True Grit (Coen bros) Plot Question - Open Spoilers

Loved the film. One question I had:

When the girl finally catches up to the bad guy, how is it that he seems to recognize her? My understanding is that when he shot the father, the girl had been out of town? Or did I misunderstand the plot?


Tom Chaney (the bad guy) was an employee of Mattie’s father. From the True Grit script:

Chaney was hired near where Mattie and her father lived and probably met her there. They didn’t begin the job in Stonehill- they’d traveled there from wherever they started to pick up the ponies.

Too late to edit: By “wherever they started” I mean “Cumberland”. It’s stated in the part of the script that I quoted!

The original makes it a bit clearer. He knows her on the ranch mentioned above where her father hires him, and notices her because it’s impossible to not too as she controls the cash box and does most of the business end of the ranch for her father- she pays him in other words.

It just occurred to me that Josh Brolin has now played both a Bush (Oliver Stone’s W.) and a Chaney.

A Chaney who’s shot a man at that.

True, but Mattie’s dad didn’t ask for his forgiveness.

Another question…

I saw the movie, but so maybe I just missed it, but in the movie or the original novel do they mention why Rooster wears an eye patch?

It’s implied he wears the patch because at some point, he lost one of his eyes. [/smartass]

It was all the damned grit. Tough on the corneas.


That’s why Chaney recognizes her as “little Mattie the book keeper”.

In the book Rooster says he lost the eye in a fight.

Wrong. “Cumberland Presbyterian” is a denomination of Presbyterian.

Mattie Ross is from “Dardanelle in Yell County”, Arkansas.

Tom Cheney was a hired hand that worked for Mr. Ross on his farm. They went on the trip to buy ponies, and that is why they were in Fort Smith, where Cheney got drunk and belligerent, and murdered Ross. He wasn’t hired by Ross away from the farm; of course he met Mattie on the farm, especially since she was the business manager for daddy. He wasn’t sophisticated with letters and numbers. The confusion comes because all this is told in a quick monologue instead of shown, like in the John Wayne version.

I don’t recall mention of specifics of how Rooster lost his eye.

Cock fight?