Blood Meridian

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Blood Meridian Characters

The kid

The novel’s protagonist, if it can be said to have one, is the kid, but McCarthy shows us very little of the kid’s actions and thoughts. Born in 1833 to a poor family in Tennessee… (read full character analysis)

Judge Holden

Often called “the Judge”, a totally bald, toweringly gigantic, supernaturally strong, demonically violent, and profoundly learned deputy in Glanton’s gang, second in command to none but Glanton himself. The Judge fell in with the… (read full character analysis)

John Joel Glanton

The leader of the gang of scalp hunters featured in the novel, Glanton is a small dark-haired man who has left his wife and daughter for a life of bloodshed and debauchery. After the Judge(read full character analysis)

Louis Toadvine

A branded fugitive, Toadvine first appears in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he almost murders the kid after a petty altercation, though they soon become compatriots and burn down a hotel together. The two find themselves in… (read full character analysis)

The John Jacksons

Two members of Glanton’s gang are named John Jackson, one white, the other black. Bathcat bets that the black will kill the white, which does indeed come to pass when the white drives the… (read full character analysis)
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Ben Tobin

A member of Glanton’s gang, Tobin is often called the ex-priest, but he later tells the Judge that he was merely “a novitiate to the order.” To some extent, he and the Judge compete… (read full character analysis)

David Brown

Often called Davy Brown, an especially violent deputy in Glanton’s gang and Charlie Brown’s brother; he comes to wear a necklace of human ears, perhaps recovered from Bathcat’s corpse. When the gang… (read full character analysis)

Grannyrat Chambers

A Kentuckian whom the kid meets while the two are incarcerated, along with Toadvine, in the prison in Chihuahua City, Grannyrat served in the Mexico-American War and was part of the force that sacked… (read full character analysis)


A native of Wales, Bathcat later traveled to Van Diemen’s Land (present-day Tasmania) to hunt aborigines; he wears a necklace of human ears. Like Toadvine, he is a fugitive from the law. During the… (read full character analysis)

Marcus “Long” Webster

A member of Glanton’s gang who sometimes serves as a scout. One night around the campfire Webster asks the Judge what he intends to do with his sketches, and insists that the Judge not… (read full character analysis)

The Delawares

Native American members of Glanton’s gang who often serve as scouts. One is carried off by a bear in the mountains. Two other Delawares are seriously wounded while the gang is fleeing from General(read full character analysis)

Juan “McGill” Miguel

The only Mexican member of Glanton’s gang, called McGill throughout the novel, an American mispronunciation of his name. McGill takes an old Apache woman’s scalp in Janos. When McGill is lanced during the gang’s… (read full character analysis)

Frank Carroll

Runs the bodega that Glanton and his men drink in while staying in the town of Jesús María. After townspeople burn down his bodega, Carroll along with a man named Sanford, leaves town to… (read full character analysis)

Sam Tate

A member of Glanton’s gang, from Kentucky. Along with Tobin and other gang members, Tate served with McCulloch’s Rangers during the Mexican-American War. He is assigned by lottery to kill one of the four… (read full character analysis)

Dick Shelby

A member of Glanton’s gang, Shelby is wounded during a skirmish with General Elias’s army and Glanton orders that he be killed. Although assigned by lottery to do the killing, the kid spares… (read full character analysis)

Doc Irving

A member of Glanton’s gang and presumably a medical doctor at one time, Irving refuses to help David Brown when he takes an arrow to the thigh, knowing that if he doesn’t get the… (read full character analysis)

Captain White

The racist leader of an army of filibusters—government soldiers operating outside the limits of the law—with which the kid rides and a staunch advocate for American imperialism, White is embittered by the aftermath of the… (read full character analysis)

Sergeant Trammel

A sergeant in Captain White’s army of filibusters, Trammel seeks out on the Captain’s orders the man who so brutally attacked a bartender in Bexar, Texas. That attacker turns out to be the kid(read full character analysis)


A member of Captain White’s army, Sproule is, along with the kid, one of the few survivors of the massacre inflicted by the Comanches on White’s army. Though wounded in the arm, Sproule… (read full character analysis)

