* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: The movie has an early scene where Stanley sees the ghosts of Sam and Mary Lou while his bus passes through the desert. Stanley never even learns who they are and this event is never mentioned again.
** Probably meant to be {{Foreshadowing}}.
* CompleteMonster: Trout Walker in the book and its film adaptation. At first he's a slightly boorish rich jerk with a crush on Katherine Barlow. But he really gets horrible after Kate turns him down and he finds out she kissed Sam (a black man). He rallies the whole town, and first burns the whole school building, then he [[MoralEventHorizon kills Sam in cold blood]] [[AndYourLittleDogToo and his donkey, Mary Lou]], [[ForTheEvulz just because]]. Later, after twenty years, when he loses his fortune because the lake dried up, and Kate returns to town, he viciously interrogates her as to the whereabouts of the treasure and riches she amassed as an outlaw, painfully and gleefully torturing her. Kate gets the last laugh when she's bitten by a yellow-spotted lizard however, and simply tells him to start digging. And for the rest of his life he did just that. He even forced his granddaughter, who would become the Warden, to dig with him, and was very abusive, forcing her to work even if it is on a holiday. It makes the Warden, also horrific in her own right, someone to be pitied and felt sorry for.
* EarWorm: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHcX6fBIrSo Dig it, oh-oh-ooh, dig it!]]
* GeniusBonus: Mr. Sir creates a tough, cowboy persona in order to get over the embarrassment of his real name: [[spoiler:Marion]]. This is very similar to '''Marion''' Robert Morrison, better known as [[spoiler:Creator/JohnWayne]].
* GrowingTheBeard[=/=]HeReallyCanAct: The movie could be considered the start of this for ShiaLabeouf, who was still known primarily for his role on ''Series/EvenStevens'' before it came out.
* JerkassWoobie: The Warden, if only because of her harsh childhood under her aforementioned CompleteMonster grandfather's thumb making her a cynical and bitter woman.
* MagnificentBastard: The Warden. Intimidating, [[AffablyEvil unsettlingly nice]], wears rattlesnake venom as nail polish [[spoiler:and uses it to punish her employees]], and opened Camp Green Lake [[spoiler:to find Kissing Kate Barlow's buried treasure]].
* MoralEventHorizon: When Stanley and Zero come back to camp Green Lake, The Warden, Mr. Pendanski, and Mr. Sir show a lack of concern when [[spoiler:the boys are covered with yellow-spotted lizards.]] What makes this a tragic example for The Warden? See CompleteMonster, JerkassWoobie, and UnintentionallySympathetic for how she became the uncaring jerk she is in the main story.
** Trout killing Sam.
* SpecialEffectsFailure: In the film, the dead yellow spotted lizard.
* UnintentionallySympathetic: The Warden in some ways, despite being the BigBad in the story [[spoiler:and actually allowing Stanley and Zero to (hopefully) be killed in a pit full of poisionous lizards]], her life was constantly nothing but a wild goose chase thanks to her [[AbusiveParents greed-obsessed grandfather]]. In the film adaptation you can see the loss and anguish on her face when [[spoiler:she's denied of the treasure her family has been looking for a hundred years.]]