When Tom appears in "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," Oakhurst has "a vague idea that the situation was not fortunate." Why might Oakhurst be uneasy?

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The gambler John Oakhurst recognizes that the situation involving his outcast group is already a dire one, so when the young, "guiless" Tom Stimson appears, Oakhurst sees that things have gone from bad to worse. Oakhurst had previously met Tom in Sandy Bar, where he won all of Tom's money and then, in a move that displayed Oakhurst's genuine humanity, he returned the boy's money. Stimson became eternally grateful and one wonders if the boy had followed Oakhurst or whether their meeting was just a coincidence. When young Piney Woods appeared, a girl of but fifteen, Oakhurst must have seen that his situation worsened still. Tom was a giggling youth who seemed happy to have met up with the party, and he did not recognize the situation the group was in. Oakhurst saw the signs in the sky of bad weather, and to him, Tom may have been still another sign of the bad luck that had struck him.

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The Outcasts of Poker Flat

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