Montana 1948

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Frank is Wesley’s brother. He is a highly charismatic and handsome doctor and war hero and is greatly liked by many in the community. However, he sexually abuses Native American women who come to him seeking medical care. Marie Little Soldier discloses this information to Gail, and Frank (presumably) kills her in retribution. Frank essentially admits his crimes to Wesley, and Wesley later comments that Frank showed no remorse at all and thought Marie Little Soldier was less worthy than a dog.

Frank Hayden Quotes in Montana 1948

The Montana 1948 quotes below are all either spoken by Frank Hayden or refer to Frank Hayden. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Milkweed Editions edition of Montana 1948 published in 1993.
Chapter 1 Quotes

“Are you telling me this because I’m Frank’s brother? Because I’m your husband? Because I’m Marie’s employer?...or because I’m the sheriff?”

Related Characters: Wesley Hayden (speaker), Gail Hayden, Marie Little Soldier, Frank Hayden
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Wesley becomes aware that his brother, Frank, may have been molesting Native American patients. Wesley's wife, Gail, has been talking to Marie Little Soldier, a Native American woman whom Frank may have molested recently. Wesley is at first reluctant to believe that his charismatic, heroic brother could be a criminal. He lashes out at Gail, asking her why she's telling him about his brother. He wonders if Gail is speaking to him as Frank's brother, the sheriff, Marie's boss, etc.

In short, the passage shows Wesley in the grips of an identity crisis. He isn't sure what he is: should he define himself by his profession, his father, his brother, etc.? By investigating his brother's indiscretions, Wesley will have to come to terms with family loyalty and unbiased justice, and he'll also learn to carve out an identity for himself.

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I was beginning already to think of Uncle Frank as a criminal…Charming, affable Uncle Frank was gone for good.

Related Characters: David Hayden (speaker), Frank Hayden
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

David begins to believe what his mother has been saying about Frank: that he's a molester of his patients, abusing his relationship with Native Americans. It's worth noting how quickly David changes his mind about Frank--it happens almost immediately. David isn't quite old enough to understand the nature of Frank's sexual improprieties (he barely understands his own sexuality, much less his uncle's), but merely witnessing his parents' fraught exchange about Frank has already changed the image of "Uncle Frank" in David's mind forever. The old idea of the "charming, affable Uncle Frank" whom David was unquestionably loyal to was a kind of innocence for David, and once that innocence has been lost--even if it turns out that the charges against Frank are baseless--it can never be wholly gotten back.

He was not only her husband, he was a brother…brother to a pervert!

Related Characters: David Hayden (speaker), Wesley Hayden, Gail Hayden, Frank Hayden
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, David becomes aware of his father's resemblance to Uncle Frank--a man David now suddenly regards as a sexual pervert. David notices that his father is calmly eating a piece of pie--a strange behavior, considering how recently he found out about Marie's molestation. Furthermore, David is disgusted by Wesley's resemblance to Frank, and suddenly finds it impossible to look his father in the face.

The passage is interesting because it shows David adopting an instinctive moral pose. He seems to be judging his father for acting so casually--suggesting that David has matured almost overnight because of the incident with Frank. Furthermore, while David's response to his father's resemblance to Frank is a little immature, it brings up a serious point: should we ever be judged for our family's actions? Intuitively, it seems, the answer is no: Wesley might look like Frank, but he's not responsible for Frank's sins in any way. Wesley's actions, however--trying to downplay the accusations against Frank, and (at this point) seemingly choosing family loyalty over unbiased justice--are worth judging.

Chapter 2 Quotes

He had long since stopped being my father. He was now my interrogator, my cross-examiner. The Sheriff. My Uncle’s brother.

Related Characters: David Hayden (speaker), Wesley Hayden, Frank Hayden
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, David explains to his parents that he’s seen Frank walking to and from the house the previous afternoon. Wesley is very curious about David’s story: he asks David lots of questions about when, exactly, Frank was walking around the house, and what he looked like. As David answers his father’s questions, he can feel his father transforming into a different kind of person altogether. Wesley isn’t acting fatherly at all: on the contrary, he’s acting like a sheriff—deliberate, sharp, serious, etc. David also notes that Wesley is acting like Frank’s brother. The big question in the second half of the book is whether or not Wesley is capable of being sheriff and Frank’s brother (and David's father, as David himself is now involved) at the same time—how to parse out the different parts of his identity, weighing loyalty against justice, family against the law.

Chapter 3 Quotes

“Screwing an Indian. Or feeling her up or whatever. You don’t lock up a man for that. You don’t lock up your brother. A respected man. A war hero.”

Related Characters: Grandpa Hayden (Julian) (speaker), Wesley Hayden, Frank Hayden
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, David eavesdrops on his grandfather Julian as he verbally abuses Wesley, David’s father. Wesley is suggesting to Julian that Frank—who’s always been the favorite child—should be sent to prison for molesting his Native American patients. Julian doesn’t deny that Frank has molested some Native American women; he simply says that such actions aren’t really crimes at all.