Angel Trias

The Governor of Chihuahua, Trias was sent abroad for his education as a young man and is well read in the Classics, second in erudition only to the Judge, with whom he converses at… (read full character analysis)

Sergeant Aguilar

A Mexican sergeant, Aguilar and his men investigate when Glanton creates a disturbance while testing the revolvers delivered by Speyer. The Judge warmly introduces Aguilar to each of the gang members and explains how… (read full character analysis)

Colonel Garcia

The leader of a legion of one hundred Sonoran troops, on the hunt for a band of Apaches led by Pablo. Glanton exchanges rudimentary civilities with Garcia while leading his gang to California (though… (read full character analysis)

Reverend Green

Reverend Green, a representative of the Christian religion which is depicted as decaying in the novel, has set up a revival tent in Nacogdoches, Texas, sometime around the time of the kid’s arrival there… (read full character analysis)

The hermit

While riding out of Nacogdoches, the kid comes upon a hovel belonging to the hermit, a man both filthy and half mad. The hermit accommodates the kid and his mule, going so far as to… (read full character analysis)

The Mennonite

A prophet whom the kid, Earl, and second corporal encounter while drinking in a bar in Bexar, the Mennonite warns the three men against joining Captain White on his undertaking, for he fears… (read full character analysis)

The Family of Magicians

A family consisting of an old man and a woman, as well as their son (called Casimero) and daughter. Each member of the family can do tricks, e.g., Casimero juggles dogs. Glanton’s gang escorts… (read full character analysis)

The idiot

The intellectually and developmentally disabled brother of Cloyce Bell, kept in a filthy cage and treated like a freak-show attraction. His real name is James Robert Bell. The Judge rescues the fool from… (read full character analysis)


The proprietor of an eating-house in Tucson. After Owens asks Glanton’s gang to move to a table reserved for “people of color” because of the presence of the black Jackson, David Brown pitches… (read full character analysis)

Doctor Lincoln

Owns and runs a ferry on the Colorado River, for which he charges a fee to cross. Glanton and the Judge later deceive Lincoln and appropriate the ferry for the gang’s purpose and profit, to… (read full character analysis)


