James has a reputation for being an abused child and a surly troublemaker among the citizens of Rivet City. His alcoholic mother, Tammy Hargrave, presumes that his father is dead. She tells the player that James's dad simply left the city one day and never returned. She blames James for his father abandoning them. James spends most of his days teasing C.J. Young, his only friend, and getting into trouble throughout the city.
If you engage James in conversation and bring up the issue about his alcoholic mother, he gets angry. This leads to an option for you to goad James into running away from home (uses Speech skill). If successful he runs away with C.J. Young. This brings negative karma. They can later be found at Anacostia Crossing Station. After finding them, they can be lead right back to Rivet City for positive Karma.
Players with the Child at Heart perk can ask James to steal ammunition for them. He will give the player a random amount of ammunition of a random type once every 12 hours. There is no karma penalty.
Effects of player actions
If you kill or enslave his mother and then ask about his family he will answer, "Dead. Some asshole like you killed them."
James has the extremely rare food item gum drops in his inventory.
James seems to share his mother's bad reputation in the eyes of almost every citizen of Rivet City.
Angela Staley will tell you that James may act so bad because his mom is a drunk and abuses him.
If you tell James to run away and then immediately talk to him again he will act as is he has already run away from home. You can then tell him you are sorry and gain positive karma. He may still run away.