Manuel was a gardener's helper who stole Buck away from Judge Miller's place in the Santa Clara Valley of California. Manuel was a gambler who loved to play the Chinese lottery, and he had "faith in a system." Because he needed regular money to play his system, he found that he could not afford this vice on his meager salary. He also had a wife and several children to support. So, while the judge was at a meeting of the Raisin Grower's Association, Manuel took Buck on what he "imagined was merely a stroll." Manuel met a man at College Park and money changed hands. A rope was place around Buck's throat and, suddenly, he was on his way to San Francisco.