Why do White Walkers spare members of the Night's Watch such as Will from the pilot episode and Samwell Tarly, although they don't seem like a merciful species?
Will's case: In the first episode, he managed to escape. He just ran. Fast. In the books, although it is not the same character, he also escapes.
Samwell Tarly: In the scene you refer to, it did not clearly appear that there was more than one White Walker. So once Samwell
they are safe. They run "just in case", in my opinion. Spoiler alert: I describe what happens in the books and what will probably happen in the remaining episodes:
EDIT after evilsoup comment about the events at the very end of the second season:
At the very end of the second season, Sam is surrounded by a bunch of wights, and the White Walker which looks at him doesn't kill him. It does not happen this way in the books. I can't explain this part. Maybe the White Walker looked at the rock which Sam was hiding behind, and not directly at Sam.
Craster: He is safe because he is a "godful man" (these are his words) : he gives them his own baby boys to satisfy them. It appears giving them a baby boy once in a while is enough to ensure your safety.