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Most situations require a leader, like the Governor in New Jersey during the recent hurricane. The Governor made choices that he thought would help better the people. Overall the mayor just wanted to protect and lead the people of New Jersey. Another example of leadership like what occurred in Jersey was a simple man by the name of John Oakhurst. John was also put to the test having to make decisions trying to help lead and protect the other people that were with him.

In Bret Harte’s short story “The Outcasts of Poker Flat,” John Oakhurst was a respectful gentleman, a truly unselfish man, and most of all a leader at heart all along.

Mr. John Oakhurst was a very respectful gentleman in multiple situations. While the group was making their trek out of the town, John made an odd decision. He had a perfect riding horse name Five Spot and he gave it to the Duchess so she would have a better trip.

Along the trail leading out to nowhere Mr. Oakhurst saw a young man he once won money from. “He then handed him his money back, pushed him gently from the room, and so made a devoted slave of Tom Simson” (Harte 509). This shows that he was trying to do be a nice gentleman and do the right thing.

There was plenty of things that John did for the people that showed that he was truly unselfish. “When the body of Mother Shipton had been committed to the snow, Mr.

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Oakhurst took the Innocent aside, and showed him a pair of snowshoes, which he had fashioned from an old pack saddle” (Harte 513). This was a deed that probably took a good bit of time away from other needed chores. Mr. Oakhurst also knew that he was going to try and help get the boy out of there and that he wouldn’t be coming back. Since he knew that he wouldn’t be back he went around and got enough firewood to last a few days for the Duchess and Piney. He was just trying to do what any other unselfish and caring man would do to try and help someone.

John really made some choices after they set off on their trip from town, that most people would be to unsure to make. When Uncle Billy decided to set off on the horses and leave everyone else to suffer. “He ran to the spot where the mules had been tethered—they were no longer there” (Harte 510). Instead of telling them the truth that he ran, John told them that Billy had just wandered off camp and stampeded the animals. John told them this so that everyone would stay calm and not worry. Mr. Oakhurst also ration the food supply to make it last as long as possible. John made sure to keep watch other them to protect them. John Oakhurst really was a true leader at heart.

Many hardships were faced during the short story “The Outcasts of Poker Flat”. Most situations need a leader like the people in the story did. John was there to help them in any way he could. Mr. Oakhurst was there to protect and lead the fellow outcasts. John was trying to do the same thing as the Governor of New Jersey. They were both just trying to do the right thing. Helping the people in any way that they could was there prime concern, no matter if it hurt them in the end.

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The Outcasts of Poker Flat by Bret Harte. (2016, Nov 09). Retrieved from

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