A prominent member of the Osage tribe put the matter more bluntly: "It is a question in my mind whether this jury is considering a murder case of not. The question for them to decide is whether a white man killing an Osage is murder—or merely cruelty to animals."

As this passage makes clear, the struggle to get justice for the Osage was not only about murder—it also included convincing white jurors of Native American humanity. The title of the chapter—“So Help You God!”—references the oath people take during legal proceedings, and yet the chapter details how often white witness and defendants break this oath by fabricating things on the stand and committing serious investigatory misconduct. Although the jurors never enter the book as individuals, their ability to be coerced is one of the basic challenges White and his team face in bringing the case to a successful conclusion. This is brought about not only by Hale’s extensive influence in Osage County and the state of Oklahoma, but also in that anti-indigenous racism is common among the pool of jurors. So virulent is the hate that the question can be raised if murdering a member of the Osage community is no greater a crime than animal cruelty.

“This land is saturated with blood," Webb said. For a moment, she fell silent, and we could hear the leaves of the blackjacks rattling restlessly in the wind. Then she repeated what God told Cain after he killed Abel; "The blood cries out from the ground."

In the closing lines of Killers of the Flower Moon, Mary Jo Webb, an elderly Osage woman who hopes David Grann will be able to explain what happened to her grandfather (Paul Peace), references the Book of Genesis to characterize what it means to live in Osage County. As God says to Cain, spilled blood does not just seep into the ground and become hidden or silent. Instead, murder means that the earth itself will seem to call for justice. As long as there are people living on the land who can hear the cries, the unresolved crime will haunt the community. The blackjacks’ leaves seem to almost rustle as an echo to these cries, which issue forth from the saturated ground. The reference to the story of Cain and Abel suggests, too, that their shared national identity as Americans made the Native Americans and white Americans brothers of a kind, even if they had different heritages and traditions as well. Killers of the Flower Moon seeks to provide some answers to these cries.

And he came to see the law as a struggle to subdue the violent passions not only in others but also in oneself.

“A Hangman’s Son” exposes readers to Tom White’s personal history, including his childhood home in the Travis County jail. As the above passage makes clear, White learned crucial lessons about the meaning of the law as he watched his father investigate crimes and administer punishment, including capital punishment. His opinion is that law provides a bulwark against humankind’s violent emotions, making it possible for people to live without falling victim to humanity’s ugliest impulses. As a corollary to this belief, he held that the law should not commit murder and was thus opposed to the death penalty, even if when ordered he would oversee executions. The fact that White recognized that he too had “violent passions” that the law could control demonstrates his ethical superiority to many of the other people in the book, who indulge or justify the darker sides of their personalities