Sheriff McCabe is Billy's father, Placid's lawman, and eventually, Georgie's stepfather. He's also the one who discovers the body in Agatha's gown and sets the whole story in motion: "Sheriff McCabe would tell you straight out that he was better at keeping the peace than tracking" (1.25). We get the sense that that's what Sheriff McCabe is looking for. He's happiest when everything is humming along peacefully.
Storm is Billy's beautiful horse and Long Ears's love interest—or so Long Ears wishes. "In daylight, Storm looked fresh and crisp, as if she had stepped out of a mist that left water marks on her white hide" (5.32). Storm is a reliable horse who does whatever Billy and Georgie need her to do at the time, but we can tell she thinks this whole trip is beneath her dignity.
Aunt Cleo, "the sturdy woman in the questionable hat" (20.23) is Georgie's aunt from upstate New York. She comes to Wisconsin for Grandfather Bolte's funeral and stays to help Ma and Georgie mind the store. She's a bit brash and loud, but also kind and supportive.
Though he shows up in only one scene, Bowler Hat makes the kind of impression only someone who is out to kill or maim the main character can. Bowler Hat is the epitome of the Evil Henchman for Mr. Garrow. He's even got a sinister-sounding hat—all he's missing is the twirly villain's mustache.
He's full of bravado when he's threatening Billy, but as soon as he finds out Georgie's hiding somewhere with a gun, his true cowardice comes out. He becomes downright pathetic when Georgie shoots his thumb off, but we can't really blame him for that. As Georgie puts it, "Mr. Garrow and Bowler Hat were the type" (17.56)—they can dish it out, but they definitely can't take it.
As it turns out, the body Sheriff McCabe discovers at the beginning of the novel belongs to the unfortunate Darlene, another teenage girl with auburn hair who disappears around the same time Agatha does. We don't know much about her except that she planned to elope with Morgy Harrison. We can't blame her: if we were related to Mr. Garrow, we might decide to run off, too.
Killed in a misfire when she tries to pull her father's gun from under some packs by the barrel, her badly decomposed body is the reason everyone thinks Agatha is dead. We find out Mr. Garrow "doted on that girl. Called her his darling" (24.38)—still, though, he left her body by the side of the road and concocted an elaborate scheme to avoid getting in trouble with his wife.
Doc Wilkie is Placid's doctor. He doesn't play a large role in the novel, but he is the one who says Grandfather Bolte's heart just quit. In the final chapter, after the fires along Lake Michigan, he is "so busy with the burned that he slept in two-hour increments" (24.59). Good luck, Doc.
Georgie tries to find out from this man if a girl matching Agatha's description took a train out of Dog Hollow. He's convinced she's just looking for gossip about Darlene Garrow's elopement and refuses to say much, but he does let slip that it's just possible someone who looked like Agatha skipped town by train.
One of the Garrow children Billy and Georgie meet on the bluff, this little girl has red hair (like all the Garrows), likes mules and licorice sticks, and is wearing a hair ribbon that matches the fabric from Agatha's dress. Georgie steals her ribbon to keep as a clue: "Even when her hair tumbled to her shoulders, the tiny girl didn't notice the ribbon was gone. She was too busy sucking that licorice stick" (14.81). Stealing her ribbon, then, is easier than taking candy from a baby.
We don't know much about Morgy Harrison except that he's the guy Darlene Garrow was going to elope with. He also witnessed the shooting accident, but Mr. Garrow "made Morgy leave, told him to write a note to his family saying he'd eloped, and gave Morgy a tidy sum to do it, too" (24.39). Morgy's conscience and courage seem to get the better of him, though, because he tells Mrs. Garrow what happened—after Mr. Garrow is safely in jail.
The owner of the American House Hotel in Dog Hollow, Mrs. Tartt is "a storybook character come to life: broomstick-yellow hair, red skirt, blue apron, and green-checked blouse" (19.9). She cleans Georgie up and gives her a bath after Mr. Olmstead finds Billy and her by the side of the road.
While he's been missing for ten years by the beginning of the novel, Pa's disappearance in the Colorado Gold Rush casts a long shadow and influences how everyone in Georgie's family reacts to Agatha's death. Grandfather Bolte says, "We are blessed to have a body at all" (1.30), while Georgie explains:
Ma never did put on mourning black. It was only in the last year that Ma had removed her wedding band. So for Ma to have parts of a body wrapped in a blue-green cloth containing her stitches? Well, Ma would think Agatha was dead. (1.32)
Their experience with Pa's disappearance has left the adults in Georgie's family only too anxious for closure, and well-acquainted with worst-case scenarios.
Georgie nicknames the owner of the general store in Dog Hollow Pin Eyes because:
The woman behind the counter frowned, looking at me with pin eyes in a face that was as hard and expressionless as a plank. She was the width of a door frame, she'd yanked her salt-and-pepper hair into a bun, and she wore a red blouse with girlish ruffles. She leaned on that counter like she hadn't the strength to stand upright. (11.8)
While Pin Eyes and Georgie clash at first, she does give Georgie the Garrow lead, and Georgie comes to have sympathy for her when she finds out her grumpiness might be caused by the deaths of her brothers in the Civil War.
Polly is the girl Billy proposes to after Agatha definitely refuses him. While he declares he loves Polly and is totally over Agatha, we think he moves on a bit fast—it's a matter of a couple of months—and perhaps protests too much. Polly never gets to speak for herself, so we only see her through Georgie's eyes. "People described her as 'sturdy'" (1.45), Georgie says, and she thinks Polly will make a better homesteader than Agatha anyway:
Agatha's beauty would surely go to seed after a year or two of homesteading through Minnesota winters. Better for Billy to choose a Dane like Polly—someone with cold winters in her blood, and the strength to stump a field. (7.66)
Good to know Polly's cut-out for the hard life homesteading that awaits her.
We don't know anything about Reverend Leland except that he does all the marrying and burying in Placid. In this book, there's a good bit more burying than marrying.