The Outcasts of Poker Flat Questions and Answers
by Bret Harte

The Outcasts of Poker Flat book cover
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In "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," how do John Oakhurst, Mother Shipton, and the Duchess redeem themselves in the end?

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This is a fascinating story that says a lot about how society judges people and the true nature of heroism. Having been expelled from Poker Flat by a vigilate group determined to cast out any n'er-do-wells from its society, the Duchess, a prostitute, Mother Shipton, her pimp, and John Oakhurst, renowned gambler, are left to make their way elsewhere. However, becoming trapped by a snowstorm they meet a tragic end.

What is important to focus on however is how their meeting with Tom Simson and his beloved, Piney, who are both described as innocent and naive. Not being aware of the history of the group, they treat them with respect and love. At first, the Duchess and Mother Shipton are amused and dismissive of their naivety:

As the lovers parted,...

(The entire section contains 398 words.)

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