This kid-friendly adventure is an easy "in" for family discussions about forest conservation, the precarious status of endangered wolves, and social issues such as workers' rights and green jobs. Natty Gann (Meredith Salenger), a scrappy tomboy in Depression-era Chicago, undertakes an exhausting quest to reunite with her father, a former union leader forced to abandon Natty in search of work as a lumberjack in Washington State. Natty navigates shanty towns, freight trains, and underground dog-fighting clubs, as well as the forests and mountains of the West. Luckily (this is a Disney movie, after all) Natty rescues a wolf and befriends another young hobo, Harry ( John Cusack ), both of whom protect and shepherd her along the way. A movie like this could easily take on a Pollyanaish tone, but Natty's buoyant tenacity is anchored by street smarts forged in civilization's failures.