The Question and Answer section for The Outcasts of Poker Flat is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Mr. Oakhurst exchanges his horse for the Duchess's mule.
With the easy good-humor characteristic of his class, he insisted upon exchanging his own riding-horse, “Five Spot,” for the sorry mule which the Duchess rode.
The Duchess says she can go no further.
If the outcasts returned, they'd likely face death at the hands of the committee. I'd like to believe the townpeople would welcome them, and possibly help them to build new lives.... but I doubt the would be the outcome.