|Portrayed by||Kevin Bacon (Original)
Maurice LaMarche (Sequels)
|Nickname(s)||"Balto, the trouble dog"|
|Species||Wolf/Canine (Canis lupus familiaris)|
Boris (adoptive father)
Aniu (deceased mother)
Unnamed Siberian Husky (father)
The character of Balto was based on a real dog that lived in Nome in 1925. Similarly to the film character, the real Balto gained fame as the lead dog of a sled team that was the last team on a mission to relay antitoxin to Nome, where an outbreak of diphtheria was occurring. While the real Balto was a Siberian Husky, the film instead portrays Balto as a wolf/husky hybrid.
In the film series, Balto is said to be the offspring of a female wolf and a male husky. According to Balto, he was separated from his mother while he was young, and was raised by Boris, a snow goose. As a result of his wolf heritage, Balto was disdained by most of the citizens and relentlessly teased by the dogs of Nome.
The first film revealed that, possibly as a result of his treatment, Balto was insecure regarding his wolf heritage. Citizens of Nome generally feared him due to misconceptions about his wolf-like appearance. Despite this, Balto is very wise, patient and cares deeply for others, and is very courageous. He is also very humble and selfless, willing to give up his own life to make sure that others were safe. He usually tries to avoid using force, in favor of intelligence. He also appears to possess leadership traits. By the time of the second film, Balto has apparently come to terms with what he is but does not tell his pups about their lineage until his daughter Aleu is threatened by a hunter. Balto is shown to have a love for dog-sled racing and later develops a love for flying in the third film.
Balto is very strong and handsome, but unkept. He resembles a wolf more than a dog. He has brownish-gray fur and light brown eyes. He has large paws which he attributes to his wolf heritage. He is shown to be one of the swiftest dogs in town as well as the fastest, after winning a race in the first film. As an additional result of his wolf heritage, he has keen senses, and is fairly strong. Balto is shown to be capable to climbing a cliff, as well as holding his own in a fight with a bear.
Balto is first seen watching a dog sled race, when he notices a young girl named Rosy lose her hat. Balto outruns the incoming team to retrieve the hat, partly to impress Jenna, Rosy's husky. However, Rosy's father warns Rosy away out of fear of Balto's wolf heritage, hurting Balto's feelings. Later, he runs into Steele, the lead dog of the winning team, who taunts Balto regarding his hybrid status.
That night, Balto attempts to romantically flirt with Jenna, but she is distracted. Her owner, Rosy, has become quite sick, worrying Jenna. Balto leads Jenna underneath the doctor's office, where the two overhear the doctor give the diagnosis. Rosy, along with several other children, has contracted diphtheria. While antitoxin could cure her, the doctor is out and must wait for an incoming shipment.
When other methods of transporting the antitoxin fail, the medicine is shipped by rail. Because the rail line ends at the town on Nenana, a sled team will transport the medicine from Nenana to Nome. Out of a desire to help the children, Balto decides to enter a race which would choose the fastest dogs for the sled team. Balto wins easily, but is barred from the team when Steele reveals Balto's wolf heritage, by stomping on Balto's foot (the musher assumed that Balto was aggressive). When the team is later reported lost, Balto makes the decision to track them down. Though Boris and Jenna, along with Polar Bears Muk and Luk, follow Balto, Balto is forced to go on alone when Jenna is injured in a fight with a grizzly bear.
Balto soon finds the team in dire straits. The musher has been injured, stranding the team. Balto offers to lead the team back, but Steele, the lead dog who have lost his mind and gone insane, refuses. Steele attempts to attack Balto, but falls off a cliff. Balto takes over as lead dog, but becomes lost because Steele deliberately changed the marks Balto used to mark the trail. Balto, and the medicine fall off a cliff. Balto is uninjured, but presumes that he has failed. A wolf soon appears and attempts to communicate. Balto turns away, but then notices the unharmed crate of medicine. Balto realizes that his wolf heritage can be a strength and howls with the wolf as a sign. Balto is able to drag the crate up the cliff, and reunite with the team.
After facing several other perils, Balto is able to safely lead the team home by relying on his sense of smell. Balto and the team eventually return home to a grateful Nome. The other dogs who are in the boiler room realizes they been lied by Steele and Dixie smacks Steele in the face for his lies and they angrily leaves him behind ignoring his pleads. He is invited into the Doctor's office, where a recovering Rosy thanks Balto for his actions. Balto was voiced by Kevin Bacon in this movie.
The film shows that Balto has fathered a litter of puppies with Jenna. All of the puppies look like Jenna except for the final puppy, Aleu, who is said to look and act more like a wolf even than Balto does. As a result, Aleu is not adopted like her siblings and lives with Balto until she is one year old. For a time, Balto is troubled by reoccurring dreams involving a raven and a pack of wolves. Aleu is kept ignorant of her wolf heritage until she is threatened by a hunter for her wolf-like appearance. Balto reveals that he knew little of his mother, except that she had white fur, because they had been separated when he was young. However, Aleu chooses to run away. Balto tracks Aleu, following the raven from his dreams. Eventually he finds her, but Aleu wishes to learn who she is and refuses to return home.
The two eventually encounter a pack of wolves led by the elderly, but wise Nava. Balto learns that the pack is starving because their main food source, caribou, disappeared the year before. One wolf, Niju, wants to steal food from other creatures to survive. Nava tells of visions that he has been given by the white wolf, Aniu, that a new leader will take over and lead the pack. Nava believes Balto to be the destined leader of the pack. Aleu is somehow able to discover, through a mysterious ability, that the caribou had crossed an ice bridge to another area the year before. Balto decides to lead the pack across when the bridge reforms. When the time comes, Nava is separated and Aleu goes back to assist him. The two are nearly attacked by Niju, but Balto intervenes. Balto soon realizes that the pack is leaderless. Nava is too old to make the swim, and so Aleu decides to remain and lead the pack, fulfilling Nava's visions. Balto decides to return home, but before he can, he sees Aniu, the white wolf, and realizes that she was his wolf mother. Maurice LaMarche took over Balto's voice after Bacon left the project.
In the third film, Balto becomes fascinated with flying. He befriends a plane pilot named Duke (voiced by Keith Carradine) and helps his son, Kodi (played by Sean Astin) win a sled race. Later on in the race, Duke crashes along with Boris in it. Balto, arriving back at Nome, thinks that something has gone amiss.Balto asks Kodi if he would help him find Duke. Kodi refuses and Balto sets alone to find Duke and Boris. Later on Jenna scolds Kodi for not following Balto. Kodi persuades his team to go and help his father. Balto along with Stella and Muk and Luk find Boris And Duke until a moose attacks them. After the moose is occupied by another moose, then Luk finds Boris and they head home except Balto. Balto hauls Duke over a sheet of metal and heads back to Nome. When Balto wasn't far from Nome he almost plunges off a cliff leaving Balto and Duke almost falling off. Soon, Kodi and his team come to the rescue and help Balto the rest of the way to Nome. At the end of the film, Duke rebuilds his plane and names it the 'Balto Flyer' and Balto's dream is fulfilled when Duke gives him a ride.
|This section requires expansion. (November 2010)|
- 1925 Nome Serum Run
- Balto II: Wolf Quest
- Balto III: Wings of Change
- List of Balto characters