Montana 1948

Wesley’s wife and David’s mother. Gail is an opinionated, idealistic woman who fights for Marie Little Soldier in spite of the fact that her alleged abuser, Frank Hayden, is a hero of the community. Unlike her husband, Gail does not harbor obvious prejudices against Native Americans, and is the first to believe Marie’s story and advocate for justice. It is frequently implied that Gail is tired of Mercer County, and wishes her husband would agree to move somewhere and practice law. She doesn’t think he can be himself as the Sheriff, and frequently pushes him to be a better and more honest man.

Gail Hayden Quotes in Montana 1948

The Montana 1948 quotes below are all either spoken by Gail Hayden or refer to Gail Hayden. 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:
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Milkweed Editions edition of Montana 1948 published in 1993.
Prologue Quotes

A story that is now only mine to tell. I may not be the only witness left—there might still be someone in that small Montana town who remembers the events as well as I, but no one knew all three of these people better. And no one loved them more.

Related Characters: David Hayden (speaker), Wesley Hayden, Gail Hayden, Marie Little Soldier
Page Number: xvi
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 1 Quotes

“Are you telling me this because I’m Frank’s brother? Because I’m your husband? Because I’m Marie’s employer?...or because I’m the sheriff?”

Related Characters: Wesley Hayden (speaker), Gail Hayden, Marie Little Soldier, Frank Hayden
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

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He was not only her husband, he was a brother…brother to a pervert!

Related Characters: David Hayden (speaker), Wesley Hayden, Gail Hayden, Frank Hayden
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 2 Quotes

Had I any sensitivity at all I might have recognized that all this talk about wind and dirt and mountains and childhood was my mother’s way of saying she wanted a few moments of purity, a temporary escape from the sordid drama that was playing itself out in her own house. But I was on the trail of something that would lead me out of childhood.

Related Characters: David Hayden (speaker), Gail Hayden
Related Symbols: The Wind
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:

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“That’s not the way it works. You know that. Sins—crimes—are not supposed to go unpunished.”
Even then I knew what the irony of the conversation was: the secretary lecturing the lawyer, the law enforcement officer, on justice.

Related Characters: David Hayden (speaker), Gail Hayden (speaker), Wesley Hayden
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes

“He’s guilty as sin, Gail. He told me as much…Goddamn it! What could I have been thinking of? Maybe a jury will cut him loose. I won’t. By God, I won’t.”

Related Characters: Wesley Hayden (speaker), Gail Hayden, Frank Hayden
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:

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Epilogue Quotes

I wondered again how it could have happened—how it could be that those two people who only wanted to do right, whose only error lay in trying to be loyal to both family and justice, were now dispossessed, the ones forced to leave Bentrock and build new lives.

Related Characters: David Hayden (speaker), Wesley Hayden, Gail Hayden
Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:

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Gail Hayden Character Timeline in Montana 1948

