James McAuliff came to the Walla Walla valley at the end of the Mexican-American war. For valor shown in the 1855 Battle of Walla Walla, he was promoted to the rank of captain in the Oregon Volunteers. A successful merchant, farmer, and sawmill owner, he was elected mayor eleven times and became known as the town's most beloved citizen. In the years surrounding the vigilante activity in Walla Walla, he served as sheriff and member of the territorial legislature.

James McAuliff is portrayed by Clark Colahan.