Gil is a likable cowhand, if a bit aggressive, and somewhat of a drunk. His effect on Croft is usually comforting and supportive, as when Croft is wounded, or ready to argue with Bartlett. He frequently reminds Art that this affair is "not our picnic" — to which, unfortunately, Croft assents. At one point, when he thinks that his courage is being questioned, Gil does have the courage to stop Tetley and the hangings. Tetley is too subtle for Gil, though, and the opportunity passes.
It is through Gil that we judge Swanson, Rose's new husband. Gil doesn't know how to start a fight with such a fellow as Swanson; we see the gulf that exists between an illiterate, unthinking, drinking cowboy and between a cultured, self-assured, and intelligent man. Because this wide gulf exists between Gil and Swanson, Tetley is able to seduce these men into acquiescing in the tragic hangings.