Buried Child


Sam Shepard

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Buried Child Characters


A farmer now in his seventies, Dodge is the central character and sickly patriarch of the family. His once-prosperous farm is now barren and rundown, and he is an alcoholic invalid who tries to hide… (read full character analysis)


Dodge’s wife, who is in her sixties. Halie attempts to ignore the bleak circumstances around her by indulging in a mix of nostalgia, religion, and extra-marital sex. She worships the somewhat fictionalized memory her… (read full character analysis)


A man in his forties, Tilden is the eldest son of Dodge and Halie. He was a former all-American football player, but is now “burned out,” “profoundly displaced,” and seems to be mentally ill… (read full character analysis)


The other son of Dodge and Halie, and about five years younger than Tilden. Bradley is an amputee with a wooden leg—he supposedly cut his leg off with a chainsaw by accident. He… (read full character analysis)


A young man in his early twenties, and Tilden’s son by an unknown mother. Vince and his girlfriend Shelly stop by the farm unannounced, as Vince is apparently looking to reconnect with Tilden. When… (read full character analysis)
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Vince’s girlfriend, a young woman in her early twenties. At first she looks forward to meeting Vince’s family, as she imagines them to be quaint and romantic country folk. She is then spooked by… (read full character analysis)

Father Dewis

A protestant minister in his sixties. Halie speaks highly of him in act one, but when we meet him in act three, he is drunk, ineffectual, and lecherous. It’s implied that he’s having an affair… (read full character analysis)


Ansel is the third son of Dodge and Halie, and never appears onstage. Ansel dies decades before the events of the play. Halie remembers him as a model son, although the circumstances surrounding his… (read full character analysis)

The Baby / Buried Child

Sometime before Ansel’s death, but before Vince’s birth, Halie and Tilden had a child together. Dodge murdered this baby and buried it somewhere unknown, and the family has kept the secret for decades… (read full character analysis)