Study Guide

Blood Meridian Chapter 12

By Cormac McCarthy

Chapter 12

  • Soon enough, Glanton and his men start killing some of their animals for food. They come upon another group of wagons filled with dead people who've been massacred and their scalps taken. Glanton and his men pick up the trail of the murderers and follow.
  • Two days later, the Delaware scouts tell Glanton that there is a massive group of Gileños (Aboriginals) camped farther ahead. It's not just warriors, but a group of families. Glanton decides to ride on them and he orders his men to leave no one alive.
  • At dawn, Glanton and his men attack the camp and kill hundreds of people—shooting, stabbing, and trampling.
  • Eventually, some warriors get organized and attack Glanton's group. But they're no match for Glanton's guns. Most of them go do and the others ride away weeping over their dead families.
  • When the battle is over, Glanton shoots one of his own men who's been wounded. Maybe it's to put him out of his misery; maybe it's to keep him from slowing the group down.
  • In the distance, a group of Apaches sits on the horizon watching them. Glanton levels his gun at them and shoots their chief off his horse. The other Apaches grab him and ride away. But Glanton follows in close pursuit and eventually catches the wounded chief and kills him, taking his head back to his camp. They even scalp their own dead men so they can pass the skin off as an Aboriginal's and make money off it.
  • Glanton thinks he's captured the head of Gómez, a rebel leader with a big bounty on his head. But the judge tells him it's not Gómez.
  • They ride on, but a guy named David Brown has taken an arrow in the leg and he can't get it out. The only option is to push the thing all the way through so he can cut off its barbed head. No one volunteers to help him, but eventually the kid steps forward and does it.
  • After the fact, the ex priest Tobin comes up and tells the kid that he shouldn't have helped Brown because Brown would have taken him down with him if it had come to that. There's no room for compassion in this world. Just some very, very thin mutual interest. Glanton's crowd might look tight, but they're all just a razor's edge from killing each other.
  • As they continue across the desert, Glanton's crew sees the distant bonfires of more Apaches (aka the enemies). But his group is too wasted away to fight well, so they can only run. They make their first stand and then run for eight days, with the Apaches always right behind them, bent on getting revenge for the massacre Glanton's men have committed.
  • Apparently, the group has brought along a young boy who survived their last massacre. They play with the boy and feed him. But then one night, the judge simply kills the boy and scalps him. Toadvine takes exception and pulls his gun on the judge, but both of them know he won't fire.
  • Glanton's crew reaches a town called Gallego and leads the charging Apaches right down Main Street, fighting all the way. They fight them in all kinds of places and finally end up in the city of Chihuahua to a hero's welcome. Everyone there hates the Apaches and treats Glanton's people like pure gold.