The Outcasts of Poker Flat

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  • "Poker Flat was 'after somebody.'... It was experiencing a spasm of virtuous reaction, quite as lawless and ungovernable as the acts that provoked it. A secret committee had determined to rid the town of all improper persons This was done permanently in regard of two men who were hanging from the boughs of a sycamore in the gulch, and temporarily in the banishment of certain objectionable characters" (1).
  • "A body of armed men accompanied the deported wickedness of Poker Flat to the outskirts of the settlement. Besides Mr. Oakhurst... the expatriated party consisted of a young woman familiarly known as the 'Duchess'; another who had won the title of 'Mother Shipton'; and 'Uncle Billy,' a suspected sluice-robber and confirmed drunkard.... The exiles were forbidden to return at the peril of their lives" (1).
  • "In the fresh, open face of the newcomer Mr. Oakhurst recognized Tom Simson, otherwise known as the 'Innocent' of Sandy Bar.... he had run away with Piney Woods.... And they were tired out, and how lucky it was they had found a place to camp and company.... the Innocent... assur[ed] the party... by the discovery of a rude attempt at a log house near the trail" (2-3).
  • "Uncle Billy... felt compelled to retire up the canyon until he could recover his gravity.... But when he returned to the party, he found them seated by a fire--for the air had grown strangely chill and the sky overcast--in apparently amiable conversation.... 'Is this yer a damned picnic?' said Uncle Billy with inward scorn as he surveyed the sylvan group... Suddenly an idea mingled with the alcoholic fumes that disturbed his brain. It was apparently of jocular nature, for he felt impelled to slap his leg again and cram his fist into his mouth" (3).
  • "Toward the morning he awoke benumbed and cold.  As he stirred the dying fire, the wind, which was now blowing strongly, brought to his cheek that which caused the blood to leave it--snow! He started to his feet with the intention of awakening the sleepers, for there was no time to lose. But turning to where Uncle Billy had been lying, he found him gone. A suspicion leaped to his brain and a curse to his lips. He ran to the spot where the mules had been tethered; they were no longer there" (3).
  • "It was not until he caught sight of the blazing fire through the still-blinding storm and the group around it that he settled to the conviction that it was 'square fun'... The pines rocked, the storm eddied and whirled above the miserable group, and the flames of their altar leaped heavenward as if in token of the vow" (4).
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