Otherwise Known As: Trigger-Happy Lunatic (By Widow Tweed)
Premiered in: The Fox and the Hound (1981)
Voiced By: Jack Albertson
While not quite of the same caliber as Pinocchio, The Fox and the Hound did have a surprising number of “villainous” characters. I add the quotations because there isn’t really any one character I would strictly label as being a villain. According to the Disney Wiki, the “true antagonist” of the film is a disturbed grizzly bear but aside from looking oddly demonic with its pitch-black fur and raging red eyes, it was the same as Monstro the whale, a disturbed animal and nothing more. No, I feel that the role of “villain”—nay, a bad person, falls in the lap of one Amos Slade.
Amos Slade is a hunter and while I’m sure there are many out there that will argue that this does or does not make him a villain, his being a hunter has nothing to do with my choosing him as the central villain of The Fox and the Hound. He is, as Widow Tweed calls him, a trigger-happy lunatic that would shoot an animal dead if it caught his eye or his temper. Sadly, Tod the fox did this and more through no fault of his own the first time around prior to his and Copper spending the winter apart from one another.
If Amos Slade is guilty of one thing it’s his obsession with killing Tod. The first time, he had wrongfully presumed the fox kit to be after his chickens but the second time, the one that really gets the ball rolling and turning childhood friends into enemies, was when he catches sight of Tod on his property a second time and goes chasing after him with his dog Chief whom ends up severely injured as a result. The man actually has the gall to break into a game preserve to find and kill Tod in revenge for what happened to Chief, something that Tod’s then-former best friend Copper was more than eager to see done.
Ironically, it is because of his obsession that lands Amos Slade in a heap of trouble as he and Copper inadvertently disturb a grizzly bear from its slumber and the man gets his foot caught in a trap. Though Copper does his best to try and save his owner, but it is only with the help of Tod that the bear is vanquished via waterfall. Of course, the scuffle with the bear leaves Tod injured and at the mercy of Amos but Copper refuses to move out of the way and Amos, either tired of all the hate or perhaps even a bit wiser from his near death experience, leaves for home with Copper.
If anything, Amos Slade is more a cantankerous old man than an actual villain. Take the gun and traps away from him and anyone and their kid sibling could handle him easily. Give him both and one can do it with their arms tied behind their back and a blindfold over their eyes. The blindfold is necessary in the likelihood that Amos Slade will be caught with his pants down again…