Killers of the Flower Moon

by

David Grann

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Rita Smith Character Analysis

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 married Rita for “sordid [financial] gain,” but when the two of them are murdered in their bed in March of 1923, they both become victims of the Reign of Terror.
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Rita Smith Character Timeline in Killers of the Flower Moon

The timeline below shows where the character Rita Smith 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
Mathis contacts Mollie, and she, her sister Rita, Rita’s husband Bill Smith, Ernest, and Bryan make their way out to the creek. As... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Devil’s Disciples
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The private detectives share their information with Bill Smith, who is married to Mollie’s sister Rita and is conducting his own investigation. Before “attaching himself to an Osage fortune,” Smith was... (full context)
Chapter 7: This Thing of Darkness
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Paranoia takes over Mollie’s family, too, and soon Rita and her husband Bill Smith, after hearing “jostling” outside their home in the middle of... (full context)
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...return to Fairfax. Bill drops his friend off, heads home, and goes to bed with Rita. Around three in the morning, a blast beneath their house is heard, far and wide,... (full context)
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...his legs “seared beyond recognition,” and the rest of his body covered in terrible burns. Rita’s body is found, but the body of their white servant, Nettie, has been “blown to... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Undercover Cowboys
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...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 of... (full context)
Chapter 14: Dying Words
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...but for another motive entirely: during the meeting, James Shoun was named the administrator of Rita Smith’s estate and was allowed to execute her will—a position which “paid unconscionably high fees... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Hidden Face
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...to her mother, Lizzie, whereas Lizzie willed her headrights to her surviving daughters, Mollie and Rita. Rita was the third target, along with Bill, because their wills stipulated that if they... (full context)
Chapter 18: The State of the Game
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...issues arrest warrants for William Hale and Ernest Burkhart for the murders of Bill and Rita Smith and their servant Nettie. Burkhart is taken in easily, but Hale is nowhere to... (full context)
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...that Ernest and Hale once approached him and an “old buddy” about killing Bill and Rita Smith, offering Blackie Ernest’s car as payment. Blackie stole Ernest’s car from his driveway one... (full context)
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Burkhart tells White that though he didn’t kill Bill and Rita, he knows who did, and wants to tell his story. He reveals that Hale did... (full context)
Chapter 19: A Traitor to His Blood
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...admit what he did. He admits to his role in the murders of Bill and Rita, and the courtroom erupts.  (full context)
Chapter 22: Ghostlands
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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 Grann... (full context)
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Margie takes Grann to one last stop—the place where Bill and Rita’s house once stood. Another house has since been built on the lot, and as Grann... (full context)
Chapter 26: Blood Cries Out
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...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 realizes that the success of many Osage murder... (full context)