This movie was made between 90s and early 2000s; based in Arizona/New Mexico/small American town near a desert. Most likely G or PG (watched it at my church summer daycare) don’t remember if it had a Christian theme woven in.
A teen boy is suspicious about two men passing through town. He decides to investigate their truck with his dog, finds lots of bags with money. Bad guys come back, and start driving away into desert, not knowing about their stowaways.
Boy decides to write a note on some of the money and lets the wind take it, hopefully someone will find it and alert the sheriff. The bad guys notice the money flying out the back, finding the boy and dog. They decide to just leave them there, since they are really far out into the desert, and the sun can take care of them.
One of the bills with a note on it is found by a homeless man and he goes to the local diner. The boy’s friends are starting to worry where he is and is trying to get the sheriff to start a search for him. Somehow they are in the same diner as the homeless man, and notice the note on the money.
The boy and dog are lost in the desert, boy is starting to hallucinate and pass out, tells dog to leave him (hopefully find some help). He eventually finds a cave, but gets bitten by a rattlesnake. For some reason, the bad guys had to come back, run into dog and tie him to a bush. At the same time, friends and police are in desert searching for boy.
Bad guys find cave where boy is in. Don’t remember how, but there are fireworks in cave. Boy was able to make a fire, throws fireworks into it. Cave is starting to light up; bad guys flee outside into the arms of the police.
Last scene is boy in the hospital with his family and friends surrounding him. Dog comes into room, jumps on bed and boy hugs him.