Shane has sixteen chapters falling into three five-chapter parts and an epilogue. In chapter 1, Shane rides into a Wyoming valley and meets the Starretts. In chapter 6, Chris is introduced. In chapter 11, Stark Wilson enters.
Bob Starrett, the narrator, observes Shane riding one summer afternoon into the valley where the Starretts have a farm and small herd of cattle near a town dominated by Luke Fletcher and his rowdy ranch hands. Shane courteously asks for water but is persuaded by Joe Starrett, Bob’s husky father, to share supper prepared by Marian, Joe’s hospitable wife, and remain overnight. Next day, when a peddler delivers a cultivator and seeks to overcharge Joe, Shane quotes the correct price and coldly faces down the irate peddler. Joe and Shane then have an epic battle with the stump of an enormous tree. Watching fascinated, Marian lets her apple pie burn. Accepting Joe’s job offer, Shane performs many chores with fierce, smooth energy but remains apart. One day when Bob is playing with a broken pistol, Shane demonstrates his skill with his own revolver; he defines a gun as only a tool, good or bad like its owner.
Luke Fletcher returns from Washington, D.C., having wangled an Indian reservation beef contract. He spreads the word that he now requires the whole range and plans to buy the land or scare the farmers off it. Worried neighbors meet at Joe’s house for his advice. Shane takes a broken forklift to town for repair, and he is insulted at the saloon by Chris, a nice but reckless Fletcher hand. Shane quietly buys some soda pop for...
(The entire section is 648 words.)