Stark was a member of an isolated town of hill-folk on Jiangyin. While he and his two accomplices were skinning rabbits, he observed Serenity making a landing. He immediately plotted to take something of value from the vessel. His target turned out to be not cargo but the vessel's doctor: Simon Tam. The Jiangyin hill-folk were known for kidnapping foreigners.
Stark and his two men seized Simon at the more civilized town and rushed him through the woods without any explanation. Simon at one point was punched to the ground for asking too many questions. When River Tam appeared, Stark chose to kidnap her as well. They paraded Simon around the town when they arrived; Stark was extremely proud for finding them a new doctor. He left Simon and River with Doralee, the overworked town nurse.
Stark was awakened with everyone else when Doralee alerted the town that River was a "witch". After River angered the town patron, the townsfolk prepared to burn her alive. As Simon stood with his sister to die too, Stark was unmoved and explained that they wouldn't hesitate to kill them both. The siblings were rescued by the Serenity crew.