I just re-watched No Country for Old Men, and while it is implied that Chigurh is hired to find the money and kill whoever stole it, it is unclear who hired him. He kills the two men in the beginning who are with him at the site of the gunfight and who give him the transponder, why would he kill the men who presumably work for whoever hired him? Then he kills the man in the office building, after confirming that that man gave a transponder to the Mexicans as well as him, implying that he had something to do with hiring Chigurh. Finally, when I was reading about the book that inspired the movie, it mentions that Chigurh returns the money towards the end.. who does he return it to? It seems he has killed the people that hired him.

Edit: after the first answer, I guess I should elaborate.. It seems that Chigurh worked for the white men who were buying drugs from the Mexicans (they would have had access to the transponder, as it was their money), but my real question is, if Chigurh worked for them, why did he kill most of them? It is pretty clear he has a sense of (perverted) honor and loyalty, so killing the people who hired him seems to go against everything he is about.

  • From your question it seems pretty evident that there are differences in the book & the movie. Now since I have not read the book, I would like to know whether in the book too Chigurh kills the men who give him the transponder. In other words, in the book, does Chigurh kills the men who seem to be working for folks who hired Chigurh ? From these actions, it seems that may be he was trying to get the money for himself, because in the movie we don't see Chigurh returning the money. As for the title of the question, Chigurh was clearly hired by one of the gangs who were involved in the bloodbath
    – Ankit
    Sep 25, 2014 at 5:38
  • I haven't read the book, but from what I do know the Coen Brothers stayed pretty close- as far as I can tell they didn't add or change anything, they just left some things out (Sheriff Bell's backstory, Chigurh returning the money, a few other things). I wouldn't classify Chigurh as a loose cannon..quite the opposite in fact. He is cold and calculating. He has his own (perverted) sense of honor and integrity and it seems like he would take orders seriously-that is why it seemed so incongruent that he killed his bosses/colleagues. I never got the impression that he wanted the money for himself.
    – charlie
    Sep 25, 2014 at 6:14
  • Hmm. May be you should edit your question to "Why Chigurh killed the men who worked for people who hired him ?" Because as far as Chigurh's hiring in concerned, he must have been hired by one the of gangs. What do you think ?
    – Ankit
    Sep 25, 2014 at 6:17
  • Ha yeah just did that after I read your answer..thanks.
    – charlie
    Sep 25, 2014 at 6:18

6 Answers 6


Chigurh was called in by the (unseen) ringleader, after the drug deal went bad. His main assignment is to recover the money.

A secondary assignment is to kill the guys who the ringleader had hired to set up the deal that went bad (apparently the ringleader doesn't tolerate screw-ups). But first Chigurh needs their information and their transponders, so he meets with them before killing them. Obviously, they don't realize what's coming.


Chigurh has no regard for who he kills at all. He gambled a shop keepers' life on the flip of a coin. He killed those men because he is indeed a murderous lunatic:

Man Who Hires Wells: I'd just like to know your opinion of him. In general. Just how dangerous is he?
Wells: Compared to what? The bubonic plague? He's bad enough that you called me. He's a psychopathic killer, but so what? There's plenty of them around.

Whether he worked for the white men or not it doesn't matter. He has no regard for anyone's life no matter who it is. Also he may have only been accompanying those men to buy the drugs and maybe he works for their superiors.

But nevertheless, he is simply a psychopathic killer.

  • Is this in the middle a quote from the movie?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Sep 25, 2014 at 12:27
  • @NapoleonWilson yes it is
    – pt18cher
    Sep 25, 2014 at 12:29
  • a man with his skills and freedom from conventional morality can make money pretty readily and his code may prohibit outright theft.
    – releseabe
    Nov 29, 2022 at 6:04

The answer is there is an unseen layer in the movie. In the book he kills off the men who set up the botched drug buy, including the man who hired Wells. He then returns the money to the money man who is not shown in the movie. He then sets himself up as the in between man for the money backer.


If memory serves...

Americans are buying drugs from Mexicans, but the deal goes bad. Chigurh is hired by the Americans to retrieve their money. Once he's killed half of Texas, and brought a whole lot of unwanted attention on himself, all while failing to actually retrieve the money, the Americans get scared that Chigurh has gone nuts or may get caught and lead back to them. So they hire Wells to get the money and kill Chigurh. Chigurh does not take kindly to this, and kills the Americans. In the book, there's an extra scene where he then gives the money (minus expenses) to the Mexicans, thus completing the original deal, and announces that he's working for them now.

I don't remember why he kills those first two men - maybe he's been ordered to kill them for setting up a bad deal, maybe he kills them because they've seen his face and he doesn't trust them, or maybe he kills them because he's crazy.


First off, Chigurh used to work with Wells. From the start, Chigurh, due to the deal on the caldera that went bad, several people gave bad advice to the boss arranging the meet. So not only did he need to retrieve the money, but took it upon himself to also eliminate those in fault for setting up a terribly planned trade, thus the killing of the two "managerial lads." During his chase to recover the money from Moss, he is also systematically eliminating those within his organization he thus believes untrustworthy or implicated in setting up a bad trade. At the end of the book, he returns the remaining money to it's owner and informs him things will be run differently. They'll be dealing with new people now.

  • The "managerial lad" doesn't call him a bitch. He asked him if he wants to ride bitch, in the truck. Pandry answered correctly.
    – user28835
    Dec 17, 2015 at 23:57

He works with the two men in the beginning who were all employed by the fat office boss. The one guy called him a Bitch because Chigurh would have been an extra hire (less of a reward). But once they gave Chigurh the locator he figured fuck the bounty. I'll kill these two and keep the two million for myself.

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