In Cold Blood

describe the clutter family

describe the clutter family

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Herbert Clutter - The father of the Clutter family. His wife is Bonnie. He has four children: two older daughters who have moved out, and Nancy and Kenyon. His large property, River Valley Farm, keeps him moderately wealthy. Starting with little, he has built up a large, successful farm. He is a community leader, involved with many organizations. He is a gentle man, a strict Methodist. He served on the Federal Farm Credit Board under President Eisenhower.

Bonnie Clutter - Herbert's wife, Bonnie, cannot keep up with his public image as a leader, and she withdraws into the home. Suffering depressive mental disorders, she spends a great deal of time in bed.

Nancy Clutter - Along with Kenyon, one of the two youngest Clutter children. They both still live at home. She is "the darling" of the town, a class president and future prom queen. Like her father, she is very organized.

Kenyon Clutter - An awkward 15-year-old, Kenyon loves to tinker with carpentry and machines.


Holcomb, Kan., Nov. 15 [1959] (UPI) -- A wealthy wheat farmer, his wife and their two young children were found shot to death today in their home. They had been killed by shotgun blasts at close range after being bound and gagged ... There were no signs of a struggle, and nothing had been stolen. The telephone lines had been cut. —The New York Times

The wealthy wheat farmer, Herbert Clutter, was a dedicated Methodist and a widely respected self-made man who had established a successful farm from modest beginnings. He employed as many as eighteen farm hands, and former employees reportedly admired and respected him for his fair treatment and good wages. His four children, three girls and a boy, were widely respected in the community. The two eldest, Eveanna and Beverly, had moved out of their parents' home and started their adult lives. The two younger children, Nancy, 16, and Kenyon, 15, were high school students still living at home. Clutter's wife, Bonnie, was a member of the local garden club.


Herb Clutter

The prominent and respected owner and proprietor of River Valley Farm, Herb is the patriarch of the Clutter family, husband to Bonnie Clutter and father to four children: Eveanna, Beverly, Nancy and Kenyon. He is a generous employer, and an active churchgoer and “die-hard community booster” (21). He runs a disciplined household, and keeps himself to a strict day-to-day regimen. Ultimately, however, his righteous and well-to-do lifestyle plays him into the hands of his killers, who make him first the target of their attempted robbery and, later, a scapegoat for their own resentments.

Bonnie Clutter

Herb’s wife and mother to Nancy and Kenyon, Bonnie is a slight, nervous, apologetic woman who suffers from chronic postpartum depression, which leaves her bedridden on many days. Having lived a sheltered childhood, she gave up her training as a nurse to marry Herb and settle into her responsibilities as a housewife. Her depression has gradually isolated her from many of her close friends, and she spends her last afternoon locked away in her room, regretting her inability to socialize or be a stronger mother to her children.

Nancy Clutter

Nancy, who is sixteen years old, is a model student, the president of her class, and a leader in a number of community activities, including the Young Methodists League and the local 4-H club. She also devotes time to teaching younger girls music, sewing, and baking; in fact, her only shortcoming seems to be her tendency to over-commit herself to helping others. She is dating – and claims to be in love with – Bobby Rupp, the star of the high school basketball team. This is a point of contention between Nancy and her father, who wishes she would break off the relationship, since Bobby is Catholic, and the Clutters are Methodist. Nancy spends her last day baking a cherry pie with her young neighbor, instructing another girl in music, and caring for her horse, Babe. During the attempted robbery, prior to her murder, she manages the situation by chatting with the intruders in a cool and friendly fashion; Perry later claims to have liked her, in spite of what he later does to her.

Kenyon Clutter

Kenyon, who is fifteen, is more solitary than his sister, and uninterested in dating, preferring to spend his time in the Clutters’ basement workshop, where he does carpentry and mechanical projects. He also hunts rabbits, and spends time in his pickup truck with his best friend Bob Jones.