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The Outcasts of Poker Flat

by Bret Harte

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Who are Piney Woods and Tom Simspon?

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Piney Woods and Tom Simpson are a young and in love couple in the short story "The Outcasts of Poker Flats."  They are on their way to Poker Flat to elope.  In addition to their romantic attraction to each other, they are the only two characters that have not been kicked out of Poker Flats.  Uncle Billy has been kicked out because he's a violent drunkard.  Duchess and Mother Shipton have been kicked out for prostitution.  John Oakhurst is a gambler, but I doubt he was kicked out for gambling; more than likely he was kicked out of Poker Flat for winning.  

Tom Simspon is also called "The Innocent."  That about sums it up.  He's completely clueless as to what kind of people Oakhurst and the others are.  He even thinks that Oakhurst is married to Duchess.  

"Piney can stay with Mrs. Oakhurst," said the Innocent, pointing to the Duchess, "and I can shift for myself."

Oakhurst tries to encourage Piney and Tom to hurry on toward Poker Flat before nightfall, but they decide to share their provisions and mules with the group.  The mistake will cost Piney her life. 

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