Gordon Smith / Whispering Smith: Gordon Smith is the railroad cop, working under President Bucks, who goes by his nickname, Whispering Smith. He comes into town after a chain of events wreaks havoc on the railroad, caused by his childhood idol, Murray Sinclair. The two grew up together, during which time Sinclair married Marion, the woman Whispering Smith loves. Ironically, it is Whispering Smith who has the grander reputation as the fastest shooter. Many know of him, and they respect him as a shooter and a man of the law. However, this manly image is contrasted with a sensitive side, as he routinely consoles the hurt and injured, through kind words and a warm touch. He is in love with Marion Sinclair, although he respects her relationship and status as wife with her estranged husband Sinclair.
Murray Sinclair: Murray Sinclair is the foreman of the wrecking crew working the mountain division of the railroad company. He grew up with Whispering Smith in Wisconsin, and met his wife Marion there, although the two separated largely due to Sinclair’s drinking. He came to the county, learning the art of bridge building from Richard Dunning, the father of Dicksie Dunning, and uncle to Lance Dunning. After Richard’s death, Sinclair remained close with the family, often helping Lance and Dicksie with household affairs. He is well respected by his crew, mountain men, and cattle ranchers. He owns his own land, known as the Frenchman, which is immaculately kept and hidden from plain view. After he loses his job with the railroad company, he feels slighted and starts his own gang, and taking advantage of the his insider knowledge of the railroad company, starts attacking the line. He has a strained relationship with his wife, Marion, and tries to salvage it by taking her with him out of the county.
Marion Sinclair: Marion Sinclair is the estranged wife of Murray Sinclair, and a millinery shop owner in Medicine Bend. She left Sinclair after his drinking got out of hand, and on one occasion, he invited another woman into their home. Marion is a very pious woman, choosing to remain separated from Sinclair instead of seeking a divorce. It is implied that she grew up with both Sinclair and Whispering Smith, and although she married Sinclair, she has feelings for Smith. Her best friend is Dicksie Dunning, who often visits Marion in her shop. She also hosts boarders, including the line’s new superintendent, George McCloud, who she becomes very close to as a friend. She is a good woman who helps her fellow business owners pay rent, and freely feeds her boarders without pay.
George McCloud: George McCloud is the division superintendent of the railroad company. He grew up on the East Coast, attending college with Morris Blood, and after graduating came out west for a job. When he couldn’t land a job on the railroads, he worked in the mines, until one heroic deed caught the attention of the railroad company’s President Bucks. After moving to Medicine Bend as the new superintendent, he rents a room with Marion Sinclair. It is his altercation with Murray Sinclair that sparks the action in the story’s plot, and he often finds himself in danger of his life by Sinclair and his posse. Because of his college education, he stands out from the men of the mountain country, ironically finding solace in his friendship with Whispering Smith. Early on in the story, he meets Dicksie Dunning, and he immediately falls in love with and actively pursues her throughout the novel.
Dicksie Dunning: Dicksie Dunning lives and owns Crawling Stone ranch at the ripe age of nineteen. She inherited the land from her parents, Richard and Betty, who both died during her infancy years. She left the ranch as a child to attend school and came back as owner. She lives with her cousin, Lance Dunning, and her nurse, Puss, who also nursed her mother, Betty. She is best friends with Marion Sinclair and often rides into Medicine Bend to spend time with her. Despite her close ties with Sinclair, she comes to fear his outlaw ways, especially his attachment to his estranged wife, Marion. Although she doesn’t let on, she too reciprocates McCloud’s feelings, which is often shown in how protective she is of him.
The Tramp/Wickwire: Wickwire is a tramp that was injured in the train wreck described in chapter one of the book. Sinclair shows him no sympathy, effectively leaving him to die from the injuries he sustained. Soon after Sinclair is fired and leaves the wreck, McCloud and Dicksie spot Wickwire and immediately send him to the hospital in Medicine Bend. Once healed, he spends his time at both the Dunning ranch and Sinclair’s ranch as a cowboy. When Whispering Smith is tasked with serving Sinclair the warrants for his arrest, Wickwire offers his assistance and plays a pivotal role in Sinclair’s demise.
