EPISODE 101: The History Behind Killers of the Flower Moon

History on Fire

“But the years of peace and plenty was not to last. Slowly the days turned sour and the watchful nights closed in. Thrór’s love of gold grown too fierce and sickness had begun to grow within him. It was a sickness of the mind. And where sickness thrives, bad things will follow…” — JRR Tolkien 

“The more White investigated the flow of oil money from Osage headrights, the more he found layer upon layer of corruption. Although some white guardians and administrators tried to act in the best interests of the tribe, countless others used the system to swindle the very people they were ostensibly protecting. Many guardians would purchase, for their wards, goods from their own stores or inventories at inflated prices.” — David Grann 

You may have heard of Killers of the Flower Moon, a new movie by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio. Or, maybe you have heard of the best-selling book by David Grann, on which the movie is based. In this episode, I do a deep dive into the murders at the root of the story. Back in the late 1800s, the Osage tribe was kicked out of their homes and pushed onto a plot of poor land where few people wanted to live. But the Universe has a sense of humor. Fast-forward a few years, and in a surprising twist of events it is discovered their land is not so poor after all, since it sits on some of the largest oil deposits in United States. Overnight, the Osage go from the deepest poverty to extreme wealth. A happy, feel-good story then, right? Not so fast. By the early 1920s, many Osage die in the prime of their lives—some are mysterious deaths. Others are clearly murders by poison, shooting and explosives. In this tale, I’ll tell you about oil, greed, murder mysteries, the birth of the FBI, and much more! 

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