Key incidents

Three turning points in The Cone-Gatherers: the deer hunt, the storm, and the final tragedy

There are three key incidents in the novel: the deer hunt, the storm scene and Roderick being stuck up the tree. Each event provides insight into the characters and themes prevalent throughout the novel. Lady Runcie-Campbell is involved in each of the three events in which Duror's evil intentions are somehow brought to the fore.

The deer hunt

The deer hunt is used as part of Duror's plan to show how incompetent Calum and his brother Neil are, so that they can both be sacked and driven out of Duror's woods.

Calum does mess up by throwing himself in front of the wounded deer to save it from further pain, much to Lady Runcie-Campbell's fury. Calum is only saved here by Roderick who appeals to his mother, along with Tulloch, causing Duror's plot to fail.

The storm

The storm scene is significant as the brothers are brought face-to-face with Lady Runcie-Campbell when, during a terrible storm, they are forced to seek shelter in the forbidden sanctuary of a hut belonging to her.

Upon discovering the brothers sheltering there, Lady Runcie-Campbell demands that they leave but is prompted by Roderick's silent response to wonder whether she has been unfair.

Final tragedy

Roderick's entrapment in a tree is one of the results of this incident, as he so admires the brothers that he climbs one of the tallest trees and then can't get down. With not one of the servants able to help, Lady Runcie-Campbell is forced to send a servant to ask the capable brothers for help, but when Neil refuses and demands she ask in person, Lady Runcie-Campbell is forced to concede to save her son.

When Duror learns about this ultimatum he takes matters into his own hands and shoots Calum who is perched up a tree, gathering cones, before turning the gun on himself. Lady Runcie-Campbell is left to question the morals of her actions.