Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West

Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West Character List

The kid

The kid is the pale and thin teenage protagonist of Blood Meridian. He is born in Tennessee and runs away at the age of 14. He has an affinity for boozing, is an excellent marksman, and has a natural flair for violence. He takes up with a gang of marauders who bring him to Mexico, after which he joins John Joel Glanton's notorious gang of scalphunters. At the end of the novel, 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 Judge

Judge 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 7 feet tall. He often parades around naked and engages in philosophical lectures about mankind's inherent evil and the difficulties of understanding nature. He is well-studied and knows a lot about the natural world. He also frequently engages in pedophilia. Symbolically, he serves as the embodiment of man's pure evil, and as such he becomes the force that tries to control the kid.


John Joel Glanton is the slightly insane leader of the scalphunting company that the kid joins up with in Chihuahua. Contracted by various regional leaders, Glanton's gang roams along the Mexican 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. McCarthy based the character of Glanton on a real historical figure.


Tobin is an ex-priest and a member of Glanton's company. He and the kid become friendly, and Tobin is the first to warn the kid about the Judge. After the Yuma massacre, Tobin and the kid flee to San Diego together; Tobin begs the kid to kill the Judge. Tobin disappears after they reach San Diego and the kid never sees him again.


Louis Toadvine is an outlaw with whom the kid first becomes acquainted 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 happen to be cellmates in a Chihuahua prison. It is Toadvine who engineers their release by telling a representative from Glanton's gang that he and the kid are excellent scalp-hunters. He and David Brown are eventually hanged in Los Angeles.

Reverend Green

The kid first encounters Reverend Green while he is preaching during a religious revival in Nacogdoches. When the Judge confronts Green about his alleged sins, an angry mob runs Green out of town. The Judge later admits that he lied - he has never seen Green before and completely made up his story. 

The hermit

The hermit is a man who give the kid shelter while he is 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.


Sergeant 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 with saving him from a life of drinking and debauchery. Trammel dies when the company is attacked by the Comanche warriors.

Captain White

Captain White is a former soldier whose company is fighting on behalf of the United States in Mexico. However, Comanche warriors attack White's company en route to Mexico, and the kid later sees Captain White's decapitated head in a jar at a Mexican bazaar.


Sporule is one of Captain White's soldiers. 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 veteran

The veteran is one of the kid's cellmates in the Chihuahua prison. He is also referred to as "the Kentuckian" and "Chambers." He tells the kid stories of his years in the west, and details how the Americans 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 after a short time, probably on Glanton's order.


Speyer is a Prussian Jewish arms dealer who brings a box of Colt revolvers to Glanton and his company.

Sergeant Aguilar

Aguilar is a Mexican sergeant who happens upon Glanton and his crew when they are testing out the Colt revolvers that Speyer has brought them. 


Bathcat is a member of Glanton's scalp hunting team who becomes friends with Toadvine. He is originally from Wales and is missing several fingers and teeth. He makes bets on which John Jackson would kill the other. When Bathcat is killed, the company finds his torso hanging by its heels from a tree limb in the wastes of Pimeria Alta. Toadvine cuts him down.

Angel Trias

The 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 Brown

A 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 Carroll

The 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.


The 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 owner

A man who joins Glanton's gang in Tuscon. He is the brother and the caretaker of a young, mentally-disabled man called "the idiot."


The 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. Lincoln

A 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 Jackson

At 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 magician

The 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 Pelo

The 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 idiot

The 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.


Scouts from the Delaware Indian tribe who work for Glanton's gang. They are usually not distinguished as individuals.

The squatters

A 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 Tennesseean

Tennesseean is a member of Glanton's company. He asks the Judge about his drawings, which prompts the Judge's long story about the shopkeeper.

The shopkeeper

The shopkeeper is a character in a story the Judge tells Glanton's gang. The shopkeeper murdered a traveler who refused to give him money, and he later passed the pain of that sin onto his son. This tale illustrates the theme of 'sins of the father.'

The shopkeeper's son

The shopkeeper's son is a a character in a story the Judge tells Glanton's gang. When he learns that his father once murdered an innocent traveler, the shopkeeper's son heads out to live a life of crime. This tale illustrates the theme of 'sins of the father.'


McGill is a Mexican man in Glanton's gang who is skewered during the massacre of the Gilenos. Glanton shoots McGill to put him out of his misery.


Sam Tate is a member of Glanton's gang. The kid shows Tate kindness by refusing to abandon him when Tate's horse is injured, although they are eventually separated by an Indian attack.


Grimley is a member of Glanton's gang who is murdered in the town of Nacori. His murder leads to a bloody bar fight between Glanton's gang and the other patrons of the establishment. 

General Elias

General Elias is a Mexican commander who leads his men in several conflicts with Glanton's gang after the Mexicans declare Glanton an enemy.


Sanford is a friend of Frank Carroll. Together, the men briefly join Glanton's gang after Carroll's bar in Jesus Maria burns down.

The muleteers

The muleteers are a group of miners on mules who encounter Glanton's gang after they leave Jesus Maria. However, Glanton's gang mercilessly kills the muleteers for a minor offense. 


Doc Irving is a member of Glanton's gang.

The German

The German owns a hostel in Ures where Glanton's gang briefly stays. Once the German sees what Glanton's gang is capable of, he disappears and leaves them to their own devices.


Sloat is a boy who joins Glanton's gang after their time in Ures.

John Prewett

John Prewett is a 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 Tumacacori

Two hermits are the two men that Glanton's gang encounters at the abandoned mission. Both of them have lost their minds.


Shelby is a wounded member of Glanton's gang whom the kid is assigned to kill. The kid decides to let Shelby hide, which reveals his ability to show kindness. 

Col. Garcia

Col. Garcia is a Mexican commander who encounters Glanton's gang while they are all hunting Apaches.

James Miller

James Miller is a member of Glanton's gang whose horse is killed by a bull.

Long Webster

Long Webster is a member of Glanton's gang. He is particularly involved in the attack on the Yumas and accompanies the kid on the subsequent trip to San Diego (during which Brown gets arrested).

Cloyce Bell

Cloyce Bell is the leader of a group of women who petition for the Idiot to be released from his cage.

General Patterson

General Patterson is an American general who refuses to honor Glanton's monopoly of the Colorado River ferry. He works with the Yumas to set up a competing ferry downriver.


Clanaghan is a subordinate of General Patterson; he runs the rival ferry operation until he is beheaded, presumably by Glanton.