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Chapter Five - Part One

A month later, the team arrives at its destination, though in a horrible state. All of the dogs have lost a lot of weight, two dogs are limping noticeably, and Dub has a wrenched shoulder blade. The rest are dead tired. The team's masters expect a long stopover, but, upon arrival, find that they are to acquire a new team and depart again. The mail cannot wait for sore feet to heal or tired dogs to rest. Buck and his team are sold to two Americans named Hal and Charles. Buck decides that they appear out of place in the Arctic, and wonders why they came north. With the sale, however, Buck realizes that more masters are to pass out of his life, just as Francois and Perrault had.
His newest owners drive the team to their home- a disorderly and slipshod camp. There, they meet Mercedes, who is Charles' wife and Hal's sister. Buck looks on as they break camp and load the sled in a disorderly fashion. A great deal of effort goes into everything they do, yet the result looks like it was done in a hurry. Men from a neighboring tent watch and laugh. They warn Hal and Charles that they have too many extra supplies, and that much of the load is not necessary. Though one of new owners notices that the sled is over-packed and top-heavy, they harness the dogs in front of it, anyway. Despite their best efforts, the team cannot move the sled. Hal calls them lazy, and starts to whip the team, but his sister cries out, begging him not to hurt the dogs. A neighbor explains that the dogs are too tired to move, but Hal rebuts him, and Mercedes defends her brother. Again, the whip comes down on the dogs, and, again, they cannot move it. Mercedes throws her arms around Buck's neck, imploring him to move. Another neighbor advises the group to break out the sled, as it has frozen into the ground. The men comply, and finally, under a shower of lashings, the team successfully gets the sled in motion. The first curve, however, is a tight one, and the inexperienced driver successfully overturns the top-heavy sled. Though half the load slides off, the dogs keep moving. All are mad at the ill treatment they have received. Buck leads them in a run, thoroughly angered. The driver is swept off his feet, and dogs continue on, spilling the rest of the sled's contents on their way. People nearby gather the dogs and the goods, and advise the Americans that they must unload half the sled and use twice as many dogs. The people watch as Hal, Charles, and Mercedes unload the sled, which is full of extravagant extras. The crowd laughs, but Mercedes is in tears as her clothes bag is dumped out, picked through, and discarded. Through her tears, she attacks the bags herself, and, in her zeal, she throws out necessary articles along with the unnecessary.
Despite the lightening of the packs, a formidable load remains. Charles and Hal bring in six Outside dogs to strengthen the team, bringing the total number of dogs up to fourteen. Unfortunately, none of the new dogs are very good, and while Buck quickly teaches them their places, they are unable to learn little more. It is obvious that the new dogs' spirits have been broken by the harsh environment, and Buck realizes that the only thing left to break on these poor animals is their bones. Combined with the exhausted and disheartened original dogs, the team makes for a sorry lot. Charles and Hal, by contrast, are in high spirits, proud of their extravagant team of fourteen dogs. They have never seen a team this big, and are too arrogant to consider why they have never seen a team this big - that such a team cannot carry enough food for itself. Oblivious, Charles and Hal smugly push their team along the trail.

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Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapter One - Part One
Chapter One - Part Two
Chapter Two - Part One
Chapter Two - Part Two
Chapter Three - Part One
Chapter Three - Part Two
Chapter Four - Part One
Chapter Four - Part Two
Chapter Five - Part One
Chapter Five - Part Two
Chapter Five - Part Three
Chapter Five - Part Four
Chapter Six - Part One
Chapter Six - Part Two
Chapter Six - Part Three
Chapter Six - Part Four
Chapter Seven - Part One
Chapter Seven - Part Two
Chapter Seven - Part Three
Chapter Seven - Part Four



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