After the murder of Moss in the El Paso hotel room in No Country for Old Men, we see Sheriff Bell (TL Jones) get into his car talking with the local Sheriff. They talk about Chigurh. The scene cuts to Sheriff Bell returning to the crime scene and going inside the hotel room where Moss was killed.

Why did he go back to the room? Was he anticipating Chigurh to also be there, as the conversation with the local sheriff hinted at it?

4 Answers 4


Was he anticipating Chigurh to also be there, as the conversation with the local sheriff hinted at it?

I am not sure he really expected him to be there. It was more of a hunch, triggered by what the local Sheriff told him:

ROSCOE: That don't hardly say it. He shoots the desk clerk one day, and walks right back in the next and shoots a retired army colonel.
BELL: Hard to believe.
ROSCOE: Strolls right back into a crime scene. Who would do such a thing? How do you defend against it?

So he went there again, just making sure that Chigurh was not again returning to the scene of the crime. The chance was low of course, but he wanted to be thorough. Also I believe that he felt pretty much out of options and was clutching at every straw, as he indicates earlier in the conversation:

BELL: I don't know. Sometimes I think he's pretty much a ghost.

Script source


I point to this link. http://www.ericdsnider.com/blog/2008/01/07/no-country-for-old-men-bell-and-chigurh-and-the-motel-room/ I think Bell went back to face his fear, as the writer suggests.

This article doesn't explicitly suggest Bell returned to find Chigurh, but more so to face his fears of death and irrelevance as he ages. As the scene unfolds, Bell imagines his worst fear, that Chigurh is behind the door. Once Bell is inside the room, we see that Chigurh was long gone, with the money. Even though its speculative to think that perhaps Bell wanted to face Chigurh, and catch a killer, I believe that Bell was at the hotel room to face his fear of Chigurh, or better yet, to decide if he was capable of facing such a situation and whether he wanted to continue to be Sheriff.


Throughout the movie, Bell's character has been shown to be of a man who is surprised and sad to see the violence that humans can resort to now, sth that he's seen quite a lot in his job as a Sherif. Inspite of this being his job, Bell seems to be less determined to catch Chigurh but more determined to save an innocent (and comparatively far less of an evil) man i.e. Moss.

The reason Bell went in that room was to revisit that place again and, probably for the last time, where that cold-blooded murder took place so that he can reassure himself of this bitter and undesirable truth that humans can be the most violent and heartless of all the animals alive.

It's like, when people are faced with sth unbelievable (sth that they think could only be possible in dreams), they think of ways to prove themselves the reality of those unbelievable things in order to come to terms with the reality and by visiting that room once again, Bell was also doing the same thing. The police tape, the blooded carpet and the opened vent were all proofs that that hideous act was a truth.


Yes, it's true he went back to the hotel room looking for him, but I really think the sheriff wanted to die.

He didn't say it but based on his attitude and the way he was acting I think he wanted to die on duty.

I think he was just tired and you felt like you weren't ready for the new generation of criminals.

  • Who was the' you' you mentioned in the answer?
    – natural
    Sep 7, 2017 at 3:55

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