Twelve-year-old Cotton Kinney has everything a boy could want-except a dog. For Christmas, Cotton bought his dad a studded dog collar and his mom an enameled cake-mixing pan just the right size for feeding a dog. It didn't do any good. When Christmas comes, Cotton still doesn't get his dog. But Blackie Scantling, best coon hunter in the country, and his two coonhounds, Rock and Drum, come by for dinner one night. Blackie takes Cotton and his best friend Spud, and Spud's little feist-dog Snuffy, on a series of adventures that include a show-down with a bull, a wrestling match with a turkey gobbler, and the search for a dog Cotton can call his own.