Zits (Michael), p the main character, is fifteen years old. For the past nine years of his life, he has been bounced around from negligent family members to remiss foster homes. His Irish-American mother died from breast cancer when he was six years old. Zits’ Native-American father left the family when Zits was born. Zits describes himself as “a blank sky, a human solar eclipse,” not belonging to anyone and no one belonging to him. After staying with his Aunt and her sexually abusive boyfriend for two years after his mother’s death, Zits runs away, starts drinking, smokes crack, steals a car, and finds himself repeatedly in juvenile detention.
Transformation #1: Hank Storm (FBI Agent) is a short, stocky, attractive, federal agent during the 1975 Indigenous Rights Now! (IRON) movement in Red River, Idaho. Zits is mortified that he is one of the FBI agents who joined with HAMMER, IRON’s opposition. As Hank Storm, Zits learns that Elk and Horse (IRON’s two figureheads) are in cahoots with the FBI and HAMMER. Elk and Horse bring Hank and his partner a member of IRON, Junior, to interrogate. When Hank’s partner, Art, is unable to attain information from Junior, Art shoots and kills him. Hank is forced to shoot Junior as well after he is already dead in order to have his hand in the murder.
Transformation #2: Indian Boy, a small boy at the camp of Little Big Horn right before Custer's attack. He has a father who loves him very much and this is the first time Zits gets to feel love from another person in a long period of time. He witnesses the attack and the brutality the Indians inflict on the white man. Then he is forced to cut a little white boy's vocals chords for revenge for what they did to the Indian boy.
Transformation #3: Indian Tracker, an old man named Gus who is part of the army. It is his job to track down the Indians for the others to kill. He has really bad arthritis which makes it difficult for him to move and put his clothes on. During the massacre of the Indian village he leads the army to, he sees one of the young soldiers running off and saving a little Indian boy. He is supposed to turn them over but instead he helps them get away because he joined the army to help people.
Transformation #4: Pilot (Jimmy), enjoys flying his personal aircraft, he is happy to fly and happier to land safely. Jimmy has been married to Linda for twenty years, and having an affair for thirteen months with Helda. His best friend of fifteen years is Abbad, whom he taught how to fly. After Abbad and his family took over and crashed a plane, Jimmy has been filled with mixed emotions, mostly betrayal. When Linda sees Jimmy with Helda, Jimmy takes his plane and crashes it into a great lake.
Transformation #5: Zits' Father he is a homeless Indian on the streets of Tacoma. He recollects Zits' birth and Zits finds out how his father was scared that he would turn out a worse father than his own father. With this fear he runs away and out of Zits' life only minutes after his birth. He carries a photo of five-year-old Zits with him at all times.
Justice is a pretty white kid of seventeen that Zits meets in jail. Justice is very smart for his age and forms a trusting bond with Zits. As Zits's first friend, Justice is very influential as they discuss topics and hangout. Justice gives Zits a paintball gun and a real gun, and convinces Zits to shoot up a bank.
Officer Dave, a city cop in Seattle, WA. He has arrested Zits a number of times and he has always showed compassion for him. He is Robert's brother and played a huge part in Zits' adoption.
Robert is Zits adoptive father and Officer Dave's brother. He works as a firefighter and takes him in along with his wife Mary. Initially, Zits is reluctant to accept their generosity but he warms up to them when he realizes their compassion for him is genuine. At the end of the book, he even reveals his real name to Mary.
Mary, Dave's sister-in-law, wants to be a mother. She and her husband Robert take Zits in and later adopt him. She is trying her hardest to make Zits feel at home and finally safe.