Tim Shepard is a recurring character in Hinton's works. He is a gang leader in The Outsiders. One of Darry's best friends, Tim is focused on maintaining his gang and helping out the Greasers when they have to face the Socs. Tim operates on a code of conduct that stresses rather old- fashioned notions of loyalty and strict adherence to collective identity. Membership in his gang is constructed in a stringent manner. It is not something informal, but rather focused and direct. This same trait is evident in how Tim Shepard is shown in That Was Then, This is Now. When Angela, Tim's sister, has her hair cut off, Tim has no problem exacting revenge on Bryon. There is a strict code of conduct. Someone has done he and his family wrong, and there must be a price paid because of it.
Tim is shown to be singularly focused on the life of being a gang member. While his traditional notions of identity are significant aspects to his characterization, they are also reflective of his predisposition towards violence and aggression towards others. Shepard's recurrence in novels where emotions and actions are displayed in a manner that is not entirely socially appropriate is reflective of how Hinton sees the challenging notion of expression within young people.