Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West Characters
The kidThe pale and thin protagonist of the novel. He is from Tennessee and runs away at the age of 14. He has an affinity for boozing, is an excellent marksman, and has a flair for violence. He takes up with a gang of marauders that bring him to Mexico, where he then joins Glanton's gang of scalphunters. At the end of the novel, decades later, the kid (whom McCarthy now refers to as The Man) roams across the American countryside on his own, until he encounters Judge Holden once again.
The judgeJudge Holden is the novel's enigmatic and brilliant antagonist, a deeply violent man with metaphysical overtones. He has no hair on his body and is described as being 7 feet tall. He often parades naked, and engages in philosophical lectures about mankind's inherent evil and the difficulties of understanding nature. He is well-studied and knows much about the world. He also seems to engage in pedophilia. Symbolically, he serves as the embodiment of man's pure evil, and as such becomes the force who tries to control the kid.
GlantonJohn Joel Glanton is the slightly insane leader of the scalphunting company that the kid joins up with in Chihuahua. Contracted by various regional leaders, they roam along the border collecting scalps for $100 a piece. Glanton depends a great deal on Judge Holden, and the two of them always ride together. Eventually, Glanton takes over a Colorado River crossing and is killed by the Yumas in a massacre. Glanton is based on a real historical figure.
TobinAn ex-preist and a member of Glanton's company. He and the kid are friendly with one another, and he warns the kid about the judge. After the Yuma massacre, he and the kid flee the judge together, and he begs the kid to kill the judge. Tobin later disappears in San Diego and the kid never sees him again.
ToadvineLouis Toadvine is an outlaw whom the kid first becomes acquainted with in Nacogdoches. He is wanted for thieving horses (he has the letters "HT" for 'Horse Thief' branded on his forehead), and he has no ears. The Kid becomes reacquainted with Toadvine when they are cellmates in the Chihuahua prison. It is Toadvine who engineers their release from prison by telling Glanton's gang that he and the kid are excellent scalphunters. He and David Brown are eventually hanged in Los Angeles.
Reverend GreenA preacher in Nacogdoches, who is preaching during a religious revival in a ratty canvas tent when the kid first discovers him. When the judge concocts a lie about Green's sins, Green is run out of town. The judge later admits he lied, and had never seen Green before.
The hermitA man who shelters the kid on his way from Nacogdoches to Mexico. The hermit is a former slave trader who made good money, but grew sick of the trade. The hermit believes that man is the most evil of God's creations.
TrammelSergeant Trammel is originally called "the recruiter" because he recruits the kid to Captain White's company after the kid kills a bartender in Bexar. Trammel credits Captain White's mission for saving him from a life of drinking and wasting away. Trammel is killed when the company is attacked by the Comanche warriors.
Captain WhiteA former soldier who has formed a company to fight for United States control of Mexico. When his company is marching into Mexico, they are attacked by a group of Comanche warriors, and the kid later sees Captain White's head in a jar during a Mexican bazaar.
SprouleOne of the militants who rode with Captain White. Like the kid, he is one of the few survivors of the Comanche attack. He accompanies the kid for a while, but dies of consumption and an arm infection before the kid is arrested and taken to Chihuahua.
The veteranOne of the kid's cellmates in the Chihuahua prison. He is also referred to as the Kentuckian and as Chambers. He tells stories of his years in the west, including the story of how they took Chihuahua. He returned to Mexico looking for a woman he loved, but ended up getting captured himself. He and the kid share their horror stories about their encounters with the Comanche. He joins The kid and Toadvine on Glanton's crew, but disappears from the group, probably on Glaton's order.
SpeyerA Prussian Jew and arms dealer who brings a box full of Colt's patent revolvers to Glanton and his company.
Sergeant AguilarA Mexican Sergeant who happens upon Glanton and his crew when they are testing out some Colt revolvers brought to them by Speyer.
BathcatA member of Glanton's scalphunting team who becomes friends with Toadvine. He is originally from Wales and lacks several fingers and teeth. He bets on which John Jackson would kill which. When he is killed, his torso is hung by its heels from a treelimb in the wastes of Pimeria Alta. Toadvine cuts him down.
Angel TriasThe governor of Chihuahua, who rewards Glanton and his company for the scalps and heads they bring in. He had been sent abroad as a young man and was widely read in the classics.
David BrownA member of Glanton's gang who has a vocal, violent streak. He is portrayed as excessively out of control, and he wears a necklace of human ears around his neck. He has a tendency to drink to the point of blacking out and then commit crimes. He is eventually hanged in Los Angeles, and the kid inherits his necklace of ears.
Frank CarrollThe owner of the bodega in Jesus Maria where Glanton's gang gets drunk. After a big bar fight, the bodega is burnt to the ground, and Carroll briefly joins up with Glanton's gang.
MangasThe leader of a band of Apaches that makes a deal with Glanton's gang outside Tucson, to exchange gold and silver for a barrel of whiskey.
The ownerA man who joins Glanton's gang in Tuscon. He is the brother and the caretaker of a young, mentally-disabled man called "the idiot."
