Study Guide

No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men Summary

A regular old Texan guy named Llewellyn Moss heads out hunting one day and finds the remains of a botched drug deal out in the middle of the desert. 

Uh, that's not going to taste good in the stew. 

He hunts around some dead bodies and finally finds a briefcase filled with two million dollars. Nice. All he has to do is take the money home and everything will be fine, right? There's no way this could possibly go wrong.

Oh, wait. 

When he heads back out into the desert to bring water to one of the half-dead drug dealers, he gets chased and shot by some men in a truck. As if being chased by drug dealers weren't bad enough, a psychopathic killer named Anton Chigurh decides that, gosh, he'd really like to have the two million that Llewellyn has stolen for himself.  Chigurh uses a transponder to track down the briefcase and eventually gets into a street shootout with Llewellyn. Luckily (for now), Moss makes it into Mexico and recovers in a hospital while Chigurh robs a pharmacy to give himself some DIY surgery for his wounds.

While all of this is happening, a meditative old sheriff named Ed Tom Bell tries to track down Llewellyn to protect him from all the bad guys. American drug runners hire a private mercenary named Carson Wells to track down and kill Anton Chigurh, and the whole situation quickly goes belly up. Chigurh murders Wells in his hotel room and tells Llewellyn Moss he'll kill his wife if he (Moss) doesn't bring him the money immediately.

Moss decides to make a break for it and to put his wife on a plane out of the country, but some Mexican cartel dudes catch up with him before he can meet her. They kill him and Sheriff Ed Tom Bell arrives just as the cartel guys get away. Ed Tom retires from the police force because he no longer feels he can keep up with the badness of the world. Anton Chigurh hunts down Llewellyn Moss's wife and kills her because he wants to follow through on his threat to Llewellyn. 

(Like a Lannister, a Chigurh always pays his debts.)

To round everything off, Sheriff Ed Tom ends the movie by talking about a dream he had about his father riding into a dark desert. 

Hopeful? Despairing? We'll take one of each, please.

  • Scene 1

    Scene 1

    • We open on some long shots of the beautiful landscape of West Texas. Then we hear a voiceover by Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (played by Tommy Lee Jones).
    • Sherriff Bell talks about how proud he is to be a Texan sheriff just like his dad and grandfather were. He reminisces about the good old days when sheriffs didn't even carry guns.
    • (We would insert a joke here about Texans and their guns, but we have a policy of never making fun of the people with the guns.)
    • Those good old days are apparently long gone, as Sheriff Bell talks about the horrible things he's seen as a sheriff, like this one guy who dreamed of killing people his whole life and said he'd do it again if he ever got out of prison. (Because people in the twentieth century never killed each other, or something?)
    • Anyway, Sheriff Bell doesn't know what to make of this guy or his motives. He ends his opening speech by saying that he's not afraid of dying, but he is afraid of coming up against things he can't understand.
  • Scene 2

    Scene 2

    • Sheriff Bell's opening voiceover ends as we see a police officer putting a dark-haired man (Anton Chigurh) into the back of his cruiser.
    • We flash to the rural police station where the police officer is talking to his superior on the phone about the guy he's just brought in. Apparently, Chigurh was carrying some sort of a tank with a hose along the side of the highway, the weirdo.
    • While the young officer is talking, we see Chigurh get up at the far side of the room and calmly walk up behind the officer. In an evil James Bond worthy move, he throws his cuffed hands over the officer's head and pulls him back onto the floor, strangling him to death with the chain of the cuffs. It's all pretty gruesome and there's a lot of blood.
    • Chigurh calmly walks into the bathroom, takes off his cuffs, and washes his bloody wrists in the sink. Then he grabs a large tank and hose and leaves.
    • Chigurh steals the officer's car and drives off. It's not long before he turns on the sirens and pulls over another driver in the middle of the desert. He walks up with his tank and hose and asks the driver to step out of his car. The guy gets out and Chigurh tells him to hold still. He holds the end of the hose up to the man's forehead and pulls a trigger.
    • Next thing you know, there's a hole in the middle of the guy's head and he drops dead to the ground. Well, that's going to leave a mark.
  • Scene 3

