Mr. Ballantine is a vile, racist old homeless man whom Denver finds on the street and discreetly begins caring for. If any homeless person ever earned their fate, Mr. Ballantine seems to be it, having been thrown out of his daughter’s home for his vile demeanor and alcoholism. Even so, Denver takes pity on the man, especially after Mr. Ballantine is beaten so badly he becomes an invalid and is left in a state nursing home to waste away. While Denver cleans and cares for him, bringing him food and changing his bed sheets, Mr. Ballantine openly disparages black people and Christians. His state of living is so disgusting and unkempt that the single time Ron comes to meet the man, he cannot stand to be in his room for more than a minute. However, after Scott buys him a pack of cigarettes, Mr. Ballantine begins to soften, apologizing for all the mean things he has said to Denver and even allowing Denver to bring him to church. Within the development of the narrative, Denver’s care for Mr. Ballantine demonstrates that all people, no matter how awful, are deserving of compassion and respect.