The Snow Man (Henry)

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The Snow Man
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A group of people, including a ranch owner, a cook, and a Frenchman, are snowbound in a ranch house. The arrival of a young woman adds tension and competition between the men.

In a remote ranch house during a heavy snowstorm, a group of people find themselves snowbound. Among them is a Frenchman named Etienne Girod, who is infatuated with a young schoolteacher named Miss Willie Adams.

Etienne Girod — Frenchman; former opera singer, palmist; flamboyant, amorous.
Miss Willie Adams — school-teacher; lost in the snow; young, pretty, and charming.

Another man, Ross Curtis, also develops feelings for Miss Adams and becomes jealous of Etienne.

Ross Curtis — ranch owner; hospitable, nervous, and competitive.

Tensions rise as the two men vie for her attention. Meanwhile, a cook named George remains stoic and observant throughout the ordeal.

George (the cook) — camp cook; stolid, superior, and practical.

Etienne expresses his frustration and dislike for the snow. “Mee-ser-rhable!” commented Etienne, and took another three fingers.

Eventually, George intervenes and confronts Ross about his behavior. He offers to take Miss Adams to safety in the nearby town of Hicksville. Ross reluctantly agrees, and George and Miss Adams set off on horseback through the treacherous snow. In the end, George decides not to return to the ranch, as his wife has advised against it. The story highlights the isolation and tension that can arise when people are trapped together in a snowstorm.

“You’re nutty. That’s what’s the matter with you. You can’t stand the snow. You’re getting nervouser, and nuttier every day," George confronts Ross about his behavior and mental state due to the snow.