    Scene 3

    • We see a herd of antelope through the crosshairs of a rifle. A Texan man named Llewellyn Moss is trying to shoot the deer from a very long way off. We're talking sniper distance, which suggests that Moss thinks pretty highly of his shooting.
    • He shoots and hits his target, but not where he wanted. The bullet hits the antelope in the back leg instead of some more deadly area, so the creature runs off along with the rest of its herd.
    • Moss goes to inspect the blood that the antelope left behind. He looks through his binoculars and sees a wounded dog hobbling around in the distance, then turns to follow the trail of blood that this dog has left.
    • The blood leads Moss to a group of trucks parked in the middle of the desert. From a distance, Moss can't see anyone moving among the trucks.
    • Moss goes to inspect, gun at the ready. There are all kinds of dead men and dogs lying among the trucks, so it's safe to say that something bad went down here.
    • Moss looks inside one of the trucks and finds a Mexican man who's not quite dead yet. The man asks for water, but Moss casually answers that he doesn't have any and walks away with the man's gun and ammo.
    • Moss looks in the back of the man's truck and finds millions of dollars' worth of drugs. Whoa! This little outing just got a lot more interesting.
    • He asks the man in the truck who made it out of the firefight alive. The man doesn't answer, but asks in Spanish for Moss to close the truck door because wolves will come for him. Moss ignores him and walks away with the door open.
    • Moss ruminates on what he would do if he made it out of the battle alive and was stranded in the desert. He follows his gut and finds a dead man sitting under the shade of a tree. As Moss expected, the dude is holding a briefcase full of money.
    • Moss takes the briefcase and heads back to his truck.
  • Scene 4

    Scene 4

    • Back at home, Moss stashes the guns he found in the desert under his house. When he heads inside, his young wife Carla Jean asks him what's in the briefcase he's carrying.
    • He answers that it's full of money (haha). She assumes he's joking but is a little freaked out by the pistol tucked into the back of his jeans.
    • When, she asks where he got it. Moss answers by saying that she asks too many questions. Women, right? Always asking about questionable weapons and weird briefcases!
    • So far, it's been an awesome day. Llewellyn's walked off with a cool two million, and the only people who know what happened are about to be eaten by wolves.
    • Problem is, Llewellyn can't sleep because he feels guilty about not giving the dying man any water earlier that day. He gets out of bed and—in a stunning display of bad judgment—he heads back out into the desert with a jug of water.
  • Scene 5

    Scene 5

    • When Moss returns to the scene of the botched drug deal, the man from earlier that day is dead in his truck. So much for bringing him water.
    • It gets worse. Some people show up while Moss is among the abandoned trucks. He hides, but the people have found his truck parked on a far ridge and know he's there.
    • The men start driving in his direction in a jacked up truck with all kinds of spotlights on it. Moss makes a run for it, but the men in the truck spot him and start firing.
    • They hit him in the shoulder and he tumbles down a hill before diving into a river and letting the current take him away.
    • Safe? Not quite. One of the drug guys' pit bulls jumps in after him, but he makes it out of the river and dries his pistol just in time to kill the dog just as it jumps for his throat. By this time, he's far enough away to escape from the drug guys and fix up his wounded shoulder.
  • Scene 6

    Scene 6

    • We look in on a rural gas station. Anton Chigurh is buying gas and some peanuts. Oh, good, this is going to end well. (Not.) The clerk tries to make small talk about the weather, which annoys Chigurh a lot more than it should. The guy's just trying to be friendly, Anton!
    • Chigurh insults the man, but the guy stays calm and says he'd like to close up his shop.
    • After some more barbed exchanges, Chigurh randomly asks the clerk "What's the most you've ever lost on a coin toss?" Then he flips a coin and covers it on the gas station's counter. He tells the clerk to call it heads or tails.
    • The clerk is totally confused, but Chigurh's menacing tone clues us into the stakes: a wrong call means death.
    • Luckily for the man, and also for our blood pressure, he calls the coin correctly and Chigurh leaves him alone. But Chigurh doesn't want the man to put the coin in his pocket, since it's his lucky coin from now on.
  • Scene 7

    Scene 7

    • Carla Jean Moss comes out of her house to find her husband Llewellyn messing around underneath the house. She wants to know what he's up to, obviously, and he tells her that he wants her to pack her things right away and go stay with her mother.
    • Turns out that she's up on the situation now: she knows that (1) Llewellyn has found two million dollars, (2) some bad dudes want to get it back, and (3) they know where the Mosses live. So she does the smart thing and makes to get out of Dodge.
  • Scene 8

    Scene 8

    • We return to the site of the botched drug bust. It looks like a couple of American drug runners have solicited the help of (drumroll please) Anton Chigurh to help them track down Llewellyn Moss. Chigurh inspects Moss' truck and pries off his vehicle number.
    • Chigurh asks the men for a "receiver," and they hand over a tiny beeping metal box. Next, he asks for his flashlight and immediately kills both of them with his pistol.
    • Hm, sounds like Chigurh has an agenda of his own.
  • Scene 9

