There are quite a few of these in this novel as there are in any Hillerman novel (and especially those featuring Jim Chee). They include:
- The conflict between Chee and Janet Pete with regard to what should be done with Clement Hoski. Chee wants to be a shaman and thinks that Hoski should be able to try to restore harmony within himself and with the victim's family. Pete believes more in the judicial system.
- Chee has a conflict with himself as to whether he wants to be involved with Janet. Being involved with her would require him to compromise his desire to be a traditional Navajo. "He thought about the choice he might have to make between Janet Pete and the religion that had always given his life its purpose."