Killers of the Flower Moon

by

David Grann

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Killers of the Flower Moon can help.

Anna Brown Character Analysis

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 of the Osage Reign of Terror, and one of the reasons that federal investigators come to Oklahoma to look into the series of morbid and violent crimes.

Anna Brown Quotes in Killers of the Flower Moon

The Killers of the Flower Moon quotes below are all either spoken by Anna Brown or refer to Anna Brown. 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:
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Killers of the Flower Moon published in 2018.
Chapter 3 Quotes

Lizzie relied on Mollie to deal with the authorities. During Lizzie's lifetime, the Osage had become dramatically unmoored from their traditions. Louis F. Burns, an Osage historian, wrote that after oil was discovered, the tribe had been “set adrift in a strange world,” adding, “There was nothing familiar to clutch and stay afloat in the world of white man's wealth.” In the old days, an Osage clan, which included a group known as the Travelers in the Mist, would take the lead whenever the tribe was undergoing sudden changes or venturing into unfamiliar realms. Mollie, though she often felt bewildered by the upheaval around her took the lead for her family—a modern traveler in the mist. She spoke English and was married to a white man, and she had not succumbed to the temptations that had hurt many young members of the tribe, including Anna. To some Osage, especially elders like Lizzie, oil was a cursed blessing. “Some day this oil will go and there will be no more fat checks every few months from the Great White Father,” a chief of the Osage said in 1928. “There'll be no fine motorcars and new clothes. Then I know my people will be happier.”

Related Characters: David Grann (speaker), Mollie Burkhart, Anna Brown, Lizzie
Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: 27-28
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Killers of the Flower Moon LitChart as a printable PDF.
Killers of the Flower Moon PDF