    Scene 9

    • Now we meet Sheriff Ed Tom Bell face-to-face for the first time. He's loading a horse into a trailer (seems appropriately Texan) and getting ready to head to work.
    • Ed Tom meets his deputy on the shoulder of a desert road where we see a burned out car. The car belonged to a man who was found shot in the head on the side of the highway, and we gather that they're talking about the innocent driver Anton Chigurh killed earlier in the movie.
    • They follow the car's tracks back into the desert on horseback, where they find Llewellyn Moss's truck with the inspection plate pried off.
    • Sheriff Bell recognizes the truck as Moss's, and the truck leads them back to the scene of the botched drug deal, where they find all the dead bodies. They realize that the two men Chigurh killed were killed much more recently than the other bodies.
    • But if there are so many people lying dead, where'd the money go? Hmmmm.
  • Scene 10

    Scene 10

    • Anton Chigurh shows up at Llewellyn Moss' place and uses his tank and hose to punch the lock clean out of the front door. He looks around but realizes that the Mosses have packed their things and jetted, which seems like a good decision all things considered.
    • Rather than take a total loss on the visit, Chigurh goes to the fridge and helps himself to a bottle of milk. Hey, don't want it to go to waste.
    • Chigurh visits the office of Moss's trailer park and asks where Moss works. The woman working the reception won't tell him, and we're gearing up for another tally on the body count when Chigurh hears a man walking around in another room and backs off. Whew.
  • Scene 11

    Scene 11

    • We cut to Llewellyn putting little miss Carla Jean on a bus. He wants to get her out of harm's way while he tries to deal with whoever's after him.
    • Llewellyn tells Carla Jean that she'll never have to work at Walmart again once he figures everything out. Yeah, good luck with that.
  • Scene 12

    Scene 12

    • Sheriff Bell and his deputy show up at the Moss house and find that the lock has been punched out. The deputy draws his gun and Bell follows him, where they see that that the bottle of milk Anton Chigurh drank still has moisture on it. The officers realize that they must have just missed whoever was there.
    • The deputy wonder aloud if Moss has any clue what kinds of people are trying to hunt him down. Sheriff Bell assumes so, since Moss has seen all the same carnage he has.
  • Scene 13

    Scene 13

    • Moss leaves the bus station where he's dropped off Carla Jean and grabs a cab, which takes him to a cheap motel where Moss plans to hide out for a bit.
    • Once checked in, Moss calls a place called "Roberto's Automotive" but hangs up when he gets the machine.
    • To protect the briefcase full of money, he takes off the grate to an air duct and pushes the briefcase deep into the duct so that you can't even see it from inside the room. Okay, but isn't hiding stuff in an air duct basically Bad Guy 101 by this point?
  • Scene 14

    Scene 14

    • Anton Chigurh uses a payphone to call Carla Jean Moss's mother. The sneaky guy got her number from stealing Moss's phone bill.
  • Scene 15

    Scene 15

    • Moss buys some new boots and socks, then disinfects his feet in the bathroom. His feet seem pretty chewed up from running around in the desert.
  • Scene 16

    Scene 16

    • As his cab pulls back up to his motel, Llewellyn sees a pickup truck parked near his room that looks like the one that chased him out in the desert. Uh oh.
    • The cab driver knows something's wrong and wants Moss to get out, but Moss tells him everything will be all right if the guy just takes him (Moss) to another motel. But what about the money??
  • Scene 17

    Scene 17

    • We cut to Anton Chigurh, who's driving down a lonely road at night and heading for Del Rio, where Carla Jean Moss has gone.
    • While crossing a bridge, Chigurh takes out a silenced pistol and tries to shoot a crow. He misses and the bird flies away. We get the feeling that this is a symbol of some sort.
  • Scene 18

    Scene 18

    • Sheriff Bell is sitting down for his breakfast in a diner, when deputy walks in and tells him that the body they found by the side of the road earlier in the movie had no bullet in his head. Whaa?
    • Does not compute, says Sheriff Bell. There was an entry wound in the dead man's forehead and no exit wound in the back, so there must be a bullet somewhere.
    • What he and the deputy don't realize is that Chigurh killed the man using a steer-killing device (i.e. that weird tank and hose he's been carrying around). Ouch.
    • The deputy asks Bell if he's heading back to the site of the botched drug bust to help the FBI, but Bell is so not in the mood
  • Scene 19

    Scene 19

    • Llewellyn Moss heads to a store where he buys a powerful shotgun and a tent with as many poles as possible. Next time we see him, he's sawing off the end of his shotgun and stuffing it in a duffle bag. Curious
    • Next, Moss heads back to the office of the motel he's staying in and rents out another room that's two away from his other one.
    • After listening for voices through the wall, Moss reaches into his duffle bag and start pulling out his tent poles.
  • Scene 20

