Gayabuc, the husband of Painted Stick and son of the Rabbit Chief or Rabbit Boss who guides the people on the annual hunt for the rabbits that sustain their lives. He is the first to discover the presence of white people on Washo land. He witnesses the cannibalism of the Donner party on the shores of what is eventually named Donner Lake in California. His fateful encounter marks the beginning of the end of the traditional life of the Washo people. After his father’s murder, Gayabuc becomes Rabbit Chief and leads his people in their last traditional rabbit hunt.
Captain Rex, the first son of Gayabuc and Painted Stick and the next to bear the hereditary title of Rabbit Boss. He is the first to bear the surname Birdsong, given to him because of his ability to sing like a bird when drunk. Though brought up in the traditional ways of the Washo, he is the first to have prolonged contact with white people. Because of his knowledge of English, Captain Rex acts as a translator for the railroad company and becomes an intermediary between the Washo and the railroad. As a result of his interaction with whites, he becomes a drunkard, petty thief, and gambler. He marries a Washo woman named Molly Moose, and they become the parents of Hallelujah Bob. Rex dies an old man, the victim of starvation and tuberculosis.
Hallelujah Bob, also known as Ayas, the son of Captain Rex and grandson of Painted Stick. He is the survivor of a tuberculosis epidemic in which nearly all of his family dies. Painted Stick cares for him until her death from old age. He lives with a white family, then with an elderly white dairy farmer, then at a government school. While at the school, he learns of his Washo heritage. He is reclaimed by his tribe and is taught tribal traditions and rituals. When he leaves the Washo camp because of the starvation and disease there, he works at a number of occupations, including stockyard worker,...
(The entire section is 820 words.)