A fifteen-year-old boy who works as a bonepicker on the plains of Texas. When the man tells Elrod and his companions how he came to be in possession of David Brown’s necklace of ears… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
John Dorsey
A member of Glanton’s gang, from Missouri. Along with Henderson Smith, he is the first to exit the Nacori cantina after a rocket explodes in the street outside.
Henderson Smith
A member of Glanton’s gang, from Missouri. Along with John Dorsey, he is the first to exit the Nacori cantina after a rocket explodes in the street outside. He is later killed by the Yumas who raid the gang’s ferry on the Colorado River.
A member of Glanton’s gang, Grimley is stabbed by a drunk in the Nacori cantina.
John Gunn
A member of Glanton’s gang, Gunn helps Glanton in coordinating the gang’s escape from the town of Jesús María. He is later killed by the Yumas who raid the gang’s ferry on the Colorado River.
Along with Frank Carroll, leaves the town of Jesús María to join Glanton’s gang, only to desert by the time the gang reaches Ures.
After falling ill and being left behind in Ures by his gold-seeking companions, Sloat joins Glanton’s gang. He dies soon thereafter, as a consequence of one of the gang’s skirmishes with General Elias’s army.
Tommy Harlan
A member of Glanton’s gang, Harlan is assigned by lottery to kill one of the four men wounded by General Elias’s army, but a Delaware does Harlan’s killing in his place.
John Prewett
A member of Glanton’s gang, he shoots one of the two hermits the gang encounters in the church at San José de Tumacacori.
James Miller
A member of Glanton’s gang. Miller’s horse is gored by a wild bull living on a ruined estate at San Bernardino. Disgusted, Miller shoots both animals.
A member of Glanton’s gang. During the gang’s flight from General Elias’s army, Gilchrist is sent out as a scout, never to return. He is found along with the other scouts days later dead and hideously mutilated, hanging from a tree.
Billy Carr
A member of Glanton’s gang, Carr accompanies Toadvine and the kid across the Colorado River to cut willow poles.
Charlie Brown
A member of Glanton’s gang and David Brown’s brother.
A member of Glanton’s gang,he is killed by the Yumas who raid the gang’s ferry on the Colorado River.
A Missourian and member of Captain White’s army, Earl goes out into Bexar with the kid and a second corporal for a night of drinking. That night Earl gets into drunken quarrels, and the next morning he is found dead in a courtyard.
A member of Captain White’s army, Hayward prays for rain in the desert. He probably dies when the Comanches massacre White’s army.
The translator in Captain White’s army, probably Mexican. Candelario probably dies when the Comanches massacre White’s army.
General Zuloaga
A Mexican general and Conservative leader in the War of Reform, General Zuloaga receives Glanton, the Judge, and the brothers David and Charlie Brown at his hacienda outside of the town of Corralitos, where they all dine together and pass the night without incident.
General Elias
A Mexican general, probably dispatched by the Governor of Sonora, Elias leads an army consisting of some five hundred units of Sonoran cavalry against Glanton’s gang. Elias succeeds in driving the gang out of Mexico for good.
The leader of the Apaches who are plaguing Chihuahua. Though Governor Trias offers Glanton’s gang one thousand dollars for Gómez’s head, the scalp hunters fail to kill him.
Mangas Colorado
An Apache tribal chief. After Glanton’s horse bites the ear of an Apache’s horse outside of Tucson, Mangas demands that the gang provide restitution in the form of a barrel of whiskey. The gang does so, albeit rather cheatingly.
Caballo en Pelo
The one-eyed leader of the Yumas. He conspires with Glanton’s gang to seize Lincoln’s ferry, but is betrayed by the gang. In retribution, he orchestrates a raid on the ferry, resulting in the gang’s destruction; Caballo en Pelo slaughters Glanton personally.
One of the three Yuma leaders who conspire with Glanton’s gang to seize Lincoln’s ferry
The leader of a band of Apaches being hunted by the Sonoran Colonel Garcia; also one of the three Yuma leaders who conspire with Glanton’s gang to seize Lincoln’s ferry.
Lieutenant Couts
The commander of the garrison in Tucson. After Owens is murdered in his eating-house, Couts attempts to arrest the wrongdoer, whom he knows to be a member of Glanton’s gang. However, the Judge successfully defends the gang from all charges of wrongdoing.
General Patterson
Leads a company of U.S. soldiers from Kentucky. After refusing to barter with Glanton for ferried passage over the Colorado River, Patterson has a ferry constructed downriver, later appropriated by the Yumas.
A man staying in the hotel in Nacogdoches, Texas, and an enemy of Louis Toadvine for reasons not explained. Toadvine and the kid team up to smoke Sidney out of his room and pulverize him, burning down the hotel in the process.
A Jewish arms dealer from Prussia, Speyer sells Glanton some four-dozen Colt revolvers on the outskirts of Chihuahua City.
Cloyce Bell
A man whom Glanton’s gang encounters in Tucson, Cloyce keeps his imbecilic brother, generally called the idiot, in a filthy cage and exhibits him for money.
A farrier in Tucson, Pacheco uses for his anvil an “enormous iron meteorite” on which the Judge tests his strength. The judge successfully throws it.
Sarah Borginnis
A woman who, at Lincoln’s ferry crossing, shames Cloyce Bell for keeping his brother, the idiot, in a cage. She bathes the idiot in the Colorado River and orders that his cage be burnt.
Operates the ferry appropriated by the Yumas after General Patterson builds and abandons it. Murdered and decapitated, probably by Glanton’s gang.
A soldier in San Diego who brings the jailed David Brown supper. Brown bribes Petit to free him, and with some hesitation Petit does so. As the two men ride out of San Diego, Brown shoots Petit in the back of the head.
The Digger
The anonymous and mysterious man in the epilogue who uses a steel instrument to make holes in the ground and strike fire in them. Is he a hero rising up with fire against the Judge’s dream of eternal night rife with war?