All the Pretty Horses

The captain Character Analysis

A Mexican official of ambiguous authority, he is brutal and unforgiving. After being laughed at as a boy, he is haunted by the memory and acts viciously and pitilessly as a result. He is the one to kill Blevins, and he tortures John Grady and Rawlins as well. It turns out that the captain is weak and cowardly, as John Grady learns when he travels with him as a hostage on horseback.

The captain Quotes in All the Pretty Horses

The All the Pretty Horses quotes below are all either spoken by The captain or refer to The captain. 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:
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of All the Pretty Horses published in 1993.
Part 3 Quotes

We can make the truth here. Or we can lose it. but when you leave here it will be too late. Too late for truth. Then you will be in the hands of other parties. Who can say what the truth will be then? At that time?

Related Characters: The captain (speaker), John Grady Cole
Page Number: 168
Explanation and Analysis:

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John Grady watched the small ragged figure vanish limping among the trees with his keepers. There seemed insufficient substance to him to be the object of men’s wrath. There seemed nothing about him sufficient to fuel any enterprise at all.

Related Characters: John Grady Cole, Lacey Rawlins, Jimmy Blevins, The captain
Page Number: 177
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Yet the captain inhabited another space and it was a space of his own election and outside the common world of men. A space privileged to men of the irreclaimable act which while it contained all lesser worlds within it contained no access to them. For the terms of election were of a piece with its office and once chosen that world could not be quit.

Related Characters: The captain
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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The captain Character Timeline in All the Pretty Horses

The timeline below shows where the character The captain appears in All the Pretty Horses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 3
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
In the morning two guards handcuff Rawlins and lead him away to the captain, who’s reading a three-day-old newspaper. He asks for identification, and Rawlins gives him his billfold... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
The captain insists Rawlins tell him his real name. He says Blevins is Rawlins’ brother, and asks... (full context)
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
The captain tells John Grady that his friend told them everything, and it would be best for... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
The captain leans back, taking a cigarette from his shirt pocket, and his posture seems artificial with... (full context)
Fate and Responsibility Theme Icon
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
...later John Grady, Blevins, and Rawlins are led from their cell onto a truck. The captain and guards exchange words they can’t hear. The two young girls from earlier stand on... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
The captain takes one guard’s rifle, and that guard says “Vámonos” (Let’s go), but “just the boy.”... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Fate and Responsibility Theme Icon
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
...and they reach Saltillo by ten that night. The square opposite the cathedral, where the captain stops to get out, is vibrant and busy. They finally make it to the massive... (full context)
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
The captain says they’re not the first Americans in this prison. He has friends there, and they’ll... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
...why no one’s looked after them better, if they think they’re rich Americans, as the captain had intimated. He says he never imagined there was such a place as this, but... (full context)
Part 4
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
...through the streets to the old school, where he breaks in to sit at the captain’s desk and take out the handcuffs. The captain enters to see John Grady aiming his... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...at him. Suddenly a man steps into a doorway, and John Grady whispers at the captain to say they have a thief and need to see the American horse. The man... (full context)
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
...charro and tells him to bridle Blevins’ horse. He snaps the handcuffs back onto the captain, tells the charro to wait there, and pushes the captain toward the door. John Grady... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
...the charro to bring a saddle and bridle for his horse or he’ll kill the captain. He speaks slowly to Redbo as the charro obeys, and then looks down at his... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
They set out back toward Encantada, the captain complaining about his dislocated shoulder, which John Grady ignores. Ten minutes later four riders appear... (full context)
Fate and Responsibility Theme Icon
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
They ride through the brush and stop to rest by a creek. The captain asks why John Grady won’t leave him here, and John Grady replies that the captain... (full context)
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
...side in agony. He pours water on his leg, gasping. When he turns around the captain is standing over him with the rifle. He demands the handcuff keys, but John Grady... (full context)
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
At dawn they rest and drink water. The captain says he can go no farther, but John Grady says they will. They rest again... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
...a rifle tells him to give him his keys, and he continues on to the captain, handcuffing him. He asks which of the horses are John Grady’s. They all are, he... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Fate and Responsibility Theme Icon
...again, but doesn’t feel good about it. John Grady says he almost killed someone again—the captain. But he didn’t: he doesn’t know why he wanted to. The judge says that’s between... (full context)