    Scene 20

    • Anton Chigurh cruises down the highway on his way to Del Rio. As he goes though, he passes the motel where Moss is staying.
    • And just then, the receiver box in his passenger seat starts beeping.
  • Scene 21

    Scene 21

    • Moss is in his hotel room putting as many of the tent poles together as possible. Then he uses coat hangers to make a huge hook that he duct tapes to the end of the poles. There's some major DIY business going on, is what we're saying. Maybe he should open an Etsy store or something.
    • Meanwhile, the receiver box is leading Anton Chigurh to one of the rooms on Moss's motel. It's clear that the briefcase full of money has some tracking device inside it, but Moss has pushed the thing so deep into the air duct that Chigurh thinks it's in the room next to Moss's and not Moss's.
    • Chigurh rents a room for himself and goes to check it out. He searches the room and tries to figure out where the briefcase could be.
    • Chigurh sets down a duffle bag and pulls out a shotgun with a huge silencer on it. He then grabs his steer-killer and uses it to punch out the lock of a door farther down in the motel. Inside the room is a group of Spanish-speaking men, so obviously Chigurh murders them all with his gun.
    • From his own room, Moss can hear the men being killed. He pauses to listen.
    • Before he kills the last of the Mexicans, Chigurh asks how they found the briefcase. The man responds nonsensically and Chigurh kills him. It seems that the Mexican drug people also have some way of tracking down the money briefcase.
    • After killing the men, Chigurh decides that he wants a fresher pair of socks, like you do. He takes his own off and goes into the bureau. But all the drawers are empty and Chigurh wants to know where the money briefcase is.
    • He finally notices scratches on the air duct that show where the briefcase has been dragged through it.
    • We cut to Llewellyn Moss riding down the highway with a stranger. The man scolds Moss for hitchhiking and says it's dangerous. It's pretty clear that this dude doesn't realize that Moss has bigger things to worry about.
  • Scene 22

    Scene 22

    • We move up the floors of a shiny office tower in a big city. A private mercenary named Carson Wells (played by Woody Harrelson in fine form) struts into a fancy office. The man at the desk asks Wells if he knows Anton Chigurh by sight. Wells says yes and names the last time he saw Chigurh face to face.
    • The man behind the desk says that Chigurh is a loose cannon who needs to be taken care of, which sounds about right. But that's not his only motivation. We can tell by what he says that this man behind the desk is involved with the American side of the botched drug bust and now he wants Carson Wells to take out Chigurh.
    • The man behind the desks wants to know how dangerous Chigurh is. "Compared to what, the bubonic plague?" says Wells. In other words, pretty dangerous—but he still seems confident that he can kill Chigurh.
    • Before leaving, Wells says that he counted the floors on the office building from the outside and that one of them is missing. The man behind the desk sarcastically tells him that he'll look into it.
  • Scene 23

    Scene 23

    • Llewellyn Moss checks into a hotel and gives the clerk extra money. He wants the clerk to call him if any other men check into the hotel that night.
    • While lying in bed that night, Moss stares at the ceiling before finally saying to himself, "There just ain't no way." We're guessing that he's talking about the fact that people were able to find him in his previous motel.
    • Moss searches through the briefcase and finds the tracking device.
    • While staring at the device, Moss hears some creaking outside. He picks up the phone and calls the front desk but gets no answer. Ominous! He listens at the door and then pulls out his sawed-off shotgun and sits on his bed to wait with the lights turned off.
    • He sees some footsteps go by in the hallway and stop outside his door. The footsteps continue down the hall and the hallway light goes out.
    • Suddenly, the lock shoots out of the door and hits Moss in the chest, stunning him. Out of confusion, Moss fires his shotgun into the door. He turns to run and jump out the window, and we can hear a silenced shotgun going off after him.
    • Moss jumps down to the street and runs back into the bottom floor of the hotel while the shotgun blasts ring out overhead.
    • Moss runs back outside into an alley and shotgun fire erupts from above him again. We see that he's taken some fire in his right side and is bleeding.
    • Back at the road, Moss sees a truck coming and jumps in beside the driver. Before he can even explain himself, the driver takes a shotgun blast to the head and dies.
    • Moss steps on the gas and ducks for cover. He makes it around a nearby corner before crashing the truck. He gets out and runs across the street to hide behind some cars and wait to ambush whoever comes after him.
    • When Chigurh finally comes to check out the truck, he notices the blood leading away from the crash and dives away just as Moss opens fire from behind him. Moss goes to check things out, but he finds that Chigurh has gotten away down a dark alley. Moss must have hit the guy though because there's a lot of blood left behind.
  • Scene 24

