The brutal attack on Dan is not only an attack on Randy's closest friend; it is an attack on legal order in Fort Repose. In a sense, the attack sets up a classic confrontation between a sheriff-figure and bandits. Randy, like a fearless sheriff, is attempting to instill order in a savage place. Just as the western hero is trying to build America, he is trying to rebuild it. His decision to get married to Lib the same day he goes out to hunt the bandits is also reminiscent of westerns. Lib represents the safety of his home, River Road, which has never been directly attacked by the highwaymen. Randy has changed drastically since the beginning of the novel. Randy Bragg has lost his lackadaisical attitude and has become a genuine hero.