Wiltshire, a rough, uneducated, but courageous trader who has just come to Falesá. His predecessors having been killed or driven away by Case, a rival trader, Wiltshire immediately finds himself the object of Case’s villainy. Pretending friendship, Case persuades him to marry a native girl who is under a taboo. As a result, not a single native will trade with Wiltshire.
Case, a rival who plays on the superstitions of the natives. In order to control the island, he pretends to be in league with a powerful devil. When discovered, he shoots and wounds both Wiltshire and Uma; Wiltshire then kills him with a knife.
Uma, a modest islander married in a false ceremony to Wiltshire. Because she is under a taboo, the natives will not trade with Wiltshire. Her mother is a producer of copra.
Tarleton, the missionary who marries Wiltshire and Uma.
Captain Randall, the supposed owner of a trading post and a friend of Case.
Black Jack, Case’s confederate.
Maea, the most powerful chief of Falesá, who eventually gives his trade to Wiltshire in order to break Case’s hold on the natives.
Vigours, an earlier trader frightened away by Case.
John Adams, another trader, who dies insane.