    Scene 24

    • Wounded, Moss decides that his best chance is to cross the border into Mexico and seek medical help there.
    • While crossing the bridge, he runs into some high school kids and offers one of them $500 for his coat. He gets the coat and then asks another kid for his beer. The kid wants to know how much he'll pay, but his friend talks him into handing it over.
    • On the border bridge, Moss chucks the briefcase of money onto the riverbank below. He probably plans on coming back for it once he's back in the U.S.
    • The sleepy border guard doesn't give Moss any trouble as he passes into Mexico.
  • Scene 25

    Scene 25

    • Moss wakes up the next morning to a mariachi band standing over him while he lies on the steps of a Mexican building. He holds out money to them and says, "Medico por favor."
    • In other words, he needs a hospital, stat.
  • Scene 26

    Scene 26

    • We rejoin Anton Chigurh, who's sitting in his car and using a shirt and some cotton balls to make a wick of some kind. He puts the wick into the gas tank of a car on the street and lights the thing before walking into a pharmacy.
    • When the car explodes, Chigurh uses the ensuing panic to steal a bunch of stuff from behind the store's prescription counter.
    • Next time we see Chigurh, he's laying out some plastic sheeting in a motel room and getting ready to give himself some impromptu surgery for a bad shotgun wound he has in his leg. He gives himself some kind of painkiller and gets to work. This guy is more stone cold than Steve Austin.
  • Scene 27

    Scene 27

    • Sheriff Bell is back at his office trying to do some work on the bad drug deal. His secretary informs him that every truck at the deal is registered under some dead person's name, so no help there.
    • Apparently, a DEA agent has been asking about Sheriff Bell going back to the scene of the drug deal with him, but Bell wants nothing to do with it. Instead, he's going to head to the town of Odessa to talk to Carla Jean Moss.
    • Sheriff Bell looks out the window and sees a truck driving by with a tarp blowing all over the place in the back.
    • He drives after the truck and scolds the driver for not trying down his tarp tightly enough. Turns out that this truck has been ferrying bodies from the desert drug scene to the local morgue.
  • Scene 28

    Scene 28

    • Llewellyn Moss wakes up in a Mexican hospital. The bounty hunter Carson Wells is sitting next to his bed with a bouquet of flowers. He tells Moss about Anton Chigurh and is impressed that Moss has seen Chigurh and lived to tell about it. We're pretty impressed, too, tbh.
    • Moss asks if Chigurh is supposed to be some kind of superman, but Wells simply answer by saying that Chigurh doesn't have a sense of humor.
    • Wells asks Moss some annoying questions about his past and realizes that both of them fought in the Vietnam War. He then drops the small talk and tells Moss to tell him where the two million dollars is. Otherwise Wells has no reason to protect Moss.
    • Moss tries to lol (lie out loud) about how he already spent all the money, but Wells is not amused. He responds by saying that Chigurh might currently be on his way to Odessa to kill Moss's wife Carla Jean.
    • Moss thinks that maybe Chigurh should be worried about him and not the other way around.
    • Carson Wells gets up to leave and says that he's staying in the Hotel Eagle on the opposite side of the river (the U.S. side). He tells Moss to give him a call whenever he's ready to cut a deal. Moss wants to know why he can't just cut a deal with Chigurh, but Wells tells him that it's impossible because Chigurh would kill him just for the inconvenience he's caused so far.
    • It seems that Chigurh lives by some weird sort of code that transcends stuff like money.
  • Scene 29

    Scene 29

    • Sheriff Bell sits down with Carla Jean Moss and tells her that Llewellyn is in trouble with some serious drug folks who'll kill him eventually. He wants Carla Jean to tell him where Llewellyn is so he can protect the guy.
    • Carla Jean stands by her man and insists that Llewellyn can take on anyone. In response, Sheriff Bell tells her a story about a man named Charlie Walser who once tried to shoot a steer in the head and instead had the bullet deflected into his shoulder. In other words—in case you didn't quite get the point of this obscure metaphor—there's no such thing as a sure thing when you have a matter of life and death.
    • Sheriff Bell then trails off and talks about how people now kill steers by using an air-powered needle that's connected to a tank and a hose. In other words, the same device Chigurh has been using. Ding ding ding!
    • Carla Jean wants to know why Bell is telling her all this, but he doesn't have a good answer. He says that his mind wanders sometimes.
  • Scene 30

