2 June 2007 | HallmarkMovieBuff
A lesson in understanding
I usually let these "kid's movies" play in the background as I go on about Saturday chores, but this one caught my attention because "I love a good mystery."
In this entry in the "Rusty" series (Rusty is a German shepherd), young Danny and his friends are saving up to redeem a radio offer of a book on "How to Train Your Dog to be a Detective." The mystery arrives to Danny's corner of small town America in the form of a surly stranger, Jed Barlow (Stephen Dunne), who just wants to be left alone.
Conflict arises when the town learns that Barlow has a military record which led to a dishonorable discharge (although they don't know why). The town turns against Barlow, fueling his alienation. Jed and Danny become friends, however, when Rusty takes up with Barlow's own German shepherd.
The star of this film, in my opinion, is Thurston Hall as retired attorney Gibson, who not only represents Barlow in the inevitable town-on-trial scene wherein Gibson is charged with a minor offense, but along the way teaches the boys in Danny's club lessons in tolerance, fair play, the rule of law, and patriotism.