At the camp, Pa, Al, and Uncle John prepare to search for work. As Ma cooks breakfast, the camp manager, Jim Rawley, comes by to introduce himself. Ma is initially suspicious of his clean clothes, but she is quickly won over by the courteous and sympathetic welcome he extends.
I'M JIM RAWLEY
Mrs. Sandry finds Ma and tries to preach to her, but Ma chases her off with a stick. Mr. Rawley appears again to defuse this situation and apologizes for Mrs. Sandry’s behavior.
Pa, Al, and Uncle John come home empty-handed: they couldn’t find work. Ma is hopeful, trusting that Tom has found work.
The migrant people try to find pleasure in the midst of their suffering. One migrant tells a story of his time as a soldier, when his regiment was ordered to fire on an unresisting Native American warrior. The migrant reflects on the sorrow he felt after destroying “somepin better’n you.”
When the migrants have the money to do so, they drink alcohol. Other times, they play music and dance. Preachers give passionate sermons and baptize reverent crowds, who “grovel and whine” on the ground. These activities let the migrants distract themselves from their abject circumstances.
On his way to the dance, Al flirts with a girl, but is chased away by the girl’s mother. Meanwhile, Rosasharn agrees to come to the dance with Ma, but on the condition that she can abstain from dancing.