My Antonia

Book 5

What is the story of the Cutters?

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Rudolph tells Jim the story of what happened to the Cutters. Apparently, Wick Cutter shriveled up as he got older, while his wife got a nervous palsy that made her shake all the time. They continued to fight about inheritance, especially because Nebraska had recently passed a law guaranteeing a woman a third of her husband's property. One day Wick Cutter bought a pistol and began shooting at targets in the yard. One day a gunshot is heard, and the neighbors rush into the house to find Mrs. Cutter shot through the heart and Wick Cutter shot through the neck, but still momentarily alive. He confesses that he killed his wife but states that he is still alive and conscious. Later, the coroner finds a letter saying that he shot his wife and that since he survived her, any will she made is invalid. Apparently, his fortune amounted to a hundred thousand dollars.