Killers of the Flower Moon

by

David Grann

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Killers of the Flower Moon Characters

David Grann

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

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, Grannread analysis of Tom White

Mollie Burkhart

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

Anna Brown

Mollie’s older sister Anna, the eldest of their siblings, is a fun-loving, fast-drinking divorcee when she is murdered in cold blood in May of 1921. Her death becomes one of the first officially-recognized murders… read analysis of Anna Brown
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Rita Smith

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

Bill 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

Scott Mathis

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 Burkhartread 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

Kelsie Morrison

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 Brownread analysis of Kelsie Morrison

Blackie Thompson

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

Asa Kirby

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
Minor Characters
Ernest Burkhart
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.
Bryan Burkhart
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.
Lizzie
Mollie, Rita, Anna, and the late Minnie’s mother, who dies from a suspected long-term poisoning just months after Anna’s murder.
Oda Brown
Anna Brown’s former husband.
Charles Whitehorn
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.
John Burger
An agent who works with Tom White on the investigation of the Osage murders.
Frank Smith
An imposing, rugged Texan man and a federal agent whom Tom White enlists to aid in the investigation of the Osage murders.
John Wren
A federal agent, former spy, and “rarity” in the bureau of intelligence due to his American Indian heritage.
James Bigheart
An Osage chief who worked to secure fairer terms of allotment for his tribe in the early 1900s.
George Bigheart
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.
Rose Osage
An Osage woman who claims, falsely, to have murdered Anna Brown.
William Stepson
An Osage Indian who is poisoned to death in February of 1922.
Henry Roan
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.
Barney McBride
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.
W.W. Vaughan
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.
Henry Grammer
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.
John Ramsey
An outlaw who is recruited by Hale to perform—and who is ultimately convicted alongside him in—the murder of Henry Roan.
Dick Gregg
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.
Burt Lawson
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.
Pike
A corrupt private eye “hired” by Hale in 1921 to look into the Osage murders.
H.G. Burt
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.
Margie Burkhart
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.