Put bluntly: Julian is an openly racist character—someone who doesn’t consider Native Americans “real” Americans, or even real humans, deserving of basic dignity and rights. Thus, he lashes out at Wesley for suggesting that Frank is anything other than a great man. Julian argues that Wesley shouldn’t arrest his own brother—and yet Frank, in spite of being Wesley’s brother, is a vile criminal, and deserves to be locked up. One wonders how much of Wesley’s motivation for arresting his brother is an abstract respect for the law and how much is his desire to assert his independence from his own family and his overbearing, racist father.

A murderer may have been locked up a floor below and the molecules of his victim’s dying breath still floating in the air, yet these were not strong enough finally to stand up to my boy’s hunger for chocolate cake.

Related Characters: David Hayden (speaker), Marie Little Soldier, Frank Hayden
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we’re reminded that David is still a young boy. He’s learned a lot of disturbing stuff about his family recently, and yet he’s still a fairly immature 12-year-old kid who likes cake. Wesley brings home some chocolate cake the afternoon after his argument with Grandpa Julian, perhaps to take care of David and reassure him that everything is going to be okay. Wesley’s kindness to his son contrasts markedly with Julian’s cruelty toward his own child, Wesley. Wesley seems to have learned how to be a good father by doing exactly the opposite of what Julian did to him.

“He’s guilty as sin, Gail. He told me as much…Goddamn it! What could I have been thinking of? Maybe a jury will cut him loose. I won’t. By God, I won’t.”

Related Characters: Wesley Hayden (speaker), Gail Hayden, Frank Hayden
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Wesley spells out some of the consequences of arresting his brother for the murder of Marie. Frank has most definitely killed Marie—he admitted it to Wesley moments before. Now, Wesley is prepared to arrest Frank for his murder, in spite of the fact that they’re brothers. Wesley recognizes that it seems unjust to punish one’s own family so harshly, and yet he also recognizes his duties as the sheriff of the community.

It’s important to note that Wesley’s philosophy of justice, and that of the townspeople, reverses 180 degrees here. Previously, it has seemed that Wesley might pardon Frank for his actions, acting out of brotherly loyalty and respect for the Hayden name. Now, however, it’s clear that Wesley will enact justice “by the book,” while the jury might clear Frank out of respect for the Hayden name. As Wesley investigates Frank’s crimes further and further, his commitment to justice becomes more intense.

You see, I knew—I knew! I knew! —that Uncle Frank’s suicide had solved all our problems.

Related Characters: David Hayden (speaker), Frank Hayden
Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of Chapter 3, Uncle Frank, imprisoned in the basement of the house, slits his own wrists with broken glass jars, ending his own life. Frank doesn’t want to be humiliated in public for his acts of molestation, and perhaps he finally feels some guilt for his crimes—we never know. David thinks that Uncle Frank’s suicide will end the family dispute: Frank will never be taken to court, never tried for his actions, and never tarnish the family name or unfairly escape justice.

Of course, it’s important to take David’s words with a grain of salt. Frank’s suicide does not end the family’s problems at all; it just starts some new problems. Frank’s death will always be a black mark on the family history; furthermore, we’re given every reason to believe that Julian will blame Wesley for his favorite son’s death: Frank will be a martyr from now on. David is still an immature kid, naively confident that Frank's "disappearance" suddenly solves everything.

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Frank Hayden Character Timeline in Montana 1948

