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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 474

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Characters Discussed

Lawrence McIvor

Lawrence McIvor, the narrator of part 1; William McIvor’s son, to whom Pleasant McIvor, his uncle, tells a strange story of revenge and war.

Cameron (Cam) McIvor

Cameron (Cam) McIvor, his grandfather, an Alabama planter; good-natured except when drunk or angry, when he is dangerous and fearless. Having discovered Tyson Lovell’s unscrupulous operations, he is murdered on Lovell’s orders.

Pleasant McIvor

Pleasant McIvor, Cameron’s favorite son; powerfully built, daring, wily, and determined avenger of his father’s death. He kills off Lovell’s gang one after another, first with aid, then by himself, until in the war he gives up his vengeance-seeking. He will kill no more—privately or as a soldier—and he deserts.

William McIvor

William McIvor, Pleasant’s older brother. Tall, spare, quiet, and scholarly, he is different from the other McIvors. He dies of gangrene from war wounds.

Levi McIvor

Levi McIvor, Pleasant’s younger brother and close companion. He dies after attending William in his illness.

Eli McIvor

Eli McIvor, Pleasant’s uncle, killed at Shiloh.

Tyson Lovell

Tyson Lovell, a wealthy landowner and leader of a gang of slave speculators and mule stealers. To get rid of Cameron, he gets him declared an outlaw and then arranges his murder. Found by Pleasant two years later, he is knocked out with a pistol butt before Pleasant flees Lovell’s trap.

Lieutenant Roswell Ellis

Lieutenant Roswell Ellis, Pleasant’s friend. He dies of wounds received in an action the danger of which had not been reported by Pleasant, who had been busy seeking his private vengeance.

Albert Sydney Johnston

Albert Sydney Johnston, a Confederate general killed at Shiloh.

Job Caruthers

Job Caruthers, a young bully shot to death by Cameron.

Mebane Caruthers

Mebane Caruthers, Job’s twin, who helps him get revenge for a well-deserved beating by Cameron. Mebane is wounded by Cameron, brings suit, and almost ruins him financially.

Penter Wilton

Penter Wilton and

Jeems Wilton

Jeems Wilton, brothers who, after a quarrel with Cameron, hold him in bed while he is killed. Penter is later dragged to death by his horse, and Jeems is shot to death.


Fox, the murderer of Cameron.

Bob Pritchard

Bob Pritchard, a McIvor kinsman and avenger trapped and killed by Botterall’s posse.

Sheriff Lem Botterall

Sheriff Lem Botterall, an enemy who is trampled to death by a wild stallion lashed by Pleasant.

Judge Lawson Wilton

Judge Lawson Wilton, a district attorney, Lovell’s tool, killed after telling of the plot that resulted in Cameron’s murder.

Armistead McIvor

Armistead McIvor, Judge Wilton’s killer. Armistead is later a Confederate colonel.

Dee Day

Dee Day and


Damon, two gang members stabbed to death by Pleasant.


Awsumb, a gang member stalked but not attacked by Pleasant, who decides he has had enough of vengeance.




Critical Essays