Who are Hans and Pete from The Call of the Wild?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Hans and Pete are the two partners of John Thornton, who first appear in Chapter V of Call of the Wild. They are present for some of Buck's later adventures: when Buck slashes the throat of "Black" Burton in Circle City; when he saves Thornton from drowning in the rapids of Forty-Mile Creek; and for his greatest feat of all, hauling the 1000 pound load in front of the crowd of miners in Dawson. This deed allowed Thornton and his partners to pay off their debts and embark on into the "East after a fabled lost mine." They found neither the Lost Cabin nor the lost mine, but nearby they discovered a new vein

... where the gold showed like yellow butter across the bottom of the washing-pan. They sought no farther. Each day they worked earned them thousands of dollars in clean dust and nuggets, and they worked every day.

The three men became very rich, but they would never spend their fortune in gold. They were ambushed by Yeehat Indians, and when Buck returned from one of his overnight journeys, he

... found Hans, lying on his face, feathered with arrows like a porcupine...
He found Pete where he had been killed in his blankets in the first moment of surprise.

Thornton's body was lying on the edge of the creek, and the sight turned Buck into a creature of vengeance, and he tracked the Yeehats relentlessly to punish them for taking the life of his beloved master.

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