Christopher Johnson McCandless Intelligent, idealistic young man who believes that life is best lived alone, in nature. He spends two years testing his theory throughout the western United States before entering the wilds of Alaska unprepared and starving to death. Calls himself "Alexander Supertramp" or just "Alex."
Anchorage couple Pair who stumbles upon an abandoned bus along Alaska's Sushana River in August 1992. They read McCandless's S.O.S. note on the rear door and perceive a rotting smell emanating from the bus.
Jan Burres and Bob Itinerant couple who meets McCandless in the summer of 1990 when he is searching for edible berries alongside U.S. Highway 101. Estranged from her own son, Jan takes a special interest in McCandless.
Charlie Old man who lives outside Bullhead City, Arizona, and suggests that McCandless live in an empty RV of which Charlie is a caretaker.
Ronald Franz Eighty-year-old man who gives McCandless a ride from Salton City, California, to Grand Junction, Colorado. After McCandless's death, Franz heeds the young man's advice to "hit the road" and live off the grid.
Jim Gallien Last person to see McCandless alive. In April 1992, he drops off the young man on Alaska's Stampede Trail, giving McCandless his boots and advising him to reconsider his plan to live off the land.
Jon Krakauer The author. Describes his own youthful assault on a notorious Alaskan peak to offer comparisons with and insights into McCandless's journey.
Carine McCandless Chris's younger sister and confidante.
Samuel Walter McCandless Chris's father, a NASA scientist and entrepreneur who develops advanced radar systems. Married twice, Walt McCandless has a total of eight children. Chris is from his second marriage.
Wilhelmina "Billie" McCandless Chris's mother and Walt's second wife, who works with Walt on various business ventures involving his radar systems.
Ken Thompson, Gordon Samel, and Ferdie Swanson Moose hunters who happen upon the bus in which McCandless has died of starvation.
Wayne Westerberg Grain elevator operator who befriends McCandless in north-central Montana in the fall of 1990. Westerberg offers him a ride, a place to stay, and then a job.