Katherine Barlow is a sweet and intelligent woman who teaches in a one-room school house on Green Lake one hundred and ten years before it becomes Camp Green Lake. She falls in love with Sam, the man who sells onions in the town, because he is kind, strong, and smart. Although the rest of the white people in the town are racist and enforce rules that prohibit blacks from going to school, Kate (who is white) does not care about the color of a person's skin and she loves Sam (who is black) for the person that he is. When Kate and Sam kiss the town grows angry and kills Sam. Kate is devastated by Sam's death and decided to have revenge. She becomes Kissin' Kate Barlow, one of the most feared outlaws in the west. Although Kate is still responsible for the cruelty that she perpetrates, it is clear that if she and Sam had not suffered so much cruelty at the hands of others she would have retained her warm and helpful personality. Kate is one of the many examples in the book of a person who sounds cruel or bad but in reality is simply unlucky and misunderstood.