The Call of the Wild follows the life of a dog named Buck. The story opens when Buck is stolen from his home in California and sold into service as a sled dog in Alaska. He becomes progressively feral in the harsh environment, where he is forced to fight to survive and dominate other dogs. By the end, he sheds the veneer of civilization, and relies on primordial instinct and learned experience to emerge as a leader in the wild.
The Call of the Wild is set in Yukon, Canada during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, when strong sled dogs were in high demand. Jack London spent almost a year in the Yukon collecting material for The Call of the Wild. The book's great popularity and success made a reputation for London; much of its appeal derives from its simplicity as a tale of survival. As early as 1923, the story was adapted to film, and it has since seen several more cinematic adaptations.