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On Buck's first day on the Dyea beach he sees that he has been flung from civilization into confusion and chaos. He must always be working and alert among the "savages" who know only the law of "club and fang." Attack is a constant threat. The good-natured Curly is killed simply for trying to make friendly advances towards a husky dog only half her size. The dog takes her down with efficient, quick technique. Once it is certain that Curly will not rise again, the rest of the dogs in the camp attack and kill her. Spitz, the lead dog of Buck's team, laughs. Buck hates him bitterly. He has learned that fair play does not exist, and he resolves that he will never go down.
The first time he is harnessed to the sled, his dignity is hurt but he is "too wise to rebel." Dave, an experienced wheeler, nips at Buck whenever he is making mistakes. Spitz growls at him warningly from his front post. Buck learns quickly from these two dogs, and Francois is pleased. Two more huskies, Billie andJoe, are added to the team. They are brothers, but very different. Buck receives them as comrades. Dave ignores them, while Spitz attempts to dominate them both to establish his position as lead dog. Billie immediately submits, but Joe refuses to back down, and Spits is forced to leave off. Soon another husky, Sol-leks, arrives. Like Dave, he is noncommittal and expects nothing from anyone; Buck soon discovers the only thing that will move Sol-leks. Buck accidentally approached him from his blind side, and he is given a vicious cut in return. He learns quickly not to repeat the mistake.
When Buck tries to sleep that night, he is unable to find warmth. After wandering around the camp, he decides to see how the team is making out. He comes across Billie buried in the snow, proceeds to make his own hole and fall asleep instantly.
Buck, in his very first day, finds out quickly what a cruel environment he has entered. He sees Curly, one of his traveling mates, attacked and brutally killed by the other dogs. He gets his first lesson in the need to "kill or be killed" - he now has to learn how to survive. His life in California is no longer in his mind; he is now answering the "Call of the Wild."