LaRose (2016) is the third and final part of what is usually referred to as Louise Erdrich’s Justice Trilogy, preceded by The Plague of Doves (2008), and The Round House (2012). Like the earlier novels, this third book takes place in and around the Little No Horse Reservation and the nearby town of Pluto, departing from the focus of earlier books on the towns of Argus and Hoopdance on the other side of the reservation.

This regional shift signals a new direction for Louise Erdrich, introducing the reader with a new geographical focus and new characters and families, but as the complex relationships untangle, Erdrich leaves enough traces that reconnect this book to her larger oeuvre.

LaRose is the story of two families whose lives are ruptured because the father of one the families, Landreaux Iron, accidentally kills the young son of the other family, the Raviches. Following Ojibwe tradition, the Iron family gives their own son, LaRose, to the Ravich family. The novel traces the psychological consequences of this painful event, not only in the present, but also how it reverberates back in time to previous generations of the families. 

Below, you will be able to find the book’s dictionary of characters—providing short descriptions of who these people are and what their role is in Erdrich’s narrative universe.

Iron—Family Tree

Landreaux Iron (b. 1954-56) is a physical therapist. He is married to Emmaline and has four children with her and adopted son, Hollis. He accidentally shoots the son of his—read more

Emmaline is the daughter of Billy and LaRose Peace. She is. very close to her youngest son, LaRose whom she has to let go when he is adopted by Peter and Nola Ravichread more

LaRose (b. 1995-96) is the fifth LaRose, a young boy with a strong sensitivity towards spirits and the spiritual world. He has a strong sense of responsibility for a boy his ageread more

Snow is the teenage daughter of Landreaux and Emmaline. Her best friend is her sister Josette with whom she spends most of her time. On her own account, she is the “good sister”read more

Josestte is the teenage daughter of Landreaux and Emmaline. She is silent and less talkative than her sister/best friend, Snow. Like Snow, she has grown into a woman at the end of the novelread more

Coochy is a quiet boy whose sensitivity is often overlooked. As one of the youngest, he is close both to LaRose and his older brother Hollis, shifting from a young boy to a young manread more

Hollis (b. 1986) is the adopted son of Landreaux and Emmaline. Like LaRose was given to the Raviches, Hollis was given to them by Romeo Puyat. He falls in love with his Josetteread more

Romeo (b. 1954-56) is the troubled and envious old friend of Landreaux. He feels that Landreaux owes him due to what they went through as boys, but loses sight of reality in his angerread more

Ravich & Peace—Family Tree

Peter Ravich is a farmer who lives with his wife Nola and children Maggie and Dusty near the reservation, until his son Dusty is shot, and he is given Landreaux’ son LaRoseread more

Nola is the daughter of Marn Wolde. She falls into a deep depression after her son’s death and tries to kill herself, but is saved by her daughter, Maggie and adoptive son, LaRoseread more 

Dusty is the young boy who is accidentally shot in the late summer of 1999 by Landreaux Iron. His spirit sometimes visits his friend LaRose who takes his place in the Ravich familyread more

Maggie is the rough and wild daughter of Peter and Nola. She is having trouble in school until she starts excelling at sports in her new school. She grows very close to her new brother, LaRoseread more 

Marn Wolde was Billy Peace’s “real” wife with whom he had two children, Judah and Lilith (later Nola). She is close to her snakes and becomes a snake when she murders her husbandread more 

Billy Peace was the religious leader of a sect, The Kindred. He had many children with many different women, until his wife, Marn Wolde, killed him with snake venomread more

Maggie Peace was the sister of Billy whose name was given to her niece. She does not make an appearance in the novel, but plays is an important character in The Plague of Dovesread more

Judah is the son of Maggie and brother of Nola who is not mentioned in the novel. 

LaRose—Family Tree

Mirage, or the first LaRose (b, 1828), was sold to the the trader Mackinnon by her mother. She later marries Wolfred and has four children with him, among whom the second LaRoseread more

Wolfred (b. 1822) was the husband of the first LaRose. He used to be Mackinnon’s clerk before he and LaRose kill him. After LaRose’s death, he looks for her bones until his own deathread more

LaRose II

The second LaRose, takes the spiritual sensibility over from her mother and, like her mother, goes to a boarding school. Richard H. Pratt takes her to Carlisle and she later becomes a teacher.

Patrice, Cuthbert, and Cleophile

Patrice, Cuthbert, and Cleophile are three children the first of LaRose and Wolfred. They are raised with traditional values and learn both Ojibwe and the English from their parents.

LaRose III

The third LaRose also becomes a teacher, like her mother. From her mother, she learns two languages, four levels of math, the uses of plants, and to fly above the earth, like all the other LaRoses.