    Scene 30

    • We rejoin Carson Wells, who's walking the length of the U.S. Mexican bridge and looking down into the riverbank. He no doubts figures that Moss must have found a way to ditch his money before heading into Mexico.
    • Wells spots the briefcase among the grass on the riverbank. Score! He returns to his hotel. But as he heads up to his room, Anton Chigurh appears behind him on the staircase. He says, "Hello Carson. Let's go to your room."
    • Chigurh sits Wells down and points a silenced shotgun at him. Wells tells him that he doesn't need to kill him because he knows where the money is and can bring it to him. Chigurh has made up his mind though, so Carson then asks if Chigurh has any clue how crazy he is.
    • Just as Wells makes one last offer to give Chigurh the money, the phone rings and both men know that it's Moss. Chigurh pulls the trigger and kills Wells. Then he oh-so-casually takes the phone and answers.
    • Moss asks for Carson Wells and then realizes he's speaking to Chigurh. Chigurh tells Moss to come see him and give him the briefcase full of money or he's going to go kill Carla Jean.
    • Chigurh offers Moss a deal. If Moss brings him the money he'll let Carla Jean go. He would like to say he'll spare Moss too but nah. It's as simple as that.
    • Moss tells Chigurh that he's coming for him and hangs up with frustration. We can tell that dude is scared, and we so don't blame him.
  • Scene 31

    Scene 31

    • Sheriff Bell sits with his deputy in a diner. The deputy tells him that three Mexican drug guys were killed in a motel near Del Rio. These are the guys that Anton Chigurh killed when he was following Llewellyn with the transponder.
    • Sheriff Bell wants to know what kind of people live the lives that Chigurh does. He reads the paper and finds a story about a nice couple that rented out rooms to old people, then tortured and killed them before cashing their social security checks. Nobody noticed anything strange until an old man wearing nothing but a dog collar escaped from the property.
    • Sheriff Bell finds it crazy that that's what it takes to draw people's attention nowadays. What can you do but laugh?
  • Scene 32

    Scene 32

    • Llewellyn Moss arrives at the border booth while trying to cross back into the U.S. The border guard wants to know how Moss is coming from Mexico in nothing but hospital clothes. He then asks Moss if he's in the army, and Moss answers that he's a veteran of the Vietnam War.
    • Once the border guard realizes Moss is telling the truth, he immediately asks another border worker to give Moss a ride into town and help him anyway possible. Turns out that this guy has some mad respect for America's veterans.
    • Moss heads into the same store where he bought his boots and buys a new set of clothes. Then he heads back down to the riverbank to retrieve his briefcase full of money.
    • Next, we see Moss on a payphone talking to his mother-in-law and asking to speak to Carla Jean.
    • Moss asks Carla Jean to meet him at a hotel in El Paso so he can give her the money and put her on a plane out of Chigurh's reach. With that done, he's going to hunt down Chigurh. Sounds like a plan.
  • Scene 33

    Scene 33

    • Anton Chigurh punches out the lock in an office door and walks down a hallway with his shotgun. He marches into the office of the man who hired Carson Wells to kill him (Chigurh). The guy goes for his gun, but Chigurh blows him away before he can fire it.
    • Chigurh then asks the other person in the room who he is. The guy is just an accountant who has nothing to do with the criminal world.
    • Chigurh says that the man behind the desk was pretty dumb to give another briefcase receiver to the Mexican drug gang. The accountant only wants to know if he's going to be shot too.
    • Chigurh replies that that all depends on whether the account has seen him. It's a pretty vague question and we never really find out what happens to the accountant.
  • Scene 34

    Scene 34

    • Carla Jean Moss and her mother ride in the back of a cab toward the airport. Carla Jean's mother rambles on about what a no-good bum Llewellyn Moss is. She says she always new Moss would get her daughter into trouble.
    • Toward the end of her rant, Carla Jean's mother talks about how they're heading toward El Paso, which she thinks is crazy because she doesn't know a single person in El Paso.
    • Meanwhile, we notice that following the taxi is a car full of three Mexican guys in suits. We figure they're from the Mexican side of the drug bust trying to track down Llewellyn and the money.
    • When the taxi arrives at the airport, Carla Jean runs off to make a phone call to Sheriff Bell while her mother stays behind with the bags. A Mexican man in a suit walks up and offers to help Carla Jean's mom with the bags, asking questions about where she's staying in El Paso.
    • If there's one thing we've learned from movies, it's to never accept help with your bags.
  • Scene 35

    Scene 35

    • Carla Jean is on the phone with Sheriff Bell. She asks him whether the story he told her about Charlie Walser shooting the steer was true. Bell more or less admits that he made it up. So much for that little life lesson.
    • Carla Jean tells Sheriff Bell that she'll tell him where Llewellyn is heading as long as Sheriff Bell does to talk to him alone. Bell agrees.
  • Scene 36

