Cormac McCarthy

No Country for Old Men

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No Country for Old Men Chapters 3-5 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 3 Summary

Sheriff Bell notes that time has brought some changes in technology that he approves of, and some that he does not. For example, he likes his old car with its powerful 454 engine and older guns, but he also likes the newer wide-band radio. He bemoans the fact that whatever new technology the lawmen get, the criminals also get; they cannot stay ahead of them.

He reports that the people who should get the death penalty never do, and that he doesn’t ever want to witness another execution. He also reports that he has never had to kill anyone, and he’s happy about that.

Bell thinks it’s interesting that in Texas that there are no requirements for being a county sheriff, except for being elected. Still, he remarks that he has witnessed very little abuse of the power given to sheriffs over the years. He notes that it takes very little to “govern good people” (64) while bad people cannot be governed at all.

Moss. Moss says good bye to his wife, Carla Jean, on the bus to Fort Stockton.

Bell. Bell and his wife are eating dinner when the phone rings. A car is on fire. Bell and his wife go to the scene, meeting his deputy Wendell there; it’s the Ford sedan originally driven by the innocent man Chigurh killed and dumped in the trunk of the deputy’s cruiser.

The next morning, Bell tells Wendell to bring Bell’s and his wife’s horses out to the burned car. They ride the horses out into the rough countryside, following the tracks left by other vehicles. Bell explains the meaning of the tracks to Wendell. First, they find Moss’s abandoned truck. They continue to follow the vehicle tracks to the scene of the drug deal.

Bell takes the billfolds from the first two bodies still lying there; the men were from Dallas. They explore the rest of the scene, realizing quickly that they are in the middle of a drug deal gone wrong. The dead drug dealers are Mexican; they find traces of Mexican black tar heroin in the Bronco and on the ground….

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