Anna Brown Character Timeline in Killers of the Flower Moon

The timeline below shows where the character Anna Brown appears in Killers of the Flower Moon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Vanishing
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
Family, Legacy, and Trauma Theme Icon
...Gray Horse, Oklahoma, becomes fearful that something terrible has befallen one of her three sisters, Anna Brown. Anna, at thirty-four, is barely a year older than Mollie—she often goes off on... (full context)
Family, Legacy, and Trauma Theme Icon
Mollie was one of the last people to see Anna before she disappeared. On that day—May 21, 1921—Mollie woke early, a habit from childhood ingrained... (full context)
Family, Legacy, and Trauma Theme Icon
...with preparations while Mollie tended to her sick mother, Lizzie. Mollie asked Ernest to call Anna and ask her to come over to assist with preparations, and Anna soon arrived dressed... (full context)
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
Family, Legacy, and Trauma Theme Icon
As the guests began to arrive—including Ernest’s brothers Bryan and Horace—Anna became drunker and drunker, sipping from a hip flash of bootleg whiskey. Anna, who had... (full context)
Family, Legacy, and Trauma Theme Icon
...the next town over, Fairfax, to see a musical, Bryan offered to drop the intoxicated Anna at home. Mollie, who was planning on staying home with her mother Lizzie, helped sober... (full context)
Family, Legacy, and Trauma Theme Icon
Now that Anna has been missing for days, Mollie has grown more and more anxious. Bryan has insisted... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
News of Anna’s disappearance begins spreading throughout the reservation’s boomtowns. The “unease” throughout the reservation is compounded by... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
A week after Anna’s disappearance, an oil worker is on a hill a mile north of downtown Pawhuska when... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
Family, Legacy, and Trauma Theme Icon
...the creek. As Mollie and Rita approach the stinking, blackened, bloated body, they immediately recognize Anna’s Indian blanket and flashy clothing. When Rita’s husband, Bill, pries the corpse’s mouth open with... (full context)
Chapter 2: An Act of God or Man?
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
...of jurors—selected from the white men who have gathered at the ravine—try to determine whether Anna has died by an act of God or man. Two doctors who often care for... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
...places like Pawhuska—“lawmen were then still largely amateurs,” David Grann writes. At the time of Anna’s murder, the Osage County sheriff was a “fifty-eight-year-old, three-hundred-pound frontiersman” named Harve M. Freas, who,... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
History, Truth, and Lies Theme Icon
When Freas hears word about Anna’s murder, he is already preoccupied with the Whitehorn murder, and sends a deputy to the... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
...into poor health, and her fraught condition begins to worsen. Mollie throws herself into organizing Anna’s funeral, an exorbitantly expensive affair—undertakers at the time frequently charged the Osage unbelievable rates, gouging... (full context)
Family, Legacy, and Trauma Theme Icon
Anna’s funeral reflects a combination of Osage and Catholic traditions, yet due to the seriously compromised... (full context)
Chapter 3: King of the Osage Hills
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
The killings of both Anna Brown and Charles Whitehorn are quickly sensationalized in the local newspapers. Because both were killed... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
Family, Legacy, and Trauma Theme Icon
...hurt by the ways of life that have compromised some younger members of the tribe—like Anna. An Osage chief said, in 1928, that he feared his tribe would not know peace... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
Mollie, Bryan, and Ernest are all questioned about the last time they saw Anna. As Bryan was the last person to see her before her death, he and Ernest... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
Officials theorize that Anna’s killer, whoever he was, came from outside the reservation. Organized crime and lawlessness are rampant... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
Another theory about Anna’s death is that someone on the reservation committed the crime and is “living among them... (full context)
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
Several weeks after Anna’s funeral, Frea receives a letter from a man who has been arrested in Kansas for... (full context)
History, Truth, and Lies Theme Icon
...effectively securing the election for the man,) confers with him and other local officials about Anna’s murder. The county prosecutor, wanting to search again for the bullet, obtains an order to... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
By July of 1921, the justice of the peace has closed his inquiries and declared Anna’s death a mystery—just as he did with Whitehorn’s. Lizzie, meanwhile, has grown sicker and sicker,... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Devil’s Disciples
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
...in Osage County fail to look into Lizzie’s suspicious death—and make no headway in either Anna Brown or Charles Whitehorn’s murder investigations—both families turn to the only means at their disposal:... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
Hale recruits a “brooding” detective from Kansas City who goes by the name of Pike. Anna’s estate, meanwhile, is being administered by Scott Mathis, owner of the Big Hill Trading Company.... (full context)
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
...summer of 1921, the investigators hired by Mathis descend upon Osage County. They begin questioning Anna’s servants as well as Bryan Burkhart, and looking into Anna’s phone records from the night... (full context)
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
Back in Osage County, a woman named Rose Osage admits to killing Anna after Anna tried to seduce her boyfriend, Joe Allen. The operatives follow the lead, but... (full context)
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
...private detective to talk to a tailor who is rumored to have some information about Anna’s death—the tailor is still spreading the rumor about Rose Osage. The private detectives install a... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
...of his relationship with another woman. Wondering if Whitehorn could have been the father of Anna’s child, investigators begin tailing Hattie—but encounter no new developments. (full context)
Chapter 7: This Thing of Darkness
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
...Shoun brothers—return to the scene of the crime (which is, incidentally, the same ravine where Anna was murdered) and begin a coroner’s inquest. They determine that Roan was murdered about ten... (full context)
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
...controls an unseen world. Roan himself got whisky from Grammer’s ranch shortly before his death—and Anna most often got her whisky there, too. Grammer’s rap sheet is long and varied, and... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Undercover Cowboys
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
History, Truth, and Lies Theme Icon
...A few things become evident: rich Osage Indians are being targeted, and three of the victims—Anna, Rita, and Lizzie—were related. The files hold little information about Mollie, the last surviving member... (full context)
Chapter 10: Eliminating the Impossible
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
History, Truth, and Lies Theme Icon
...no evidence has been preserved from any of the crime scenes. The undertaker, however, saved Anna’s skull after she was disinterred, and allows White to examine it. He confirms that she... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
History, Truth, and Lies Theme Icon
...whatever remains, however improbably, must be the truth.” White quickly rules out many suspects, including Anna’s ex-husband, Oda Brown, and Rose Osage. The woman to whom Rose allegedly confessed now comes... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Third Man
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
...turned his “full attention” to Bryan Burkhart, Mollie’s brother-in-law—the last of the listed suspects in Anna Brown’s murder. Bryan’s alibi seems airtight, and yet when White sends his agents to corroborate... (full context)
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
...undercover operatives to the town of Ralston to follow up a lead: on the night Anna Brown disappeared, she might have been spotted in a car by a group of men... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
...despite knowing how dangerous it is to be associated with the case. They confirm that Anna and Bryan Burkhart were together in a car in Ralston on the night of Anna’s... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
Family, Legacy, and Trauma Theme Icon
White is now tasked with establishing where Anna and Bryan went after leaving Ralston. He makes a timeline: Bryan and Anna stopped at... (full context)
Chapter 12: A Wilderness of Mirrors
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
...a hidden dimension to the case—he was never really hired to solve the murder of Anna Brown, but was instead hired to conceal Bryan’s whereabouts on the night of the crime... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Hidden Face
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
Family, Legacy, and Trauma Theme Icon
History, Truth, and Lies Theme Icon
...she is at last offed, all of her family’s wealth will be up for grabs. Anna Brown—divorced and without children—bequeathed all her wealth to her mother, Lizzie, whereas Lizzie willed her... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
What White can’t figure out is whether Ernest’s marriage to Mollie, four years before Anna’s murder, was part of the plot all along—or whether Hale, at some point, “prevailed upon”... (full context)
Chapter 18: The State of the Game
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
White goes back to Burkhart to question him about Anna’s murder, and Burkhart reveals that Kelsie Morrison—the bootlegger and informant—was the one to put the... (full context)
Chapter 20: So Help You God!
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
History, Truth, and Lies Theme Icon
A year later, Anna Brown’s murder is prosecuted. Mollie attends the trial and sits and listens to the “gruesome... (full context)
Chapter 22: Ghostlands
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
Family, Legacy, and Trauma Theme Icon
History, Truth, and Lies Theme Icon
After stopping at a cemetery to visit the graves of Mollie, Anna, Rita, Minnie, Lizzie, Bill Smith, and other victims of the Reign of Terror, Margie takes... (full context)
Chapter 25: The Lost Manuscript
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
History, Truth, and Lies Theme Icon
...finishing the manuscript, realizes that though the Reign of Terror—according to most historical accounts—spans from Anna Brown’s murder in 1921 to January of 1926, when Hale was arrested—Lewis’s murder in 1918... (full context)
Chapter 26: Blood Cries Out
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
History, Truth, and Lies Theme Icon
...he served as guardian four, seven had died, and at least two of the deaths (Anna Brown and Lizzie) had been confirmed as murders. (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
Family, Legacy, and Trauma Theme Icon
History, Truth, and Lies Theme Icon
...1922, Grann listens to Marvin’s story—a tale in which Kelsie Morrison, the man who murdered Anna Brown, enacted a years-long campaign of violence and theft not just against Stepson’s widow Tillie,... (full context)
Racism and Exploitation Theme Icon
American Entitlement, Greed, and Corruption Theme Icon
Family, Legacy, and Trauma Theme Icon
History, Truth, and Lies Theme Icon
...realizes that he was likely poisoned by the Shoun brothers, the same men who botched Anna’s autopsy, covered for Hale, took hold of Rita’s estate, and injected Mollie with poison. Grann... (full context)