Bob watches his father and Shane work away at the stump. Marian comes out of the house in a hat she has fashioned after the styles Shane has described to her. Frustrated that they pay more attention to the stump than they do to her, she rounds them up for dinner. Later, she comments to Bob that something strange took hold of the two men, and she is not quite sure what it was. She comments that "there's something splendid in the battle they're giving that old monster." Marian alters her hat back to the way it was, saying that she is proud to be on Joe Starrett's farm. She brings Shane and Joe biscuits, and they pause to devour them before resuming work at the stump.
Joe begins cutting at the roots, and they are able to heave the stump up a few inches. They work and work, cutting at the roots underneath and shoving against the stump with their shoulders. Marian and Bob watch in amazement, and Marian suggests hooking up the team of horses to the stump to finish pulling it out. Joe says he wants to finish it with "manpower," and they do.
Watching the men work at the stump makes Marian forget about the apple pie she is making, and, when she retrieves it, it is burned. Terribly upset, she goes about making another pie and refuses any help at all, only stopping to rest or smile when it is baked to perfection and eaten.
Bob wakes up late and immediately worries that he has missed Shane's departure. Shane assures him that he would not forget him and leave without seeing him again. Shane gets up to leave, and Joe asks him to sit back down. Joe then asks him if he is running away from anything. Shane says no, and then Joe tells him that the work at the farm is too much for one man and that he would like to hire Shane to stay for a while. Shane says, "I never figured to be a farmer, Starrett. I would have laughed at the notion a few days ago. All the same, you've hired yourself a hand." Later when Joe and Marian are talking about it, Marian makes a comment that Shane is not a farmer and is not much like Joe, but Joe says Shane is his kind of man. Shane adjusts to working on the farm quite well, although he remains quiet and keeps to himself about personal matters.
Shane takes Joe's spot at the dinner table. This troubles Marian and Bob, but Joe does not say anything about it. The reason for the switch is not apparent until one night during dinner someone comes to the door. Then Bob realizes Shane is sitting where he can see the door and see anyone who comes calling at the house. Shane is always alert, always watching and listening. The townspeople who all regard Joe as their leader find Shane to be an enigma and are not sure what to make of him.
It takes Bob a while to realize the most interesting thing about Shane—for all this watching out for people, he does not carry a gun. Once in Shane's room, Bob saw his gun—a Colt with ivory plates and the hammer filed to a sharp point. Bob asks his father why Shane keeps his gun hidden away, and Joe says he does not know and will never ask because he trusts that Shane has a good reason for it. At the end of their conversation Bob's father cautions Bob not to grow to care for Shane too much. When Bob asks why, Joe says it is because Shane will be moving on, but Bob suspects there is something more.