Tweed names him Tod, since he reminds her of a toddler. Meanwhile, her neighbor, a hunter named Amos Slade, brings home a young hound puppy named Copper and introduces him to his hunting dog Chief. Tod and Copper become playmates and vow to remain "friends forever". Amos becomes frustrated with Copper for frequently wandering off to play and puts him on a leash. While playing with Copper at his home, Tod awakens Chief. Amos and Chief chase him until they are confronted by Tweed. After a violent argument, Amos says he will kill Tod if he trespasses on his farm again. Hunting season comes and Slade takes his dogs into the wilderness for the interim. Meanwhile, Big Mama, Dinky and Boomer attempt to explain to Tod that his friendship with Copper can no longer continue, as they are natural enemies, but Tod naively refuses to believe them, hoping that he and Copper will remain friends forever.

As months pass, Tod and Copper both reach adulthood. Copper has become an experienced hunting dog, while Tod has grown into a handsome fox. On the night of Copper's return, Tod sneaks over to meet him. Copper explains that while he still values Tod as a friend, he is now a hunting dog and things are different. Their conversion awakens Chief, who barks to let Amos know that Tod is here. In the ensuing chase Copper catches Tod. Copper lets the fox go and diverts Chief and Amos. Tod tries escaping on a railroad track, but is caught and pursued by Chief as a train suddenly passes by them. As Tod ducks under the train, Chief is struck by the passing engine and its train cars and falls into a river below, only to jump and break his leg. Angered by this, Copper and Amos blame Tod for the accident and vow vengeance. Widow, now aware that her pet is no longer safe with her, takes Tod on a drive and leaves him at a game preserve.

Tod's first night alone in the woods proves disastrous, accidentally trespassing into an angry old badger's den. Thankfully, a friendly porcupine offers Tod shelter. That same night, Amos and Copper plan revenge on Tod. The next morning, Big Mama finds Tod and introduces him to a female fox named Vixey. Wanting to impress her, Tod tries to catch a fish, but fails due to not having survival skills. Vixey and the other animals laugh at him, but Big Mama straightens the matter by directing Tod to be himself. The two foxes reconcile and Vixey helps Tod adapt to life in the forest.

Meanwhile, Amos and Copper trespass into the preserve in order to hunt Tod. As Tod manages to escape Amos's leghold traps, Copper and Amos pursue both foxes. They hide in their burrow while Amos tries trapping them by setting fire to the other end of the burrow. The foxes narrowly escape without getting burned as Amos and Copper chase them up the top of a hill until they reach a waterfall, which Tod and Vixey go up by climbing a fallen trunk. There, as the chase climaxes, Amos and Copper close in for the kill, but inadvertentally provoke an attack from a large sleeping distrubed grizzly bear, that suddenly emerges from the bushes and attacks Amos by swiping him, causing him to fall down a slope, while the beast continues to pursue him. Amos gets up, steps back, and gets his foot caught one of his own traps, only to have his gun dropped slightly out of reach on a tree. Copper fights the bear, but is no match for him, and gets nearly killed in a very vicious fight. Not willing to let his old friend die, Tod intervenes to save Copper and continues to fight the bear by leading him up to the top and onto the fallen trunk, that breaks and sends them both falling down the waterfall.

With the bear gone, a bewildered Copper approaches Tod as he lies exhausted near the bank of a waterfall-created lake. When Amos appears, Copper positions himself in front of Tod to prevent Amos from shooting him, refusing to move away. Amos lowers his gun and leaves with Copper. The two former friends share one last smile before parting. At home, Widow nurses Amos back to health while the dogs rest. Copper, before resting, smiles as he remembers the day when he first became friends with Tod. On a hill, Vixey joins Tod as he looks down on the homes of Amos and Widow.

Novel Adaptation

  • Amos has only one hound in the novel.
  • Copper's name is given by his second master, Peter, and not by Amos.
  • At the end of the book, Amos is attacked by a gigantic animal, a werewolf.
    • Contrary to the Disney film, he is killed by the beast.
  • Amos and the other villagers do not hunt foxes, but the werewolf that terrorizes the village.
  • Contrary to the Disney film, Amos Slade is a friend of Widow Tweed, and even tried to seduce her.
  • Like the Disney film, Widow Tweed's first name on the show is Widow, but her surname is Lucas.

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