OwensThe owner and proprietor of an eatinghouse in Tucson. He tries to separate Glanton's gang from the other patrons because Jackson is black. This leads to a conflict, wherein Jackson shoots Owens in the head.
Dr. LincolnA Doctor from New York City who is running the Colorado River Ferry when Glanton takes it over. He is eventually the first person killed by the Yumas during their raid, though he wanted little to do with Glanton.
John JacksonAt the beginning of the kid's journey with the Glanton gang, there are two men named John Jackson, one white and one black. Bathcat makes a bet on which man will live longer. The black man soon murders the white man, and stays around until he dies during the Yuma massacre.
The magicianThe patriarch of a Mexican family that rides with Glanton's gang for a short period. The magician and his wife do a tarot card reading for the company, and predict that the black John Jackson will outlive the white one. John Jackson is found in a compromising situation with the magician's daughter. Also referred to as "the juggler."
Caballo en PeloThe leader of the Yumas who makes a plan with Glanton to take over the Colorado River ferry. He is betrayed by Glanton, and later engineers the raid that kills Glanton.
The idiotThe brother of the owner. A severely disabled young man who is carted around in a cage until he is freed by a group of women. He ends up as the judge's companion after the Yuma massacre. His real name is James Robert, though nobody really uses that name.
DelawaresScouts from the Delaware Indian tribe who work for Glanton's gang. They are usually not distinguished as individuals.
The squattersA group of men whom Glanton's gang meets near the ruins of Santa Rite del Cobre. They had intended to travel West for gold, but were ambushed along the way and are slowly starving and dying. Glanton refuses their request to join the gang.
The TennesseanA member of Glanton's company. He asks the judge about the latter man's drawings, which prompts the judge's story about the shopkeeper.
The shopkeeperA character in a story told by the judge. The shopkeeper murdered a traveler who refused to give him money, and he later passed the pain of that sin onto his son. His tale illustrates the theme of 'sins of the father.'
The shopkeeper's sonA character in a story told by the judge. When he learns that his father had once murdered a traveler, the shopkeeper's son then heads out to live a life of crime and violence. The judge's story illustrates the theme of 'sins of the father.'
McGillA Mexican in Glanton's gang who is skewered during the massacre of the Gilenos. Glanton shoots McGill to put him out of his misery.
TateSam Tate is a member of Glanton's gang. The kid shows kindness to him by refusing to abandon him when Tate's horse is injured, though they are eventually separated by an Indian attack.
GrimleyA member of Glanton's gang who is murdered in the town of Nacori. His murder leads to a bloody fight between Glanton's gang and the members of the bar.
General EliasA Mexican commander who leads men against Glanton's gang on a few occasions after the Mexicans declare Glanton to be an enemy.
SanfordA friend of Frank Carroll. Together, the men briefly join Glanton's gang after Carroll's bar in Jesus Maria is burnt down.
The muleteersA group of miners on mules who encounter Glanton's gang after the latter gang leaves Jesus Maria. They are mercilessly killed by the gang for a tiny offense.
IrvingDoc Irving is a member of Glanton's gang.
The GermanThe owner of a hostel in Ures. Once he sees what Glanton's gang is like, he disappears and leaves them to their devices.
SloatA boy who joins Glanton's gang after their time in Ures.
John PrewettA member of Glanton's gang. He searches for the hermits in the mission at San Jose de Tumacacori, and shoots one of them.
The hermits at San Jose de TumacacoriTwo men whom Glanton's gang encounter at the abandoned mission. Both have lost their minds.
ShelbyA wounded member of Glanton's gang whom the kid is assigned to kill. The kid decides to let Shelby hide, which reveals his ability for kindness.
Col. GarciaA Mexican commander who encounters Glanton's gang while both are hunting Apaches.
James MillerA member of Glanton's gang, whose horse is killed by a bull.
Long WebsterA member of Glanton's gang. He is particularly involved in the attack on the Yumas and in the subsequent trip to San Diego (when Brown gets arrested).
Cloyce BellThe leader of a group of women who petition for the idiot to be released from his cage.
General PattersonAn American general who refuses to honor Glanton's monopoly of the Colorado River ferry. He sets up a competing ferry downriver with the Yumas.
ClanaghanA subordinate of General Patterson; he runs the rival ferry operation until he is beheaded, presumably by Glanton.
Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West Essays and Related Content
- Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West: Major Themes
- Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West: Questions
- Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West: Purchase the Novel and Related Material
- Cormac McCarthy: Biography
- Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West Summary
- About Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West
- Character List
- Glossary of Terms
- Major Themes
- Quotes and Analysis
- Summary and Analysis of Chapters 1-5
- Summary and Analysis of Chapters 6-10
- Summary and Analysis of Chapters 11-15
- Summary and Analysis of Chapters 16-20
- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 21 - Epilogue
- The Business of Scalping
- Related Links on Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West
- Suggested Essay Questions
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 1
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 2
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 3
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 4
- Author of ClassicNote and Sources