[Screen It]


(1997) (Blake Heron, Scott Wilson) (PG)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild Minor Moderate Minor Minor
Mild None Minor None Minor
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
None None Mild Mild Mild

Children's: A boy hopes to adopt a cute beagle from it's abusive hunter owner.
Shiloh is a one-year-old purebred beagle who belongs to hunter Judd Travers (SCOTT WILSON) who sees the dog as just another piece of hunting equipment. After he abuses the dog one too many times, Shiloh runs away and is found by Marty Preston (BLAKE HERON), a local boy who thinks the small town he lives in is boring. Usually hanging out with friend Sam Wallace (J. MADISON WRIGHT), Marty's been saving up his money to buy a bike. When he discovers that Judd's been abusing Shiloh, however, his attention switches to saving the dog. Although his parents, Ray (MICHAEL MORIARTY) and Louise (ANN DOWD), try to convince Marty that Shiloh belongs to Judd and they can't do anything about it, Marty is determined to help the beagle. Getting odd jobs, such as working for Sam's grandparents Doc (ROD STEIGER) and Mrs. Wallace (BONNIE BARTLETT) at their general store, Marty hopes to make enough money to buy Shiloh from Judd. The belligerent hunter, though, doesn't want to sell the dog and from that point on, Marty is determined to do what whatever he can to save the dog's life.
If they like films with animals in them, they will.
For mild violence.
  • BLAKE HERON plays a boy who cares so much about the safety of Shiloh that he lies to his parents and to Judd, and hides the beagle from the hunter.
  • SCOTT WILSON plays a hunter who mistreats and hurts Shiloh, and then breaks his agreement with Marty about owning the dog.


    OUR TAKE: 7 out of 10
    This is a simple little film that tells us a story we've seen scores of times before, but nonetheless is quite an enjoyable and pleasant surprise. While it didn't last long in the theaters -- which isn't surprising because it was barely promoted (at least in this area) -- it should receive a good showing from the rental audience. Perhaps the simple story didn't have the big concept that the distributors thought would draw in the kids, and there are no big names that kids, or even most adults, will recognize. Maybe it was the fact that this film feels old-fashioned, the way Disney used to make its live action nature productions and the distributors didn't feel that would sell very well in today's slam bang market. For whatever reason, "Shiloh" came and went and you can now watch it in the comfort of your home. You'll probably enjoy this very small scale film that tells a simple tale of a boy and a dog. And it's that very notion that makes this production work. From "Old Yeller" to "Lassie," audiences, particularly kids, have always enjoyed the story of juvenile meets canine. There's nothing much different here, but for some reason it works. It might just be the devotion and perseverance that Marty has for saving the dog. Or, of course, it might be the little beagle, whose cute face and wagging tale will win over the kid in all of us. The performances aren't that great, but they are passable, with Wilson probably giving the best, although despicable, one. Of course the target audience here is kids, particularly younger children, and they couldn't care less whether the actors and actresses deliver excellent or just adequate performances. They just care whether the boy succeeds at saving the dog and adopting him, and the "suspense" of that notion is what drives the movie for them. Sure, adults will find all of it very predictable, but if they let the child inside come out just a little, this film will probably win them over. It did for us and we give "Shiloh" a 7 out of 10.
    There's not much to object to in this film beyond Judd's bad attitude and abuse of his dog. Kids will be upset when he hurts or threatens the dog. Nevertheless, some may get the idea to do just that to family or stray animals, so you should explain to younger children about not abusing them. Marty lies to his parents about having the dog and keeps that secret from them, but other than that, his intentions are admirable. Judd drinks beer in a few scenes, and there a few brief moments where characters discuss the topic of a young girl's parents being killed in a car wreck (before the story begins), but beyond that there's very little else to worry about. Since this film is aimed at younger kids, however, you many want to look over the content to make sure that your child will be able to handle what's present.

  • Judd drinks a lot of beer while watching Marty work for him (over several days).
  • Shiloh has a bloody cut above his eye after Judd hits him with a rifle butt and later is a little bloody after getting into a fight with another dog.
  • Judd has both as he mistreats (doesn't feed) and hits Shiloh, and is mean to Marty and reneges on a contract they set up. In addition, it's reported that he hunts animals out of season, thus breaking those laws.
  • Marty takes in the dog and keeps this secret from his parents, and he lies about having not seen Shiloh. Sam lies to Judd about the same.
  • Judd makes Marty work extremely hard in exchange for ownership of Shiloh, but then reneges on their agreement at the end of the week.
  • Younger kids will probably not like the brief scenes where Judd hits Shiloh or threatens his life.
  • A bigger stray dog shows up and gets into a fight with Shiloh, injuring the beagle. Marty and his dad take Shiloh to Doc Wallace hoping he can save the dog's life.
  • Marty has a very brief nightmare where he's carrying Shiloh. Suddenly a flashlight beam hits him and a rifle is fired, but Marty then wakes up.
  • Younger kids will be upset when Judd returns to retrieve Shiloh after breaking his deal with Marty.
  • Shotgun/Rifles: Carried and used by Judd for hunting purposes. He does shoot at Shiloh with a rifle, however, when the dog runs away and in another scene hits the dog with a rifle butt.
  • Rifle: Carried by Marty but never fired.
  • Phrases: "Stupid" and "Geez."
  • Judd kicks and/or hits Shiloh and while he's portrayed as the "bad guy," some kids might think about doing the same to family or stray animals.
  • Marty walks along with a rifle slung over his shoulder and occasionally aims at things, but never fires the gun.
  • Marty takes in the dog and keeps this secret from his parents, and he lies about having not seen Shiloh.
  • None.
  • There's a minor amount of suspenseful music in a few scenes.
  • None.
  • 1 hell is used as an exclamation.
  • None.
  • None.
  • Marty gets into arguments with his parents over Shiloh, but none of it's too bad, including a moment where he says to his mother, "Dad will never change his mind and you'll never stand up to him." She calls him on that and he apologizes.
  • In addition, Marty's parents briefly argue about the dog and Louise tells Ray that he doesn't have the final say in what goes on in their house.
  • Ray briefly talks about his mother being sick and that they had to remortgage the house to provide medical care for her. Thus they don't have much money, and that causes some penny pinching to occur.
  • Sam briefly mentions her parents being killed, (as well as her pet cat being run over) and later Doc Wallace does the same (about his daughter and son-in-law).
  • Judd mentions his father repeatedly hitting him with a belt so much so that he had welts on his back.
  • Abusing and mistreating animals.
  • Lying to your parents even if it's for a good reason.
  • Judd is a hunter and thus shoots or traps and kills several animals (we see him firing the gun and then picking up the dead animal, etc...).
  • Judd hits Shiloh on the head with the butt of his rifle for barking at the wrong moment and moments later kicks him as well.
  • Judd kicks Shiloh again after Marty and Ray return the dog to him.
  • Judd makes several verbal threats toward the dog including that he'll shoot him or "whip the living daylights out of him" if he runs away again, and at another time threatens to break his legs.
  • Judd kicks Shiloh again and then fires a rifle at him as the dog runs off.
  • A bigger stray dog shows up and gets into a fight with Shiloh. The beagle is injured and Marty and his dad rush Shiloh to Doc Wallace hoping to save the dog's life.
  • Judd drags Marty from his property and Marty then threatens him with a stick.
  • Marty grabs Judd as he tries to grab Shiloh. Judd throws the boy to the ground and Ray then shows up and does the same to Judd.

  • Reviewed August 2, 1997

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