True Grit Review Notes
These are review notes for True Grit. They will not substitute for reading
True Grit Chapter Summaries
Chapter 1- (pg. 13-18)
-Mattie Ross begins her story with:
Tom Chaney shooting and robbing her father.
Her father went to Fort Smith for Texas mustangs for deer hunting
Yarnell Poindexter a free blackman to look after the place
Her father rode on Judy
Mattie kept books for her Dad
Tom Chaney got drunk, lost money, got rifle to go back and
shot Mattie's father when he went to stop him.
Chapter 2- (pg 19-28)
-Mattie and Yarnell went after the body
-They arrived on the day of a triple hanging of two white men and
an Indian (on the borders of Indian Territory to be Oklahoma)
They say their last words. The Indian is too light. Judge
Isaac Parker may watch the hangings.
-Irish funeral director has the body. The sheriff will not hunt
the murderer so Mattie hears about Rooster Cogburn while Yarnell
returns with the body.
-Mattie stays at Mrs. Floyd's Monarch Boarding House with Grandma
Turner for $.75/night, in a cold room.
Chapter 3- (pg. 29-59)
-Mattie goes to Stonehills' stock barn and with tough bargaining
and the use of Lawyer J. Noble Daggett's name she sells back the
horses at a profit.
-She arrives at the courthouse as prisoners and arriving and
Rooster Cogburn is testifying at the Odus Wharton trial. Rooster
obviously doesn't closely follow the law.
-She hires Rooster for $100 and he is going after Tom Chaney and
Ned Pepper's gang.
-He's drunk and he shoots a rat.
Chapter 4- (pg. 60-6)
-Mattie is sick in the boarding house for two days. Mrs. Floyd
wrapped a turpentine and lard smeared rag around her neck and
gave her Dr. Underwoods' bile activator, containing codeine or
-Texas Ranger LaBoeuf arrives looking for Tom Chaney alias Theron
Chelmsford who killed a state senator in Texas. They argue
about who gets Chaney. Mattie tells him about Rooster Cogburn.
Chapter 5- (pg. 67-96)
-Mattie gets a letter form Lawyer Daggett commending her deal with
Stonehill but admonishing her to come home.
-Stonehill regrets coming to Fort Smith. Mattie goes to see
Rooster, tells him she wants to come along.
-Mattie insults Rooster. As he goes to grab her, she holds his
expense sheets over the wood stove flames. They argue on
expenses and Mattie's going along. Mattie buys back a horse she
sold for $20 for $18 plus shoes. She rides Little Blackie
-She goes to Rooster's. LaBoeuf is there trying to "throw in" with
Rooster. He offers a $500 share of the rewards in Texas.
Mattie doesn't want LaBoeuf along. The men agree. Mattie
leaves in anger. Gets supplies an sleeps in Stonehill's barn.
-She arrives at the boat before Rooster and LaBoeuf. They turn her
over to the boatman, but she escapes and swims her horse across
the river. The men try to outrun her, then 'ambush' her but
Rooster decides she can come along.
Chapter 6- (pg. 97-150)
-They stop at a store where two boys are "torturing" a mule which
Rooster cuts loose and then kicks the boys into the mud.
Rooster says his name is James (Jesse) and gets the boys to take
them across the river.
-Rooster learned Ned Pepper was at McAlester's store but not Tom
-The men argue about Rangers and marshalls. They find Moon and
Quincy in a dugout. The bandits shoot at them. Moon is wounded
in return fire. Rooster gets Moon to talk and Quincy kills him
and Rooster kills Quincy (113- ) Rooster plans to ambush Ned
Pepper and his band. Rooster talks about Ned's tactics and sets
up an ambush. Rooster talks about his background. (120-5) He
drove freight, rode with Quantrill during Civil War. After they
(Rooster/Potter) robbed a government payroll. Rooster bought an
"eating place" the Green Frog, and married. he lost it, hunted
buffalo, robs a bank, gets in a fight with a trail drive owner,
gets arrested. Potter, a marshall, takes him in custody from
the soldiers, and Rooster becomes a U.S. marshall.
-Ned Pepper's gang rides up and LaBoeuf fires too soon. Three gang
members shot (2 of them killed). Ned escapes with some others.
Rooster wants to take the bodies in for a reward. Rooster and
LaBoeuf get to arguing over Quantrill's Raiders, Civil War
fighting, Texas Rangers, etc.
-They get to McAlester's store (later McAlester, Oklahoma). They
meet Capt. Boots Finch of the Choctaw Light Horse. They
identify the bodies. The railroad man is slow to part with a
-Rooster tries to leave Mattie, but she comes. Boots tells them
Odus Wharton escaped. The three men get into a corn dodger
shooting contest. They ride 50 miles form McAlester's and make
camp. Rooster is drunk
Chapter 7 (pg. 150-190)
-While Mattie is filling canteens in the river she spots Tom
Chaney, whom she shoots, much to his surprise. Tom takes her
prisoner. Mattie hollers; the bandits and Rooster and LaBoeuf
come running. Mattie is taken prisoner. Ned tells Rooster and
LaBoeuf to ride off. Mattie is left with lucky Ned Pepper, the
original Greaser Bob, Harold and Farrell Permalee and Tom
Chaney. Ned leaves Tom with Mattie, telling Tom he will send
someone back with a horse. Bob wants his share of the money.
Mattie forges checks for Ned. (165-6)
-Mattie is left alone with Tom Chaney (p.166) He threatens her
with a pit of snakes. She throws hot water on him and runs for
the woods. Tom Chaney hits her head with a pistol and LaBoeuf
arrives (Rooster would have shot Tom Chaney. Rooster faces four
bandits, Ned, Bobs and two Permalees. Even after he knows
Mattie is all right he wants to arrest Ned and Bob. They charge
each other. Harold is shot, Farrell next and Bob escapes.
Rooster trapped under his horse hears Ned say "Well, Rooster I
am shot to pieces!" (p.171) LaBoeuf hits Ned with shot of 600
-Chaney smashes LaBoeuf with a rock and Mattie shoots Chaney, but
the recoil knocks her into a pit of snakes, breaking her arm in
the fall. Mattie slips farther down, to a ball of rattlesnakes
in a ribcage. (p.176) Tom Chaney, still alive taunts her until
Rooster smashes his head, knocking him into the pit. Rooster
climbs down with a rope and gets Mattie out as Little Blackie
(and LaBoeuf) pull on the rope.
-Rooster and Mattie ride Little Blackie to death (p.183) Rooster
carries her a long ways and then takes some hunters' wagon.
Then an Indian farmer loans them some horses. Dr. Medill
morphinizes Mattie and removes her left arm above the elbows.
-LaBoeuf takes Chaney's body to Texas. Lawyer Daggett apologizes
to Rooster, after blaming him. Rooster kills Odus Wharton and
shoots two others and has to give up his badge. He ends up in
a Wild West show but dies before Mattie sees him again. She has
his body reburied in her family plot. She eventually owns a
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