No Country for Old Men

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A Vietnam Veteran, Llewellyn Moss is a strong willed and self-sufficient man. Moss stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and takes a briefcase full of drug money from the scene. This action sets in motion a train of circumstances that force him to use his military training and survival skills in order to evade the dangerous men seeking his death. Moss has been disillusioned by his experience fighting in Vietnam, and does not operate in the world with the same moral framework as Bell. His sense of morality comes from within, through his desire for authenticity, autonomy, and freedom. His actions through the narrative are morally complex. Because Moss’s objectives are authenticity, autonomy, and freedom, he refuses to cooperate with Chigurh when he offers to spare Carla Jean’s life in exchange for the money. Moss’s sense of self-sufficiency leads him to believe he can overcome Chigurh, but this mistake ultimately leads to his and Carla Jean’s demise.

Llewellyn Moss Quotes in No Country for Old Men

The No Country for Old Men quotes below are all either spoken by Llewellyn Moss or refer to Llewellyn Moss. 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:
Philosophy, Morality, and Ethics Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of No Country for Old Men published in 2006.
Chapter 1 Quotes

He sat there looking at [the money] and then he closed the flap and sat with his head down. His whole life was sitting there in front of him. Day after day from dawn till dark until he was dead. All of it cooked down into forty pounds of paper in a satchel.

Related Characters: Llewellyn Moss (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Briefcase
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

Llewellyn Moss discovers a mysterious briefcase full of money. As Moss opens the briefcase, he sees millions of dollars, and feels that his "whole life" is sitting there.

What does Moss mean by "whole life?" One could say that Moss is excited by the prospect of never having to work again--with the money in the briefcase, Moss could have an easy, leisurely life, totally unlike the one he has now. More sinisterly, though, Moss's thoughts seem to foreshadow his own death. By choosing to live and die over a briefcase of money, Moss makes the choice that will eventually lead to his execution. In short, the passage suggests the duality of Moss's apparent good fortune. The briefcase has the potential to be a blessing, but in reality it is cursed.

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Chapter 4 Quotes

[Moss] thought about a lot of things but the thing that stayed with him was that at some point he was going to have to quit running on luck.

Related Characters: Llewellyn Moss (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Briefcase
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:

Llewellyn Moss discovers that there's a tracking device in the briefcase of money that he's been carrying with him. The entire time, the owners of the briefcase have been able to track Moss's movements very precisely. Therefore, the only reason Moss isn't already dead is sheer dumb luck.

Moss seems to sense--if only on a deep, gut level--that he's running out of luck, and out of time. Put another way, he seems to realize that his possession of the briefcase is going to lead to his own death. And yet Moss doesn't surrender the briefcase--his desire to assert his own independence and free will has become greater than his desire for wealth.

Chapter 5 Quotes

You can’t make a deal with him. Let me say it again. Even if you gave him the money he’d still kill you. There’s no one alive on this planet that’s ever had even a cross word with him. They’re all dead. These are not good odds. He’s a peculiar man. You could even say that he has principals. Principals that transcend money or drugs or anything like that.

Related Characters: Carson Wells (speaker), Llewellyn Moss
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Carson Wells--a criminal and negotiator--tries to tell Llewellyn the truth about his situation. Wells knows that Moss is even now being hunted by Anton Chigurh, and he tells Moss that there's nothing he can do to escape Chigurh's vengeance. Moss cockily claims that he can "cut a deal" with Chigurh, but Moss disagrees: Chigurh doesn't bargain with his enemies--he tracks them down and kills them.

The passage helps us understand what kind of man Chigurh is. Moss--who trusts that money can buy anything--thinks that he can always pay off Chigurh in return for protection. But Chigurh isn't a regular human being--he doesn't let his short-term need for money distract him. Once Chigurh has decided to kill a man, nothing can distract him from his goal--not even the offer of millions of dollars.

The irony of Wells's speech is that Chigurh comes off as being much more "principled" than either Wells or Moss. Where Moss trusts that money is the ultimate source of power, Chigurh appeals to a higher set of rules. What, exactly, these rules are is unclear. And yet, peculiarly, Chigurh's refusal to be "bought" is what makes him stand out from the rest of society.

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Llewellyn Moss Character Timeline in No Country for Old Men

