Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, they began to be killed off. One Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, watched as her family was murdered. Her older sister was shot. Her mother was then slowly poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances.

In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes such as Al Spencer, “the Phantom Terror,” roamed – virtually anyone who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created F.B.I. took up the case, in what became one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations. But the bureau was then notoriously corrupt and initially bungled the case. Eventually the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau. They infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most sinister conspiracies in American history.

A true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history.


A true crime story of the Osage Indians, in 1920. The author takes you back to how they had been moved along with other Indian tribes when the land that the government deemed were theirs through treaties of the 1870s needed to be moved to what was considered worthless land in Oklahoma. By the 1920s this land was not worthless but valuable in liquid black gold, (oil). Deemed not able to manage their own affairs an Indian agent white man from the department of the interior was put to oversee their affairs for them, really to steal from them. Not knowing that most of the Tribe could read and write they did not think that they needed anyone to oversee their interests, especially after this little tribe was now richer than most people around. They had cars, nice homes, clothes etc... Also, murder came with their wealth. It would take 24 people to be killed and finally in 1935, the FBI sent men in to look into the deaths. Hoover also reached out to Texas Ranger Tom White who was used to investigating things his way and the people from the area did not know he was there for the investigation. As you get deeper into the story, you realize just how sickening these crimes really are and the prejudice not only from the people of the area, but also from Washington, and also from the rich men who wanted the oil in the first place. The author does not paint Hoover in a good light which I thought from the beginning, for I had read a book a few years ago about Tom White and though he investigated and found the criminals Hoover made it out like he had nothing to do with it. There was also a movie made in the 50’s FBI story with Jimmy Stewart that lightly mentions an Indian tribe and murders but not the depth to the murders and the people killed, and how many people knew but said nothing. A very good book, but shows you the greed, and hatred people still had for Native Americans, and for all of the treaties that the U.S broke with every tribe and still breaks to this day. I received this book from I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

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