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Free Online Study Guide-Shane by Jack Schaefer-BookNotes Summary/Synopsis
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The novel is set in the early twentieth century in a Wyoming valley, where the pace of life is simple and slow and the inhabitants are moral and ethical. Joe Starrett is a homesteader farmer in the valley, and much of the novel takes place in and around his farm. Other than the rural farm setting, the novel only portrays the town saloon, where the local men gather and relax. Shane, a mysterious gunman, comes to the valley and leaves an indelible mark on the people, especially on the Starrett family.


Major Characters


A mysterious gunman who enters into the life of Joe Starrett and his family and carves a place for himself in their hearts. Although he tries to leave his gunslinging past behind, refusing to even carry a gun, he decides to fight Fletcher, the town nemesis, in order to save Joe Starrett's farm. After he kills Fletcher and Wilson, he feels he must leave the town forever.

Joe Starrett

A Wyoming farmer who develops a rare and strong friendship with Shane.

Marian Starrett

Joe's wife, who is attracted to Shane.


Joe and Marian's young son, who almost worships Shane.

Luke Fletcher

A rich landowner. He is greedy for more land and causes trouble as he pursues it. He is killed by Shane in a gunfight.

Minor Characters


A gunman who is commissioned by Fletcher to fight with Joe, Shane, and the other farmers. Before he is killed by Shane, he kills Ernie Wright.


A farmhand of Fletcher's who gets badly beaten up by Shane. After Fletcher and Wilson are killed, he come to Joe and asks for a job.


Another of Fletcher's farmhands who is beaten up by Shane.

Ernie Wright

A homesteader with a hot temperament; he is shot by Wilson when he refuses to sell his land to Fletcher.

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