What is the conflict between the Swede and everyone else?
The major conflict is between the Swede and the other characters. He sets himself apart at the story’s exposition, and through his drunkenness, the card game, his fight with Johnnie, and his swift encounter with the gambler, he is always at odds. One might see him as a protagonist because he is a solitary person encountering difficulties—usually the role of the protagonist. Because we learn so little of him, however, he is not a good candidate for protagonist. The others stress his nationality primarily to preserve his separateness (note that the others are identified by trade or location, and that they are named; i.e., Bill the cowboy, Blanc the Easterner, Scully the hotel keeper, Johnnie the son of the hotel keeper). These distinctions do even more to stress that the Swede is an outsider.