    Scene 36

    • A man in a truck pulls up on the side of a desert road, where we find Anton Chigurh standing next to a car. The man in the truck asks him if he's having car trouble. Next thing we know, the guy is out of his truck with booster cables.
    • Anton Chigurh asks the man if he's from the area and asks what the nearest airport is. The man answers "El Paso," which is where Llewellyn Moss already is.
    • The truck driver asks if Anton plans on clamping the booster cables on his car. Anton responds by asking whether it's possible to get the chicken crates out of the back of the man's truck.
    • We get a smash cut to Chigurh washing feathers off the back of the man's truck in some sort of car wash garage. We can assume he killed the dude like everyone else.
  • Scene 37

    Scene 37

    • Llewellyn Moss heads toward his new motel room but stops when a woman starts talking to him from the other side of the motel's pool. She asks him if he wants to grab a beer in her room. He'll pass, thanks—the whole "I'm married" excuse.
    • The woman offers to bring her cooler out to the pool. Moss says he knows what beer leads to, and the woman responds that beer only leads to more beer. The scene ends with Moss smiling, though we don't know what he chooses in the end.
  • Scene 38

    Scene 38

    • Sheriff Bell drives up toward Llewellyn's motel. We can hear lots of gunfire popping in the air as he approaches. A jacked up pickup truck squeals out of the parking lot with two Mexican guys jumping into the back of it.
    • Bell pulls into the parking lot and sees bullet casings on the ground and a body floating in the motel pool. A wounded Mexican man is trying to crawl away from a motel room.
    • Bell walks through the doorway of Moss's motel room and finds Moss dead.
    • Yup, you heard us right. The Coen brothers decided to axe the protagonist of this movie off-screen. Not only that, it wasn't even Chigurh who killed him in some cinematic final showdown. There wasn't even a final showdown at all—just Moss getting killed by a bunch of guys who've barely been in the movie.
    • Sheriff Bell tells the family in the next room to call the police.
    • We cut to night. Police vehicles are swarming over the motel scene. Carla Jean shows up in a cab and can tell from Bell's look that Llewellyn is dead. She breaks down and cries.
  • Scene 39

    Scene 39

    • Sheriff Bell stands over Moss's body at the morgue. After a moment, he puts his hat back on and heads outside. A man in a cowboy hat is waiting for him. He offers to buy Bell a cup of coffee before he drives home.
    • Bell and the other man sit down at a diner, where the man mentions that there was no case of money found in Moss's room. He muses about how sad it is that all of West Texas is caught up in money and drugs and violence. What does it all mean??
    • The man takes the opportunity to talk about how society in general is falling apart. He doesn't like how the kids these days have green hair and are wearing bones through their noses. Okay, so now he's kind of turning into an old crank.
    • While walking Bell back to his car, the other man mentions that none of the stuff they're talking about can explain a guy like Anton Chigurh. That dude isn't a product of his time, but just a pure psycho.
    • Bell says he's not sure he'd call Chigurh a lunatic but maybe more like a ghost.
    • The other man says that Chigurh is all too real. He mentions the story of the Eagle Hotel, where Chigurh killed a desk clerk one night and a retired army colonel (Carson Wells) the next night. The man doesn't know how you're supposed to defend yourself against someone like Chigurh.
    • The man finally wishes Sheriff Bell good luck and apologizes for not being able to help Moss sooner.
  • Scene 40

    Scene 40

    • Instead of going straight home, Sheriff Bell returns to Llewellyn Moss's motel room. Maybe he was inspired by the story about Chigurh returning to the site of his previous crime, and sure enough, he finds that the lock on Moss's motel room has been punched out (Chigurh's calling card).
    • Inside the room, we can see Chigurh hiding among the shadows with his shotgun ready for whoever comes in.
    • Bell swallows hard and draws his gun. He pushes the door to the room open and walks in. He searches the room and finds no one, realizing that the bathroom window is locked from the inside. So Chigurh must have just been in his imagination? Weird.
    • Bell sits on the motel bed to think for a moment, then glances toward the room's air duct and sees that the grate has been pulled off the wall. It looks like Moss was going to try the same old trick for stashing his money.
  • Scene 41

