- The protagonist of Where the Red Fern Grows.
At the start of the novel he is ten years old. He has three younger sisters. He is filled with "puppy love"--he wants a dog badly. He is a brave boy, full of determination and grit.
- Old Dan is one of Billy's red bone coonhounds. He is bigger and stronger than Little Ann, the other hound. He will never leave a raccoon once he is on its trail, although sometimes his impatience gets the best of him, and he loses the trail.
- Little Ann is one of Billy's red bone coonhounds. She is smaller but smarter than Old Dan. She is a beautiful hound, and will not stop hunting until she knows exactly where the coon is hiding. No coon can trick her. For a hound, she is extremely playful.
- Billy's papa is a good, honest farmer. He is poor, but is working hard so his family can move to the city. Once Billy buys his hounds, he starts to treat Billy like a man.
- Billy's grandfather runs a general store and a small mill. His store is a place where coon hunters gather to talk about hunting. He is full of imagination, and gets Billy into a lot of adventures.
- Billy's mama is part Cherokee. She is very religious and always enjoys answering Billy's questions about God. She worries about him when he is hunting, but is also very proud of him. She wants very much to move to town so the children can get a good education.
- Billy has three sisters, all younger than him. They help with chores, but are often too little to understand what is going on.
- Ruben is the older of the two Pritchard brothers. They come from a strange, disliked family. Ruben is full of insults and ready to fight. While on a hunt with Billy and Rainie, he falls on an axe and dies.
- Rainie is the younger of the two Pritchard brothers. They come from a strange, disliked family. Rainie is not very bright, but he is full of tricks and is always trying to make bets.