Harvey Du Sang: Harvey Du Sang is an albino gun shooter and Sinclair’s right-hand man, who is in charge during Sinclair’s absences. Despite being on the wrong side of the law, he shares a notorious reputation with Whispering Smith, and the two are pitted against each other as the fastest and scariest men in town.
John Rebstock: John Rebstock is a rancher and the monarch of Williams Cache. He runs the infamous Cache and collects money from the men hiding out there. Although he is friendly with Whispering Smith, he is loosely affiliated with Sinclair’s gang, while his nephew, Barney Rebstock, is a full-fledged member.
Henry Karg/Flat Nose: Henry Karg, who is known as both Karg and Flat Nose throughout the book, worked as Sinclair’s crew foreman before getting fired for striking against McCloud. Afterwards, he joined Sinclair’s gang and was caught by Whispering Smith when trying to escape.
George Seagrue: George Seagrue is an old friend of Sinclair and another member of his gang. He also is caught by Whispering Smith when trying to escape with Karg and Du Sang.
Bill Dancing: Bill Dancing is the railroad company’s lineman. He works for McCloud, but is friends with Sinclair. Early on, he tries to strike a truce between the two, which falls flat. He then joins forces with Whispering Smith and is wounded during a shootout.
President Bucks: President Bucks is the president of the railroad company. He personally hires both McCloud and Whispering Smith as a part of his team. Although he is absent throughout the majority of the book’s narrative, he is constantly hiding in the background and aware of everything that is happening on his line.
Lance Dunning: Lance Dunning is Dicksie Dunning’s cousin and her caretaker after the death of her parents at the Crawling Stone ranch. As a young man, he was brought over by his uncle, Richard Dunning, where he learned how to build bridges. After Richard and Betty’s death, he remained caretaker of the land and their sole daughter, Dicksie. As a man of the land, he shows his loyalty to Sinclair, often causing trouble for McCloud and the line.
Farrell Kennedy: Farrell Kennedy is chief of the special services for the railroad company and Whispering Smith’s companion. He is the one character Whispering Smith relies on the most, and often accompanies him on his quests.
Richard Dunning: Richard Dunning is the father of Dicksie Dunning. As a young man, he came to the area known as Crawling Stone and bought the land. He became very wealthy as a bridge engineer and cattle rancher, bringing out his nephew and Sinclair to teach them bridge building. He also invited his cousin, Betty Dunning, with whom he fell in love and married. Betty died shortly after giving birth to their daughter, Dicksie, and heartbroken, Richard followed shortly after.
Betty Dunning: Betty Dunning is the wife of Richard Dunning and mother to Dicksie Dunning. She came out to the Crawling Stone ranch at Richard’s request and fell in love him. She died shortly after the birth of her daughter, Dicksie.
John McCloud: John McCloud is George McCloud’s brother and a clergyman. He travels west during a trip, meets up with Morris Blood, and tries to get his brother a job. Shortly after, George comes west and starts working in the mines.
Stevens: Stevens is a train conductor who was running the train that crashed in chapter one, which brings McCloud and Sinclair together for the first time. Although he is a minor character, he knows that Sinclair is wrong in his actions, and he declares himself on McCloud’s side.
Morris Blood: Morris Blood was a classmate of George McCloud at Boston “Tech,” and the general manager of the railroad company. He lands McCloud a job at the mines when he couldn’t secure him a job on the line.
Reed Young: Reed Young is a Scottish road master for the railroad company. He joins Whispering Smith’s posse in the hunt for the Tower W train robbers.
Wilcox: Wilcox is President Bucks’s assistant.
