Billy is the first-person narrator of this novel. It is structured around his reminiscences as looks back to his childhood and recounts the tales of his experiences with his hunting dogs, Little Ann and Old Dan.
Billy’s father, mother and unnamed younger sisters are given only minor roles in this work as the majority of the action revolves around Billy and the time he spent either wishing to own two hunting dogs, or hunting with them once he saved enough money to buy them as pups. His father is characterized as kindly as well as willing to allow his adolescent son to experience the feelings and consequences of an adult.
Billy’s grandfather runs the local store and is depicted as being an encouraging influence on his childhood.
Little Ann is Billy’s female hunting dog and is described as loyal, intelligent and as brave as Old Dan, her hunting companion.
Billy’s mother is a minor character and is typified by the worries she has for her son while he is out hunting.
Old Blue is a hound that belongs to the Pritchard family.
This is Billy’s male dog and is defined as brave, loyal and at times foolhardy.
Rainie is the younger of the Pritchard brothers and engages Billy in a bet that finally leads to the accidental death of his brother, Rubin Pritchard.
Rubin is one of Rainie’s older brothers and is accidentally killed at a hunt when he falls on an ax.