Ethel Czerny Bassett, a widow who marries Will Brady. A Bohemian immigrant, quiet and somewhat religious, she relies on Will’s help after the death of her husband, owner of the hotel where Brady works. After marrying Brady, she goes with him on a honeymoon to Colorado Springs, but she spends her nights there rolled up in a sheet, afraid to consummate the marriage. After returning to Nebraska, she still experiences sexual problems. Although Brady provides her with many domestic amenities, including a large house, she does not sleep with him. After discovering Brady’s affair with a cigar-counter girl in Omaha, she leaves.
Will Brady, Jr., a baby adopted by Will Brady after a runaway prostitute abandoned him on Brady’s doorstep. Despite his father’s ineptitude as a parent, Will, Jr., does well in school, joins the Boy Scouts, and cultivates a love for nature. Often perplexed by his father’s odd behavior, he spends much of his time living elsewhere, mostly in foster homes.
Gertrude Long, Will Brady’s second wife, a cigar-counter girl and a prostitute. The young and immature daughter of vaudevillian actors, she first meets Brady in a hotel in Omaha. Attracted initially by his good looks and unusual behavior, she lets the relationship develop and marries him, only to discover that he is no more able to fulfill her needs than he was able to fulfill those of his first wife. Brady, preoccupied with his dreams of riches and power, spends all of his energy tending to business. Meanwhile, she spends her time idly listening to phonograph records and going to cheap films. Although she pities Brady, she does not love him, and their relationship slowly disintegrates after she joins him in California and begins again to work as a prostitute.
T. P. Luckett, an egg producer and the person in charge of the Union Pacific commissary in Omaha. He persuades Will Brady to give up his hotel job in Calloway and lends him money to move to Murdock to raise chickens for the carriage trade.