Glover: Glover is President Bucks’s partner. Like Bucks, Glover is a very absent character; however, he is constantly in the background and aware of what is happening.
Puss Dunning: Puss Dunning is an African American maid/nurse who came to Crawling Stone ranch with Betty Dunning. After Betty’s death, Puss stayed at the ranch to nurse Dicksie.
Callahan: Callahan works the Overland section of the railroad. Much like Glover and President Bucks, he is largely absent throughout the book, but plays a powerful figure in the lives of the railroad men.
Bob Scott: He is right-hand man to Farrell Kennedy, presumably works at the railroad company, and assists Whispering Smith in tracking down the Tower W train robbers.
Katie Dancing: Katie Dancing is Bill Dancing’s daughter. She works in Marion’s millinery shop.
Rooney Lee: Rooney Lee is the night dispatcher for the railroad company. He is a simple man who loves his train-sheets and spitting tobacco.
William C. Brown: William C. Brown is a fellow railroad man along the ranks of President Bucks. He has lunch with President Bucks and Whispering Smith one day.
Sheriff Van Horn: Sheriff Van Horn, the sheriff of Sleepy Cat, dies during the chase-out after the Sugar Buttes train robbery. His death incites President Bucks to send Whispering Smith to put an end to the problems.
Hughie Morrison: Hughie Morrison is the wire handler, handling all incoming and outgoing wires for the Wickiup.
Stormy Gorman: Stormy Gorman is the foreman of the Dunning ranch. He is loyal to Lance Dunning, but helps Whispering Smith with the roundup at Williams Cache.
Knisely: Knisely is McCloud’s assistant at the Wickiup.
Brill Young: Brill Young is another railroad man, who does not have a clear job description. He is a part of Whispering Smith’s posse during the Williams Cache roundup.
Sherriff Ed Banks: Ed Banks is the sheriff of Medicine Bend, and he rides with Whispering Smith during the Williams Cache roundup. When he attempts to serve Sinclair the warrants for his arrest, he is shot, and personally requests Whispering Smith to serve Sinclair his papers.
Gene Johnson: Gene Johnson is the current deputy sheriff of Medicine Bend, a job he shares with his brother, Bob Johnson. Gene and Bob help Whispering Smith track Sinclair to Oroville. Although it’s not explicitly stated, it’s implied that the two are twins.
Bob Johnson: Bob Johnson is Gene Johnson’s brother. Bob rides out to Oroville at the request of Whispering Smith to help catch Sinclair.
Rockstro: Rockstro is a horse rancher who helps the Tower W robbers escape by camouflaging their horse tracks with the tracks of his own horses. He runs into Whispering Smith in the pass, and Whispering Smith lets him go after he gives Smith the information he wants.
Dan Baggs: Dan Baggs is a retired locomotive engineer who lives down in an area called Baggs’s Crossing in the Deep Creek. His home is situated on the trail the Tower W train robbers need to access in order to get to the Williams Cache. He is shot by Du Sang after he realizes they are the robbers about whom he has been warned.
Dannie Baggs: Dannie Baggs is Dan Baggs’s ten-year-old son. When he loses his father, Whispering Smith consoles him and asks Dicksie Dunning to take him on at her ranch.
Oliver Sollers: Oliver Sollers is the conductor of the Tower W train during its robbery. He is shot and presumably dies.
Fatty Filber: Fatty Filber is a cattle thief who was hiding out in Williams Cache during the roundup and subsequently lost his cattle. When Whispering Smith rides to Oroville, Filber stops him with the intent to shoot and kill him, until Whispering tricks him and pulls a gun on him. Smith apprehends him for cattle stealing in Pound County, which comes with a ten-year penitentiary sentence.
Barnhardt: Barnhardt is the railroad surgeon. He comes to the service of Dicksie Dunning after her all–night ride into town during the storm. When Sinclair knocks on Marion’s door, Barnhardt answers it and tells him to leave the town.