    Scene 41

    • A blue pickup truck drives toward a house in the middle of nowhere. Bell enters a house that's filthy and completely overrun with cats.
    • A man shouts out "In back" and Bell goes to meet him. Bell greets the man as Ellis and asks him how many cats he has now. Who knows? There's always some new kitty wandering around.
    • Bell asks Ellis how he's doing. Ellis says, "You're looking at it" from his wheelchair.
    • Ellis mentions that he gets regular letters from Sheriff Bell's wife. He hears that Bell plans on quitting the sheriff's department.
    • Bell goes to the kitchen counter to pour coffee, then takes one look at the liquid and asks how fresh it is. Ellis proudly answers that he tends to make a fresh pot … every week. Ew.
    • Bell turns to the subject of the man who shot Ellis back in the day and put him in his wheelchair. The man died in prison, but Bell wants to know what Ellis would have done if the man had ever been released. Nothing—there'd be no point.
    • Bell is surprised to hear him say this. Ellis says that you can't spend your life trying to get back what's been taken from you because there's always more stuff going out the door while you're doing it.
    • Ellis asks why Bell is quitting as a sheriff. Bell answers that he feels overmatched by all the badness in the world. Bell says that he always thought that God would come into his life as he got older. But He didn't. And Bell doesn't think that God thinks very highly of him. Ellis waves this comment away and says Bell has no clue what God is thinking. (Probably true.)
    • Ellis says that he sent over his uncle Mac's badge to the sheriff's department to put in the museum. He then tells Bell the story of how Uncle Mac was shot dead on his own front porch. Seven or eight men came up to his house wanting a bunch of different things.
    • Uncle Mac turned to go inside for his shotgun but the men shot him. The men just sat on their horses and watched the man die.
    • After a while, one of the men "said something in Indian" and the men turned to ride out.
    • Ellis is telling this story because he wants Bell to know that the stuff he's dealing with (like thieves and psycho killers) isn't anything new. These people have always been around and always will be. It's not as if society is somehow going downhill. People are just more realistic about what's out there now.
    • Ellis closes by saying that it's vain of Bell to think that everything is riding on his ability to make sense of the universe. There is only one way to move forward: with acceptance.
  • Scene 42

    Scene 42

    • Carla Jean Moss is standing over a grave where her mother's casket is being lowered. It looks like the woman succumbed to her cancer. This girl just can't catch a break.
    • She then returns alone to her mother's little house and sits with a cup of tea. She notices from the flapping drapes that one of the house's windows is open.
    • When she searches the house, she finds Anton Chigurh sitting in a bedroom. She says, "I knew this wasn't done with," but tells Chigurh she doesn't have the drug money. She says she has bills to pay for her mother's funeral, but Chigurh tells her she doesn't need to worry about it.
    • Carla Jean sits down and stares at Chigurh. She tells him he has no reason to hurt her. Chigurh agrees that he doesn't, and we fill in the blanks: that's never stopped him before.
    • Well, he does have a reason—he gave his word to Llewellyn that he'd kill her. In other words, he's determined to follow through on his threat to Llewellyn even after Llewellyn is dead. He's just that kind of guy.
    • Chigurh says that Moss had the opportunity to save her but instead he tried to save himself.
    • Carla Jean tells Chigurh, "You don't have to do this." People always say that when he's about to kill them.
    • Chigurh finally makes a concession and flips a coin. He tells Carla Jean to call it, implying that he'll kill her if she gets it wrong.
    • Carla Jean refuses to call the coin, saying that the coin has no say one way or the other. The choice is Chigurh's whether he takes responsibility or not. Chigurh rolls his eyes and says, "I got here the same way the coin did."
  • Scene 43

    Scene 43

    • Anton Chigurh leaves Carla Jean's house and checks the bottoms of his shoes (possibly for blood). We notice that he's not carrying an obvious weapon on him like in other parts of the movie, and it's unclear whether he killed Carla Jean. Although we have to admit it's pretty likely.
    • While driving away from the house, Chigurh looks in his rearview mirror at some kids riding bikes in the street. The distraction prevents him from seeing another car at the next intersection. The car T bones him in a horrifying crash.
    • Chigurh gets out of his car with a lot of blood on his face and with a clearly broken arm. The two kids on bikes ride up to him and ask if he's all right. One of them notices a huge chunk of bone sticking out of his arm.
    • Chigurh asks one of the kids for his shirt and uses it to tie a sling for his arm. He then gives the kid a large bill (probably $100) and tells the kids that they never saw him. He walks away before the ambulance can arrive.
    • Like we said, stone cold.
  • Scene 44

    Scene 44

    • Sheriff Bell munches on some breakfast with his wife and asks her if she's going to go riding with him. She says she can't because she's not retired like him. In that case, he thinks he'll stick around the house and help her out, but she says she doesn't need or want the help.
    • Mrs. Bell asks Ed Tom how he slept, and he answers that he had two dreams, both with his father in them. The first one he can't really remember—something about meeting his father in town and getting some money that he then lost.
    • The second dream is much more vivid. It was like in the old times. Bell and his father are riding their horses through the mountains at night. Bell's father rides past him and just keeps going ahead into the night without saying a word.
    • When his father rode past, Bell noticed that the man was carrying fire in an old horn the way people used to back when you couldn't just flick a lighter.
    • In the dream, Bell knew that his father was riding ahead so he could go make a fire somewhere out amongst all the darkness and cold. And Bell knew that whenever he got there, his father would be there.
    • Then he woke up.
    • Roll credits with nothing more than a ticking clock.