Killers of the Flower Moon

On October 20, Martin Scorsese’s newest blockbuster, Killers of the Flower Moon starring Leonardi DiCaprio, premiers in movie theaters across the country. Scorsese and DiCaprio have been working on this project since David Grann published a work of nonfiction by the same title in 2017. Grann’s book follows the 1925 FBI investigation, led by former Texas Ranger turned FBI agent Tom White, into the mysterious deaths of wealthy Osage Native Americans of Osage County, Oklahoma. The Osage were relocated to the land in 1870 and fifty years later oil was found. The Osage became wealthy and the federal government created a guardian system that made it extremely difficult for tribe members to handle their own affairs. This invited a slew of corruption that ultimately led to at least two dozen Osage deaths from 1921-1923. According to The Osage Nation, “Between 1920 and 1925 there were more than 60 mysterious or unsolved murders in Osage County, all dealing with Osage headright holders.”

When Scorsese and DiCaprio began working on the project, DiCaprio was cast to play FBI agent Tom White. This early version of the movie followed much the same plot as Grann’s book, but both Scorsese and DiCaprio wanted to focus more on the Osage. DiCaprio was recast as Ernest Burkhart and the relationship between Ernest and his Osage wife Mollie was further developed. So far the film has been met with praise with a  98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 10/10 on IMDB.

While the film version promises to be entertaining, memorable, and insightful, I always recommend reading the book first because films tend to leave out a lot and sometimes even make changes to the original work.  Reading Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann and watching the film by Martin Scorsese will ensure you don’t miss anything!

Additional nonfiction titles about Native Americans available at the Davenport Public Library.

Unworthy Republic: the Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory by Claudio Saunt

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer

We Refuse to Forget: a True Story of Black Creeks, American Identity, and Power by Caleb Gayle

A Brutal Reckoning: Andrew Jackson, the Creek Indians, and the Epic War for the American South by Peter Cozzens

Covered with Night: a Story of Murder and Indigenous in Early America by Nicole Eustace

 

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