Despite the title and a brief prologue with unbilled Ethan Hawke as Jack Conroy "White Fang 2" owes less to Jack London than to Kevin Costner. This "sequel" is less like "White Fang" than a kiddie version of "Dances With Wolves."
The title character, half-wolf/half-dog "White Fang," is the only continuing presence, this time having taken up with Jack's friend Henry Casey (Scott Bairstow), who is digging gold out of Jack's Alaska mine.
Early in the film, Henry is harassed by a surly trapper, but that minor subplot proves to be merely a red herring. The real story doesn't kick into gear until Henry piles his gold onto a raft and heads downriver for the city to get the money into a bank.
But along the way, the raft hits some rapids and Henry and White Fang are dragged over a waterfall and nearly drown. Then, Henry is rescued by a young Haida Indian princess named Lily (Charmaine Craig).
She takes him back to her village, believing Henry to be the "spirit of the white wolf," which is destined to help her people end a famine. It seems the caribou that traditionally come down from the mountains and provide meat for the tribe have inexplicably disappeared.
Naturally, Henry is reluctant to help he wants to find his gold and get to the city. But just as naturally, he will have a change of heart, romance the reluctant Lily and find that the reason for the caribou's disappearance has to do with evil white men. (In a typical Hollywood cliche, the chief bad guy here is a phony preacher played by Alfred Molina.)
All of this is superficial and rather silly, with a ridiculous amount of '90s sensibilities imposed on the proceedings. There are too many characters whose background and motivations remain unexplained, and the story is riddled with plot holes.
But let's remember that this is basically a children's film, and the kids won't mind all the lapses. Especially when the film diverts from "Dances With Wolves" and veers into "Indiana Jones" territory, with action that will likely satisfy them.
"White Fang 2" is rated PG for violence, some gore and a couple of profanities.