The timeline below shows where the character Llewellyn Moss appears in No Country for Old Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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The narrative then moves to Llewellyn Moss. Moss positions himself on a ridge with his rifle and binoculars. It is early morning,... (full context)
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Moss fires. It takes the bullet a second to get there, but the sound takes twice... (full context)
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Moss sets out across the desert. As he climbs another slope, he looks out and sees... (full context)
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Moss approaches the vehicles with his rifle drawn, and the safety off. Among the dead bodies,... (full context)
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Moss discovers bricks of heroin covered in a tarp in the rear of the truck. He... (full context)
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Moss realizes someone has survived the carnage, and discovers a trail of blood across the caldera.... (full context)
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...against a rock. A government issue .45 automatic and a leather briefcase rest beside him. Moss takes the gun and tries to wipe the blood off the grip but it is... (full context)
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Before leaving, Moss considers the dead man and the way his life ended in this place. Then Moss... (full context)
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Moss walks for several hours before reaching his truck. He leaves his headlights off until he... (full context)
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Inside, Moss finds Carla Jean sitting on the couch. She asks what is in the briefcase. He... (full context)
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Moss wakes up at 1:06am and sits up. He looks at Carla Jean, still asleep, and... (full context)
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Carla Jean wakes up as Moss is getting dressed. She asks him where he is going, and he tells her he... (full context)
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Moss stops at a filling station to study a map of the terrain. He has all... (full context)
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Before Moss parks the car, he takes the bulb out of the dome light. He takes the... (full context)
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As Moss makes his way back to his truck, he sees someone standing beside it. He realizes... (full context)
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Moss runs toward the sound of a river, realizing that he needs to be somewhere with... (full context)
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Moss falls down a steep bank, and lands hard letting out a groan. Two men appear... (full context)
Chapter 2
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The narrative moves to Moss who is taking a bus home after escaping from the Mexicans. When he walks in... (full context)
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Moss tells Carla Jean she needs to pack her things. Whatever she doesn’t take, he says,... (full context)
Chapter 3
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The narrative moves to Moss as he says goodbye to Carla Jean, telling her he will call her in a... (full context)
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...about that night based on the composition of tire tracks in the dirt. They identify Moss’s truck at the scene of the crime, as both Bell and Wendell recognize it. Wendell... (full context)
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The narrative moves to Chigurh as he drives to Moss’s trailer. He knocks on the door, waits, and when no answer comes, he uses the... (full context)
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Chigurh drives up to the trailer park’s front office and asks the receptionist about Moss. She says Moss is probably at work, and when Chigurh asks her where he works,... (full context)
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The narrative moves to Moss as he gets off a bus in Del Rio, Texas. He takes a cab to... (full context)
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In his room, Moss takes lays his on the bed beside him. He takes a nap, and when he... (full context)
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Moss wakes up in the dark. He looks out the window, finding nothing but deep shadows... (full context)
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Moss takes a cab back to the motel after leaving Mexico. As the cab approaches the... (full context)
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Moss spends the night at a Ramada Inn. He eats breakfast, and wonders if whoever is... (full context)
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In his motel room, Moss saws off the shotgun’s barrel and stock off and files them smooth. Then, he loads... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Bell and Wendell go to Moss’s trailer. They enter cautiously, and Bell notes that there is no reason in the world... (full context)
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...scene. Bell is agreeable, but it is clear that he doesn’t like McIntyre. McIntyre examines Moss’s truck, and notes that the vehicle is not full of bullet holes like the others.... (full context)
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The narrative then moves back to Moss. He pays the cab driver who brought him back to the motel, and enters the... (full context)
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As Moss attempts to get the briefcase through the vent, Chigurh drives through the motel parking lot... (full context)
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Chigurh searches the room, finding Moss’s machinegun resting on the sink. He wipes the blood from the soles of his boots... (full context)
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The narrative switches to Moss. He takes a cab to the Hotel Eagle in Eagle Pass, Texas. The clerk is... (full context)
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Moss goes to the front desk and gives the night clerk a hundred dollar bill. He... (full context)
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The phone doesn’t ring, but something wakes Moss a couple of hours later. He gets up and presses his ear against the door.... (full context)
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Moss hides under the bed and waits with the shotgun facing the door. Chigurh enters the... (full context)
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Moss pushes the bed to the side, and grabs the briefcase. Moss notes that Chigurh doesn’t... (full context)
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By the time Moss reaches the other side of the street, Chigurh is on the motel balcony. Moss feels... (full context)
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Moss packs his gun in his bag, and crosses the bridge into Mexico. He feels cold... (full context)
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Moss stops on the bridge between the U.S. and Mexico, directly over the river. He throws... (full context)
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An old man approaches with a broom, and Moss calls out to him, asking if he speaks English. The man shrugs his shoulders. Moss... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Bell and Carla Jean continue talking about Moss. Bell says he is going to end up killing someone. Carla Jean says he never... (full context)
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Carla Jean tells Bell about the job she had at Wal-Mart before she met Moss. The night before she started the job, she had a dream that she would meet... (full context)
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Before they leave, Carla Jean asks Bell if he really cares about Moss. He says that the people of the county hired him to look after them. He... (full context)
