The author and narrator of Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann is a journalist who finds himself transfixed by the story of the Osage Reign of Terror and by the fact that—despite its brutality… read analysis of David Grann
Tom White, an imposing former Texas Ranger, is in 1925 sent by J. Edgar Hoover’s bureau of investigation to look into the Osage murders and hopefully unearth the perpetrator—or perpetrators. Throughout the text, Grann… read analysis of Tom White
One of the text’s three major protagonists, Mollie is an Osage woman who soon becomes a “marked woman”—the final intended victim in a vast and evil conspiracy to consolidate and strip away her oil-rich family’s… read analysis of Mollie Burkhart
William K. Hale
A well-loved figure in Osage County who is even known by the moniker “King of the Osage Hills.” A former cattleman who has risen to prominence over the years and become a deputy sheriff and… read analysis of William K. Hale
Mollie’s sister, a woman so “blind[ly]” in love with her violent husband Bill that she stands by him and refuses to leave him even when he physically assaults her. Many suspect that Bill has… read analysis of Rita Smith
Mollie’s sister Rita Smith’s husband, and an occasionally violent man. He was previously married to Minnie, but when she died of a mysterious wasting illness in 1917, he remarried Rita. Bill and Rita… read analysis of Bill Smith
The proprietor of a large general store, the Big Hill Trading Company—and the guardian of Anna and Lizzie’s financial affairs. He is eventually revealed to be “a crook and evidently in the power of… read analysis of Scott Mathis
James and David Shoun
A pair of brothers who work as doctors in Osage county. They are trusted members of the community, and are instrumental in conducting autopsies, administering treatments (one of their patients is the diabetic Mollie Burkhart… read analysis of James and David Shoun
J. Edgar Hoover
The new director of the bureau of intelligence in 1925, a particular and imposing man whose short stature, paranoia, and germaphobia make him a contradictory but singular figure. Hoover, desperate to maintain control over and… read analysis of J. Edgar Hoover
A notorious bootlegger who agrees to work as a bureau informant—but ultimately double-crosses them by working as a double agent for Hale. It is eventually revealed that not only did Morrison kill Anna Brown… read analysis of Kelsie Morrison
A notorious outlaw who is released from prison in order to go undercover and aid the bureau in gathering evidence on the Osage killings. Blackie abuses his freedom, though, and robs a bank, kills a… read analysis of Blackie Thompson
An outlaw and explosives expert. An associate of Henry Grammer, Kirby designed the bomb used in the demolition of Bill and Rita Smith’s house—but was dead before he could testify his involvement, seemingly… read analysis of Asa Kirby
Mollie’s husband Ernest, who seems at first a loving and supportive partner, is eventually revealed to be working with his uncle, the villainous William K. Hale, in a plot to consolidate and overtake Mollie’s family’s oil fortune.
Ernest’s brother Bryan is the last person to see Anna Brown alive, and is eventually revealed to have played a role in her murder.
Mollie, Rita, Anna, and the late Minnie’s mother, who dies from a suspected long-term poisoning just months after Anna’s murder.
Anna Brown’s former husband.
An Osage man who is found murdered by gunshot in the middle of May of 1921, just days before Anna Brown’s body is discovered. His murderer is never found, and his case is never closed.
Harve M. Freas
The sheriff of Osage County during the Reign of Terror.
An agent who works with Tom White on the investigation of the Osage murders.
An imposing, rugged Texan man and a federal agent whom Tom White enlists to aid in the investigation of the Osage murders.
A federal agent, former spy, and “rarity” in the bureau of intelligence due to his American Indian heritage.
An Osage chief who worked to secure fairer terms of allotment for his tribe in the early 1900s.
A nephew of the “legendary” James Bigheart who becomes a victim of murder by poisoning as part of a conspiracy between William Hale and H.G. Burt to steal a large sum of money from his estate.
An Osage woman who claims, falsely, to have murdered Anna Brown.
An Osage Indian who is poisoned to death in February of 1922.
An Osage Indian who is found dead in his car in February of 1923. Hale had, through a series of complicated and suspect maneuvers, made himself the beneficiary of Roan’s generous life insurance policy after claiming that Roan owed him a large sum of money.
A wealthy oilman who is stabbed, stripped, and left for dead while travelling to Washington D.C. to urge federal authorities to investigate the Osage murders.
A Pawhuska attorney and former prosecutor who was working to solve the Osage murder cases when he himself was killed in June of 1923—after he supposedly got too close to solving part of the killings.
An ex-rodeo star and current moonshine distributor and outlaw. Tom White and his agents long to question Grammer about William Hale but find that Grammer has died—under suspicious circumstances—by the time they track him down.
An outlaw who is recruited by Hale to perform—and who is ultimately convicted alongside him in—the murder of Henry Roan.
A “dreaded” outlaw serving a ten-year sentence in a Kansas penitentiary. He meets with Tom White’s agents and reveals that in 1922, Hale attempted to hire Gregg and the other members of his gang to “bump off” Bill and Rita Smith. Gregg and his gang refused the job.
An outlaw who gives erroneous information about the killings of Bill and Rita Smith to Tom White in pursuit of securing leniency for his own sentence.
A corrupt private eye “hired” by Hale in 1921 to look into the Osage murders.
A corrupt banker suspected of murdering W.W. Vaughan, Burt was the “guardian” of several Osage, and may have murdered—hired someone else to murder—at least one of his wards.
The granddaughter of Mollie Burkhart and the daughter of James “Cowboy” Burkhart, Margie is an Osage woman living in present-day Oklahoma who, when returning to visit the Osage reservation, must confront the pain, trauma, and loss which have come to define her family.
Kathryn Red Corn
The director of the Osage Nation Museum who shows Grann photographs and artifacts from the Reign of Terror and tells him stories passed down from the period that don’t exist in the historical records.
Mary Jo Webb
A retired teacher and Osage tribe member whom Grann meets with during his sojourn to Osage County.