What would've happened if a tiny detail had been different?
Rosie's hat hadn't flown into Steele's path? Or if it hadn't flown to where she herself couldn't get it? Yeah, seems like not much, right? Well first, take a look at this old proverb:
"For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of a horse, the rider was lost;
For want of a rider, the message was lost;
For want of the message, the battle was lost;
For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail."
Ok, see the point? Now think about it;
If Rosie's hat hadn't flown into the way, Balto wouldn't have ran in after it as he wasn't planning to get involved in the race at all, just watch. If Balto hadn't run after it, he wouldn't have outdone Steele. If Balto hadn't outdone Steele, Steele's musher wouldn't have questioned Steele's speed, or at the very least Steele wouldn't have aimed blame for the comment on Balto. Had Steele hadn't gotten angry at Balto for outdoing him and causing that comment (or at least blamed him for it), he'd not have be mad at Balto at all that day. And ff Balto hadn't returned Rosie's hat to her, Steele wouldn't have seen Balto and Jenna interacting. If he hadn't seen them interacting, then he wouldn't have been jealous of him and probably not messed with him and sent him home in a huff. If he hadn’t sent Balto home in a huff and Balto hadn’t been chased off by Rosie’s father (who he’d not have met if he hadn’t returned Rosie’s hat), he might not have been so quick to refuse howling back to the wolves as he’d have no reason to be upset about it that day. This could’ve lead to a number of things, including Balto actually going with them and leaving Nome to fend for itself. However, let’s assume that doesn’t happen and things continue, except Balto isn’t depressed.
Now after this, what matters is how Balto and Jenna interact. Had Balto still came to see Jenna that night (as he still seemed to know and have a crush on her), Steele may have seen them together, but probably not be as mad at Balto as he was in the normal timeline. Jenna may have outwitted him, but he might not have laid the blame on Balto. Now when Balto won the sled dog race, Steele wouldn't have been jealous of him for outdoing him retrieving Rosie’s hat and not as jealous of him involving Jenna. Thus he probably wouldn't have cared rather or not Balto was on the team or not so long as Steele himself was still the Lead Dog . If Steele decided not to stomp on Balto's paw because of that, he'd not have scared the musher and been put on the team. Thus when, and if, Steele crashed, Steele may have ether been willing to listen to his help (due to not being so jealous of him) or the same thing happened as before, only earlier, meaning Balto would've returned to Nome earlier and possibly saved more lives. Or, on a darker note, since Balto didn't have Jenna's bandana to stop Steele's bite, Steele may have torn out his throat or killed him, dooming Nome. Or because he didn’t grab the bandana and fall off the cliff, the fight could’ve continued and smashed the medicine, still dooming Nome. Though of course this depends on rather or not Jenna gives him her bandana before he takes off with the team.
Now if Balto didn't go visit Jenna that night, he wouldn't have even been in the race to start with because he'd not have found out about Rosie's condition the night before. Now, Balto likely would've still gone to save the team due to being a selfless person anyway, but Jenna wouldn't have had as close a bond to him, thus she probably wouldn't have gone after him and the bear would've killed him, dooming Nome. And if Balto didn’t have a link with Rosie if their meeting had never happened (its hard to tell if he did or not), he might not have gone anyway, dooming Nome.
Interesting how one of the smallest details in the film can have such a huge effect, isn't it? Just thought this up and decided to share this with you.
Modified by a moderator on 9/25/16