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...the motel. The sheriff says it was a drug dealer. They examine the blood trail Moss left on his way to Mexico, and then inventory the guns involved—a shotgun and two... (full context)
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...There is too much money in drug dealing. Loretta asks how much money Bell thinks Moss has. He says it’s hard to say, but it could be millions. She gets him... (full context)
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...and falls asleep with his gun beside him. He wakes at dusk, and goes to Moss’s former room. He enters without disturbing the police tape and looks around. He checks the... (full context)
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...walks through the center of Eagle Pass taking mental notes of the crime scene, noticing Moss’s blood on the sidewalk, bullet holes in the buildings, and teardrop smears of lead bullets.... (full context)
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Moss wakes up in a Mexican hospital and finds Wells sitting beside his bed holding a... (full context)
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Moss tells Wells he looks like an idiot sitting there with the flowers. Wells puts them... (full context)
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Wells asks Moss how he knows Chigurh is not on his way to Odessa to Kill Carla Jean.... (full context)
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Moss tells Wells he may just disappear. Wells tells him it only took three hours to... (full context)
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Moss asks Wells why he would even tell him about Chigurh. Wells says that he is... (full context)
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Wells asks Moss what he does for a living. Moss tells him he is retired, but he used... (full context)
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Wells tells Moss that he works for people who won’t give up on finding the money. Even if... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...to Wells as he examines the bridge that crosses the river into Mexico. He studies Moss’s blood marks on the sidewalk. He walks further along before finding blood on the chain-link... (full context)
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...a room. He can’t understand why the tracker is back at the hotel. He assumes Moss is dead, so he thinks it’s either the police or some agent from the Matacumbe... (full context)
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...not a police officer. He says yes, she can. Afterward, he goes to the room Moss rented before the shoot out. Inside, he finds the tracking unit where Moss left it... (full context)
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Chigurh tells Wells getting shot by Moss changed his perspective. He speaks about an experience he had in a town by the... (full context)
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...He checks Wells’ rental car, and as he looks around, Wells’ phone rings. It is Moss calling from the hospital. Chigurh answers. (full context)
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From Mexico, Moss calls Carla Jean before calling Wells’ phone. Carla Jean’s grandmother answers, telling him she doesn’t... (full context)
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Moss calls Wells’ phone and Chigurh picks up. He tells Moss he needs to come see... (full context)
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Moss leaves the hospital before daylight, shoeless, and dressed in the hospital gown with his jacket... (full context)
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The guard brings Moss inside and questions him, making it clear that only some citizens get to go in... (full context)
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Once Moss crosses into the U.S., he goes to a clothing store. The store is closed, but... (full context)
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...asks if Bell has a “dog in this hunt”, and Bell says tells him about Moss and Carla Jean. The Sheriff asks if they are family. Bell says no, but they... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Moss awakens in a motel room on the edge of Eagles Pass. He showers, shaves, and... (full context)
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When Moss and the cab driver reach the river road, Moss takes the bulb from the dome... (full context)
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Moss spends the night in the Rodeway Inn on Highway 90. The next morning, he realizes... (full context)
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After leaving the motel, Moss buys a 1978 Ford Pickup truck from a car lot, and pays for it in... (full context)
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The young woman asks if Moss is running from the law. Moss asks, “what if I was?” If he was, she... (full context)
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...motel outside of El Paso. She asks Bell to promise that he will not harm Moss if she reveals his location. Bell gives her his word. (full context)
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...trailer, wearing a headset and writing on a pad of paper. He is somehow tracking Moss. He takes the headset off, and looks toward the rear of the trailer where another... (full context)
Chapter 8
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The narrative then moves to Moss and the young woman. They sit in a restaurant, talking. She asks him if he... (full context)
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Moss and the young woman drive until after dark. They pull into a truck stop, and... (full context)
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The young woman says she doesn’t like to think about the deep questions Moss is presenting to her. She says she doesn’t know what the point is. Moss says... (full context)
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Moss and the young woman go to a motel in Van Horn, and Moss gets them... (full context)
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...the conversation, the young woman says she has a feeling she should be afraid of Moss, but she isn’t. Moss says he can’t give her advice about that, but most people... (full context)
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...Baracuda. He pulls into a car wash. He has just left a shootout, in which Moss and the young woman were killed along with his partner. He gets some quarters from... (full context)
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The narrative moves to Bell as he drives out to Van Horn, where Moss and the young hitchhiker were killed at the motel. On the way, he passes a... (full context)
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At the hospital, Bell and the sheriff go into the mortuary. Moss is lying dead on the table, covered by a sheet. The sheriff asks Bell if... (full context)
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...that evening, after the officers have left the scene, Chigurh goes to the motel where Moss and the young woman were killed. He knocks the cylinder out of the doorknob and... (full context)
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...café the next morning. He searches the newspaper, but finds they have not written about Moss and the young woman yet. He asks the waitress when the evening paper gets in,... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...again issuing a monologue from the present, wishes he could have told Carla Jean that Moss didn’t sleep with the young woman he picked up, and was instead just trying to... (full context)
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...Chigurh. She tells him that her husband is dead, and the promise Chigurh made to Moss to kill her should no longer matters. Chigurh disagrees, saying that his word is not... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Bell tracks down Moss’s father and goes to visit him. They sit on the front porch and drink iced... (full context)
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Moss’s father tells Bell about the difference between WWII and Vietnam. When the Vietnam veterans came... (full context)