© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
My Brother Sam Is Dead

My Brother Sam Is Dead


by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

My Brother Sam Is Dead Chapter 13 Summary

  • Tim gets cracking trying to help his brother out of this bind.
  • First, he goes to see Colonel Parsons, but he's told to come back in the morning. Ugh, don't people realize how important it is to get Sam free? Apparently not.
  • So that night, there's nothing else Tim or his mom can do for Sam. Instead, they chop up the one cow that got killed and store the meat.
  • The next day, Tim tries again to explain the truth about Sam. But when he goes back to Colonel Parsons, the guy doesn't really seem to care. He just says that Tim better go talk to General Putnam, since he's the dude who'll be making the final decision on Sam's fate.
  • By this point, Tim is super frustrated that no one realizes Sam is innocent and that the two jerks who accused Sam were the actual cow thieves. We're with you, Timmy.
  • Tim and his mom figure that if anyone is going to talk to General Putnam, it should be Mrs. Meeker. To be honest, Mama Meeker isn't feeling optimistic about this whole Sam business, but she heads out to try her best. We're crossing our fingers that she comes back with good news.
  • While Tim waits, he tends the tavern and tries not to think about what might happen to his brother.
  • When Betsy comes into the store and learns about why Sam got arrested, she says she'll talk to her dad (remember, she's from a big Continental Army family). Looks like the ladies of Redding are doing everything they can to save Sam's life.
  • Mrs. M doesn't come home until the end of the day, and the gal is just plain pooped. She tells Tim that General Putnam didn't really want to spend any time dealing with this cow-stealing stuff.
  • It looks bad that Sam was supposed to be helping out Colonel Parsons but instead was hanging out with his family. And it's not like Mrs. M is an unbiased witness or anything. As she puts it: "Why should they believe me? I'm his mother, I'd certainly lie to save him" (13.40). Things aren't looking too great for Sam.
  • And a few days later, we get another reminder of that sad fact. Colonel Read comes by to chat with Tim and Mrs. M about the Sam situation.
  • Apparently there are a few things working against the kid:
  • (1) The two rascals who were actually stealing the cows will say anything to get off the hook. This means they'll totally accuse an innocent man to save their own skins. It's Sam's word against two other dudes'. We're not liking those odds.
  • (2) The Meekers are known for being a Tory-leaning family. Even though none of them are hard-nosed Loyalists, it still doesn't look good for Sam.
  • (3) Sam's trial is going to be a bit of a sham. The jury will vote whichever way they think will please General Putnam.
  • After waiting three weeks for the trial to start, it's finally here. Tim is a nervous wreck as he waits to learn the verdict.
  • Once Colonel Read finally comes to the tavern, he tells Tim and his mom that Sam is going to be executed. There's no way around it.
  • Mrs. M. says she's known for three weeks that this would be the verdict. And Tim just feels "numb" (12.65).
  • Soon after, Tim starts trying to find a way to set things right. There's just got to be something he can do, right? But once again, Colonel Parsons doesn't want to help out. He says that General Putnam wants to make an example out of a soldier, and Sam's as good an example as any. Way harsh, Colonel.
  • But at least Parsons gives Tim a note so that he can go see Putnam himself.
  • Tim hurries to the encampment and meets with the mean ol' general.
  • Tim explains what happened on the cow-stealing night and how Sam is innocent.
  • General Putnam just says he'll think about it and that it's fine for Tim to see his brother for a sec.
  • At the stockade, Tim has to stand six feet back and talk to his brother through a hole in the wall.
  • All the same, at least they get to have a chat. And a sweet brotherly good-bye.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...