Short summary - No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Summary of the work - Sykalo Eugen 2023

Short summary - No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men" is a gripping tale that delves into the darker aspects of human nature, exploring themes of violence, morality, and fate. The novel is set in the desolate landscape of West Texas, where the drug trade and violence are rampant. The plot follows the lives of three main characters: Llewelyn Moss, a Vietnam War veteran who stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong; Anton Chigurh, a ruthless hitman hired to retrieve the missing drug money; and Ed Tom Bell, an aging sheriff who is struggling to make sense of the violence that he sees around him.

The novel is divided into several parts, each of which follows the trajectory of the story. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of the plot:

Part I: Moss

The novel opens with Llewelyn Moss out hunting in the desert when he comes across a drug deal gone wrong. He finds several dead bodies, a stash of heroin, and a briefcase full of money. Moss takes the money and tries to flee, but he is quickly pursued by Chigurh, who is hired to retrieve the money. Moss is resourceful and manages to evade Chigurh, but he is aware that his actions will have consequences.

Part II: Chigurh

In this section, the reader is introduced to Chigurh, a sociopathic hitman who is hired to retrieve the money that Moss has taken. Chigurh is a terrifying character, devoid of any moral compass. He kills without remorse, and his methods are brutal and efficient. Chigurh uses his intelligence and cunning to track down Moss, and the two engage in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Part III: Bell

Ed Tom Bell is the sheriff of the county, and he is struggling to come to terms with the violence that he sees around him. Bell is an older man, and he is haunted by the memories of a simpler time. He is frustrated by the changing world around him and is struggling to keep up with the new breed of criminals that he is facing. Bell's character provides a poignant counterpoint to the violent world that McCarthy depicts.

Part IV: The Final Showdown

In the final section, the three main characters converge in a violent and bloody showdown. Moss and Chigurh engage in a brutal gunfight, while Bell watches from a distance. The scene is intense and visceral, and the reader is left on the edge of their seat as the fate of the characters is decided.


Throughout the novel, McCarthy explores several key themes. The most prominent of these is violence. The novel is filled with brutal scenes of violence, and the characters are all touched by it in some way. The novel also explores themes of morality and fate. The characters in the novel are all struggling to come to terms with their own morality and the role that fate plays in their lives.


"No Country for Old Men" is a powerful and haunting novel that explores the darker aspects of human nature. The novel is a testament to McCarthy's skill as a writer, and his ability to create vivid and unforgettable characters. The novel is not for the faint of heart, but for those who are willing to dive into the dark waters of McCarthy's imagination, it is a journey that is well worth taking.