The delightful boy-and-his-beagle movies Shiloh and Shiloh 2: Shiloh Season function as consecutive chapters in the inspiring, values-rich saga of a rural family, their crusty neighbor and the beleaguered pup that puts them at odds.
Shiloh makes a hero of 11-year-old Marty Preston as he strives to protect a small hound from its abusive owner. Between beers, Judd Travers whips his hunting dogs into submission. One pooch turns to Marty for refuge. They bond. Marty then strikes a deal with Judd in hopes of earning the little dog its freedom. Act two (the sequel) focuses more on Judd's bitterness—fueled by a rueful personal history—and Marty's noble insistence that his nasty neighbor is capable of a change of heart.
Kudos to Warner Bros. for promoting sacrifice, honesty, sobriety, faith in God and the power of kindness. The filmmakers also emphasize the value of a man's word, and the pitfalls of peer pressure and gossip ("Truth is more important," a teacher explains, but "sometimes gossip is more interesting"). Preachy? Maybe, but these videos preach all the right things.
Intelligent, compassionate adults (an endangered species in Hollywood) offer Marty wise council and moral support at every turn. The boy's parents and two younger sisters are authentic, loving and ethically steadfast—a solid family the WB network would be wise to build a TV series around. While that may never happen, we can still be grateful for Shiloh and Shiloh 2, a terrific home-video twin bill!