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Henry Stamper is the patriarch of the Stamper logging family. At over 70, he is crotchety and stubborn. Though he presided over the Stamper logging operation for decades, his aged body prevents him from doing much of the work. With reluctance, he passed the reigns down to his son Hank. Henry drinks heavily and makes derogatory comments towards everyone, particularly women. From his second marriage he fathered Lee, though the two men are distant. Henry is presented as the archetype of the rough and tumble Western pioneer, flawed and all. During the climax of the novel, a felled tree severs Henry's arm and he later dies in the hospital.
Henry's son, Hank, is the current chief of the Stamper Logging Operation. Like his father/ he has a strong will and unflinching character. As the logging workers of Wakonda participate in a strike, Hank barters a deal to provide the lumber in their place. This action raises the ire of the townsfolk, though Hank does not relent. Throughout high school Hank was popular. He was a talented wrestler and football player, and always attracted the attention of females. It is revealed that he engaged in a sexual affair with his father's second wife, causing a lasting resentment with his half-brother Lee.
Leland (Lee) Stamper
Lee Stamper is the child of Hank and his second, much younger wife. Unlike the other Stamper's, he is refined and well-educated, having attended a graduate program at Yale. After the suicide of his mother, he begins to abuse drugs and attempts his own suicide. When he receives a letter from his family imploring his help in a log run, he returns to the Oregon to join the Stamper's operation. His intellectualism irritates the other Stampers and he struggles to connect with them. He possesses an ulterior motive, however, which is to avenge the actions of his half-brother Hank. As a child Lee discovered that Hank and his mother were engaging in an affair. Decades later, Lee intends to seduce Hank's wife, Viv, in revenge. While he eventually coerces her to run away with him, he decides to remain with the Stampers and work as a logger.
Hank's wife, Viv, is a beautiful and poised lady. She packs lunches for the men and has earned the respect of the ornery Henry. As an intelligent and knowledgeable person, she is often disappointed by her role as a housewife. When Lee arrives she is slowly taken with his soft personality and intelligence, eventually developing romantic feelings for him.
Joe Ben Stamper
Nephew to Henry and cousin to Hank, Joe Ben also works in the Stamper logging operation. Unlike the other males in his family, Joe Ben is a bright and cheery character. He exudes a positive outlook on life, and is an overwhelmingly likeable character. Once an attractive man, he was involved in an accident that scarred his face. He married a jolly woman named Jan and raised three children. In the climax of the novel, he is trapped in the river by a felled log. As the water rises he is drowned.
Evenwrite is the leader of the logger's union engaged in the strike with the Wakonda company. He is a bullish and coarse man. It is revealed that he has had a rivalry with Hank since their high school days. When the Stampers break the strike by continuing to log, Evenwrite is outraged. He encourages his union members to sabotage the Stamper's operation, though it does not stop them.
Mrya Stamper was Leland's mother and Henry's second wife. An incredibly beautiful woman, she was much younger than her husband. Having been raised in New York, she quickly grew bored with life in rural Oregon. After seducing young Hank, she leaves Henry and takes Lee with her, later committing suicide.
Like Evenwrite, Draeger is another union man. Unlike Evenwrite, he is capable, intelligent and persuasive. He is called up from California to assist with the Wakonda strike. He is cunning and manipulative, attempting to turn the townsfolk against the Stampers. As forceful as his will may be, he cannot stop the Stampers.
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