When a grizzly bear kills one of Jim's lambs, Tom does not kill the bear but simply tells it to go away. Tom's reaction to this incident speaks to his return to old behaviors and instincts. As a young man, Tom had given himself the name "Bear's Brother" and had felt a particular closeness to bears. He had later formed a friendship and a sort of fraternity with a young bear cub whose mother had been killed by a miner. This friendship had provided his closest relationship for many years. The night following the incident in which the bear kills the lamb, Tom feels foolish for having missed the opportunity to kill the bear. These feelings represent the influence society has had on Jim's sense of right and wrong.