The timeline below shows where the character Gail Hayden appears in Montana 1948. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...she will die. Another image of David’s father, kneeling on the kitchen floor, begging David’s mother for help in an unfamiliar, frantic voice. The third is of his mother in the... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
...all coexist chaotically at once. That summer was forty years ago. Two months ago, David’s mother died, suddenly and quickly, of a heart attack. His father died a slow and painful... (full context)
Chapter 1
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
...not meet David’s standards in this way, but he also fails to meet his wife Gail’s standards. Wesley has a degree from the University of North Dakota Law School, and has... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
David tries to explain his mother’s thinking. Grandpa Julian Hayden (Wesley’s father) had once been Sheriff of Mercer county for many... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Another reason David’s mother wants them to leave Montana is that she fears for her son’s development. David does... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...a spare bedroom upstairs. One day David passes the door and hears horrible coughing. When Gail returns for her lunch break, David tells her he thinks Marie is sick. Gail is... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...Marie was hired in part to look after him, not simply to clean and cook. Gail goes to check on Marie, and then tells Wesley he better call Frank, as Marie’s... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
...she’s ever been seen by a “real” doctor. When he hangs up he jokingly tells Gail that Frank has agreed to do a little dance around the bed and bang on... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
...into Marie’s room and shuts the door behind him. Almost immediately Marie begins screaming for Gail. Gail goes to knock on the door ask asks if everything is okay. Frank tells... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...a hospital. Frank responds that Marie would probably never agree to go. At this moment Gail comes outside and confirms that Marie will be staying at home with them. David notices... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Gail tells David to go into the house. Instead of doing so, he tracks around the... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Wesley paces and asks Gail if she believes Marie. She asks him why Marie would lie about something like this.... (full context)
Identity Theme Icon
Gail doesn’t understand the question. Wesley asks if she’s telling him because he is Frank’s brother,... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Racism, Prejudice, and the American West Theme Icon
When Wesley and Gail leave Marie’s room they tell David that Marie is tired and needs rest. Wesley says... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Later that night, Gail goes in to check on Marie one more time. When she comes out she looks... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Wesley tells Gail he doesn’t want this all over town, reminding her that they have no proof of... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Gail emphatically asserts that David will never be treated by Frank again. David is nervous about... (full context)
Chapter 2
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
When his parents get home, David overhears them. Wesley tells Gail he wants to talk to Marie again, but that he doesn’t want Gail to be... (full context)
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
While Wesley talks to Marie, Gail takes David for a short walk outside. David works up the courage to ask her... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
The following Sunday, David and his parents are on their way to Grandpa Hayden’s house. Gail and Wesley had fought about going—Gail hadn’t wanted to accept the invitation because she knew... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...talk about Frank once he leaves, but realizes they can’t say anything in front of Grandmother Hayden, who has a heart condition that worsens when she becomes stressed or worried. Before... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
On the way home Wesley tells Gail he talked to Frank. David pretends to b asleep in the backseat so that they... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Marie Little Soldier dies the next day. Gail comes home shortly after 5 pm and finds her lying dead in her bed. When... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Gail is upset with herself. Daisy insists Gail gave Marie the best possible care, but this... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...to see him every day at work, and doesn’t think he can stand the guilt. Gail is silent. Wesley tells David he can go back to sleep. (full context)
Chapter 3
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Haydens cannot attend Marie’s funeral because her family wishes to bury her in North Dakota. Gail tries to explain to Marie’s mother that Marie was a part of their family too,... (full context)
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...physically but a different place mentally. Wesley tells David he will tell him everything once Gail gets home. (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
When Gail gets homes Wesley tells her that Frank is in the basement because he wanted to... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...to Mel Paddock, the state attorney. He wants to wait until he can tell Gloria. Gail tells him he should tell Gloria the truth, and tell her immediately. Before Wesley leaves... (full context)
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
When David goes downstairs, his father is on his knees with his head in Gail’s lap. David is startled by how old and weak his father looks. His mother and... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...truck, and thinks the other men are also employees of Grandpa Hayden. He tells his mother and she gets worried, and tells him to call his father. David calls his father’s... (full context)
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Gail runs out the door to thank Len and gives him a big hug. David thinks... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...that he will make sure Len is in the house if he is not there. Gail tells Wesley he doesn’t have to do any of this—that he can just let Frank... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...inside and Wesley goes down to the basement, presumably to release Frank. In the kitchen, Gail asks Len how Frank killed Marie. She no longer cares about what David hears. Len... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
...angry, and says he will move Frank to the jail first thing in the morning. Gail drops her head. Wesley tells her Frank is guilty as sin, he has basically admitted... (full context)
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...his wrists with the broken glass from the jars. Wesley tells David to get his mother to call Len, and to not let Gail come downstairs. David is glad for an... (full context)
Epilogue
Law versus Justice Theme Icon
Family and Loyalty Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...Hayden did not speak to each other at the funeral, nor after. Wesley agreed with Gail that he should resign from his post, and they put the house up for sale.... (full context)