I loved it!
The pace was slow, but excellent - it built from page one and didn't end till the last page!
Big Red is about a boy (Danny) and an Irish Setter he wants to own. Buying the champion dog is a bit out of the price range for this Fur Trapper's son, but he knows it could happen ... maybe.
It could happen.
The same way miracles occure.
Danny tracks and hunts for a living - The story starts out with him is following a canny old bear, named 'Old Majestic' by those who've lost cattle, sheep, horses and other livestock to this monsterous bear who has no fear of man, only of the guns they hold. After finding the murdering bear's lastest kill - a prize bull - Danny brings himself to tell the owner what happened to his missing animal. Before Danny can do so, he happens across the master's prize dog: a pureblood, blue-ribbon winning Irish Setter; the dog is not yet wise to the ways of the woods, but given time Danny knows this dog, 'Champion Boy' can be much more than a rich man's toy creature.
He returns to the home he shares with his pa, one mule, and four hound dogs, trying to put asside the memory of the red dog.
He can't ignore what he saw the previous day, for the dog followed him home.
Even more astonishing: the dog manages to do something no other canine has managed to do - to chase and corner Old Majestic! Other dogs, other packs led by man that have tried, end up being killed, mauled, and slaughtered by the very killer they are trying to hunt down and destroy. Big Red had no backup, no pack to help him.
That event made Danny even more determined to one day own Big Red as his own.
In the meantime, the owner, seeing the care Danny took care of for an animal he couldn't hope to own, decides to hire Danny as his dog trainer - and takes the boy to a dog show, where Big Red is entered for a chance to become 'the best of the breed' and become a recoginized ideal Irish Setter.
Big Red has some faults: he might be a bird-dog and eager to point out where partridges are hiding, but he also can't stop chasing squirrls, rabbits, woodchucks, and other four-legged prey that run away.