Joe is the understated hero of the book. Next to most people, he is a dominant respectable force—people often look to him as a hero. The only person who dwarfs Joe is Shane, but Joe is secure enough in his manhood that he never exhibits any jealousy toward Shane. He acknowledges that Shane is a better man and exhibits love for Shane and not resentment for all his good qualities. This knowledge makes him want to glean as much from Shane as possible—his companionship, his friendship, his hard work at the farm. Joe's immediate embracing of Shane and Shane's character demonstrates that Joe knows a good man when he sees one and explains why he will not let Shane slip away. Like Shane, Joe comes through as well, even rescuing Shane from a dangerous situation. The relationship between them is mutual—they both give and take from each other in an easy, egalitarian fashion. Their relationship is based on their being tandem characters, who possess the same values.