When the searchers from Poker Flat arrive at camp, what do they find?
Duchess, Piney, Oakhurst, and Tom are all that are left of the outcasts late in the story. Uncle Billy ran off with the horses many days prior, and Mother Shipton starved herself to death, so that the other, younger, party members might survive. John Oakhurst realizes that the only chance that the group has at survival is to request help from the very same town that cast them out. He and Tom go part of the way together, but Oakhurst sends Tom the rest of the way by himself. It is several days later before the Poker Flat rescuers arrive. Their arrival is too late. They find Duchess and Piney dead. The two women are holding each other for warmth and have frozen to death, yet they look peaceful.
And when pitying fingers brushed the snow from their wan faces, you could scarcely have told from the equal peace that dwelt upon them which was she that had sinned.
They found the body of Oakhurst a little bit away from the cabin. He too was dead. He had shot himself in the heart rather than succumb to the elements.
And pulseless and cold, with a Derringer by his side and a bullet in his heart, though still calm as in life, beneath the snow lay he who was at once the strongest and yet the weakest of the outcasts of Poker Flat.