The Grandmother

An irksome woman who lives with Bailey and his family. During the family’s journey to Florida, the grandmother suggests that they visit an old house she remembers, an idea that leads to a car accident and the murder of everyone in the group. Before she is killed, the grandmother remembers that the house is actually in Tennessee, nowhere near where she said it was. She tries to reason with the Misfit but only enrages him. She experiences a moment of grace right before the Misfit shoots her.

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The Misfit

A wanted criminal who stumbles upon the family when they crash their car in the woods. The Misfit lives by a moral code that involves murder and remorselessness, but he also spends time wondering about Jesus. Because he doesn’t know for sure whether Jesus really raised the dead, he has opted for “meanness” as a way of giving his life meaning. He doesn’t see himself as a terrible person. His two henchmen kill the entire family, and the Misfit shoots the grandmother himself.

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The frazzled head of the family. Bailey seems to love his mother, but her needling behavior sometimes gets the best of him. He gives in to the grandmother’s request to visit the old plantation house that she remembers only because the children are driving him crazy. When the grandmother’s cat jumps onto his shoulder, he wrecks the car. He tries to quiet the grandmother and stop her from provoking the three criminals, but he is ineffective. He and John Wesley are the first to be killed by the Misfit.

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John Wesley

A loud, obnoxious, eight-year-old boy. John Wesley wants to visit the house the grandmother talks about because she says it has a secret panel.

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June Star

An obnoxious young girl. June Star loudly speaks her mind and makes cutting observations about those around her.

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The Mother

Bailey’s wife and the mother of John Wesley, June Star, and a baby. The mother breaks her shoulder in the car crash and is eventually killed by the Misfit’s henchmen.

Red Sammy Butts

The owner of the Tower restaurant. Red Sammy is a good man according to the grandmother, trusting and even gullible to a fault.

Bobby Lee

One of the escaped criminals. Bobby Lee is fat and, according to June Star, looks like a pig.


One of the escaped criminals. Hiram wears a gray hat and inspects the family’s car.