The timeline below shows where the character Frank Hayden appears in Montana 1948. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...extra blankets and tells her to stay in bed until evening, when they can ask Dr. Hayden (Wesley’s brother) to come over. Marie protests, saying she doesn’t need a doctor, but Gail... (full context)
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
...promise to keep the doctor away from her. David protests that it’s just his Uncle Frank. Marie coughs violently and David rubs her back and feels that she is shaking all... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
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...and cook. Gail goes to check on Marie, and then tells Wesley he better call Frank, as Marie’s fever has worsened. David insists that Marie doesn’t want to see a doctor,... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
...gets on the phone immediately. David hears has father tell his Aunt Gloria to put Frank on the phone. Gloria is one of the prettiest women David has ever seen—and though... (full context)
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Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Wesley tells Frank that Marie is sick, and warns him she does not want to be treated by... (full context)
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Identity Theme Icon
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When Frank arrives David is struck by how handsome and charismatic he is. He feels sorry for... (full context)
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Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Uncle Frank asks for a drink and Wesley offers him some of Ole Norgaard’s homebrewed beer. Frank... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
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...porch. They hear muffled shouts of “no” coming from Marie’s room. Wesley ignores them. Finally Frank comes out and asks Wesley for a beer. Wesley leaves and David notices he feels... (full context)
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Wesley asks if Marie should be in a hospital. Frank responds that Marie would probably never agree to go. At this moment Gail comes outside... (full context)
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Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
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...take a deep breath and tell his father what Marie has told her: that Uncle Frank has been molesting Native American girls—his patients—for years. (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...and continues to rationalize in this way. Gail yells, and Wesley stops. Gail tells him Frank rapes these women, and makes them do demeaning things to themselves in the name of... (full context)
Identity Theme Icon
Gail doesn’t understand the question. Wesley asks if she’s telling him because he is Frank’s brother, because he is her husband, because he is Marie’s employer, or because he is... (full context)
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...to him and go straight to Marie’s room. While they are gone, David examines Uncle Frank’s fingerprints on his beer bottle. He realizes he is already beginning to think of Uncle... (full context)
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...Wesley the same way—he can hardly stand to look at his father, because he sees Frank’s features on his dad’s face. (full context)
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Gail emphatically asserts that David will never be treated by Frank again. David is nervous about being addressed, and hopes he doesn’t give away the fact... (full context)
Chapter 2
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
...trying to limit the number of witnesses to Marie’s testimony, in the interest of protecting Frank. (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...and Wesley had fought about going—Gail hadn’t wanted to accept the invitation because she knew Frank would be there. Wesley had argued that he couldn’t cut his parents out of his... (full context)
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When they arrive at Grandpa’s house, Frank’s car is already parked out front. The house is large and expensively decorated in a... (full context)
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
...David sees him, he realizes that Grandpa Hayden would never let anything bad happen to Frank, his favorite son. Wesley casually remarks to his father about the wind, and Julian responds... (full context)
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Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
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David hears his father ask Grandpa Hayden if he has a minute to talk about Frank. David has the brief hope that Grandpa Hayden will hear about Frank’s crimes and talk... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
This is the second time David has heard his Grandfather say something about Frank and Native American girls. At Frank’s wedding, Grandpa Hayden had said “now he’s got a... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
...trouble looking at her tonight because he can’t imagine that Gloria doesn’t know what Uncle Frank has been up to. David tries to suppress a series of thoughts about how Frank... (full context)
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After dinner David quickly excuses himself. He wonders if they will talk about Frank once he leaves, but realizes they can’t say anything in front of Grandmother Hayden, who... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...horse Nutty around his Grandfather’s ranch. As he rides, he sees his father and Uncle Frank talking down by a riverbank towards the back of the property. David dismounts, and sneaks... (full context)
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Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
On the way home Wesley tells Gail he talked to Frank. David pretends to b asleep in the backseat so that they will feel comfortable discussing... (full context)
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...home from fishing, neighbors are out on the porch staring at the house, and Uncle Frank is inside signing the death certificate. David knows before he even walks in the house... (full context)
Identity Theme Icon
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...parents comfort him, and everyone wonders how this could have happened. Marie’s fever was down. Frank simply says pneumonia patients often get worse after they seem to get better. David hears... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
...afternoon he’d seen something. They ask him what he’s saying. David says he saw Uncle Frank cutting through the back yard and going into the house around 3pm. He had been... (full context)
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Wesley desperately tries to rationalize this information. Perhaps Frank was merely checking in on his patient. Perhaps David was confused. David mentions that Len... (full context)
Chapter 3
Identity Theme Icon
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Three days after Marie’s death, Wesley brings Frank into the house. Frank seems cheerful, but Wesley looks ragged, and simply directs Frank to... (full context)
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That night Grandpa and Grandma Hayden come to the house demanding to know where Frank is (Gloria has talked to them). Grandpa Julian is yelling relentlessly at Wesley, and David... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
...through an air vent in the kitchen. Julian demands to know why Wesley would throw Frank in jail for “beating up some Indian.” Wesley realizes Gloria has not told Julian the... (full context)
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The next day Wesley leaves to see what other arrangements he can make for Frank. David thinks about how his family, once associated with power, prestige, and influence, will now... (full context)
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
...from. There is a long list of people whose behavior is tolerated by the townspeople—maybe Frank, and his molestation of Native American girls, will simply be added to this list. (full context)
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David cannot see women around town without wondering if they number among Frank’s victims. He is ashamed because the image of Frank abusing certain women stirs him sexually.... (full context)
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Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Gail tells Wesley he doesn’t have to do any of this—that he can just let Frank go. Wesley tells her she doesn’t mean that. She says she does—because Frank will never... (full context)
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They go back inside and Wesley goes down to the basement, presumably to release Frank. In the kitchen, Gail asks Len how Frank killed Marie. She no longer cares about... (full context)
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Wesley comes back upstairs looking angry, and says he will move Frank to the jail first thing in the morning. Gail drops her head. Wesley tells her... (full context)
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...of breaking glass. He goes downstairs to find his parents already awake. They tell him Frank is deliberately smashing the canning jars, one by one. Wesley says he is doing it... (full context)
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...already awake and sitting at the kitchen table. Wesley says he is waiting to hear Frank stir, and as soon as he does he’s going to go downstairs and take Frank... (full context)
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...chased by bullies, young Native American boys who were much bigger and stronger than them. Frank had protected Wesley and stood up for him. It is a fond memory for Wesley—his... (full context)
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When the coffee is finished Wesley says he will take some down to Frank now and wake him up if he isn’t awake already. He disappears downstairs and after... (full context)
Epilogue
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In December of 1948 David’s family moves away from Bentrock. Frank’s death has been explained away as an accident, and the coroner (the only other person... (full context)