This 20th Century Fox production was set in the backwoods around 1912 and presented the adventures of young Clint Kinney (16-year-old rock ‘n’ roll singer Fabian in his screen debut) and his kid brother Spud (Dennis Holmes).
The boys take a great liking to footloose 20-year-old Blackie Scantling (Stuart Whitman) – the ‘hound dog man’ of the title – who just wanders off the road into their farm one day and are in seventh heaven when they are allowed to go on a hunting trip for racoon, catfish and wild turkey with the fun-loving, irresponsible Hound Dog Man.
But Clint is dismayed to find that Blackie shows interest in Dony Wallace (Carol Lynley). Clint considers women in general, and Nita Stringer (Dodie Stevens) – who has a crush on him – in particular, nothing more than a nuisance.
When the boys discover their neighbour, Dave Wilson (L.Q. Jones) thrown from a horse with his leg broken, they take him to his home. Everybody tries to help out, but the crusty, alcoholically-inclined doctor, Doc Cole (Edgar Buchanan) announces that Dave’s leg will be all right.
This gives the neighbours cause for a “bone-setting” party and it is here that the boys discover – during a showdown with local strongman Hog Peyson (Claude Akins) – that Blackie doesn’t always behave like the hero he should. The time has come for them to lose some of their naivete.
All accompanied by plenty of singin’ and dancin’ – Fabian sings five rock ‘n’ roll numbers – and a rollicking good barn dance scene, even featuring Grandma Wilson (Jane Darwell) who “hasn’t danced in years”.
Fiddling Tom Waller
Susie Bell Payson