George Black Bull, Bessie's husband and Tom's father, has a profound love for his family. Honest and hardworking, George works in the mill in Pagosa to support his family. Although he longs to return to live by Ute custom in the wild, he feels trapped by debt and remains in town. After his family's escape to the mountains following the killing of Frank No Deer, George Black Bull takes great effort and care in informing Tom of Ute traditions. He also teaches him the essential skills of survival such as hunting. After his death in an avalanche one winter day, Tom must adopt his role as the man of the family and perform the requisite duties.