The fourth LaRose, known as Mrs. Peace, lives in the Elder Lodge at the turn of the century (1999-2000). Like her mother and grandmother, she was a teacherread more

LaRose—Extended Family Tree


Mackinnon is a trader in Ojibwe country. He seems disinterested and mean, but still takes LaRose in his home, where Wolfred cares for her. It turns out he abuses LaRose and Wolfred and LaRose poison and kill him.


Mink is the mother of the first LaRose, also named Mirage, who she leaves at the trading post of Mackinnon after screaming for him to adopt her. Her husband, Mashkiig, kills her shortly after.

Alice Anakwad

Alice is a girl in the first LaRose’s boarding school who dies of tuberculosis and passes it on to LaRose herself.


Mashkiig is the husband of Mink who killed all her uncles and cut her beautiful face so she would be ugly. He wants to buy his daughter back, but Mackinnon sends him off. He then kills Mink.

Dr. Haniford Ames

Dr. Haniford Ames lost all his siblings to tuberculosis and takes in the first LaRose to try and heal her. When she dies, he keeps her body for research, something Wolfred fights to the end.

Richard H. Pratt

Captain Richard H. Pratt is the head of a boarding school in Carlisle where the second LaRose goes to school. He believes that all Indians should become part of white civilisation and lose their own culture.

Ladies of the Elders Lodge

Sam Eagleboy

Sam Eagleboy is a healthy, slim, beautiful old man who lives in the Elder Lodge. He teaches the fifth LaRose about the spirit world and his close connection to it.

Malvern Sangrait

Malvern Sangrait is a mean, small, and fat old woman who lives in the Elder Lodge. She wears a lot of make-up that doesn’t match. She criticises everyone and everything.

Ignatia Thunder is an old woman who lives in the Elder Lodge. She has to use an oxygen tank to breath and sits in a wheelchair, but still looks young when she smiles. She dies at the end of the novel—read more

Star Morrissey is the foster mother of Romeo Puyat who lives in the Elder Lodge in old age. She is also the foster mother, or auntie, of Angus Kashpaw from The Round House.

Kids from School


Shane is Snow Iron’s ex-boyfriend. He gave her a hoody that she used to wear all the time, but then he fell in love with someone else.


Sareah is a friend of Maggie who helps her take revenge on Dougie Veddar for picking on LaRose.

Dougie Veddar

Dougie is a boy in LaRose’s class who smashes a pencil into LaRose’s shoulder. After Maggie kicks Dougie, he runs to his brother Tyler to get revenge. 

Tyler Veddar

Tyler is the older brother of Dougie who riles up his friends to get their hands on Maggie, trying to rape her, but she escapes. Later, he becomes a wrestler in high school.

Brad Morrissey

Brad is one of the fearsome four. It is not clear how he is related to the other Morrisseys

Curtains Peace

Curtains Peace is one of the fearsome four. It is not clear how he is related to the other Peaces.

Sean and Cheeks

Sean is a boy with an inappropriate Hooter’s t-shirt who is in Snow’s school. Cheeks is another boy in Snow’s school with earrings and tattoos.


Waylon is a boy in Snow’s class. He is friends with Hollis and Coochy. He gets Buggy for trying to rape Maggie and he and Maggie fall in love.

Jason is one of the fearsome four who try to rape Maggie. Years later, Waylon, Hollis, and Coochy go looking for him, but decide not to beat him up —read more

Braelyn Wildstrand

Waylon is a boy in Snow’s class. He is friends with Hollis and Coochy. He gets Buggy for trying to rape Maggie and he and Maggie fall in love.

Braelyn and Jason's Parents

Braelyn and Jason’s parents attend the volleyball game and fight with Maggie’s parents in the height of the enthusiasm. It is unclear how these Wildstrands are related to the Wildstrands from The Plague of Doves.

Regina "Diamond" Sailor

Diamond is a friend of Snow and Josette who later also befriends Maggie. 

School Teachers

Mrs. Heaper

Mrs. Heaper is LaRose’s teacher. She wasn’t paying attention when Dougie slammed a pencil into LaRose’s shoulder.

Miss Behring

Miss Behring is Maggie’s teacher. Every morning when the class greets her, Maggie says “Miss Boring” under her breath.

Mr. Oberjerk

Oberjerk is one of the teacher at LaRose’s high school. He lifts Dougie from a bush after he almost choked on a candy bar that Maggie had rammed down his throat.

Coach Duke

Duke coaches the girls’ volleyball team. He has a lot of trust in Maggie’s abilities, calling her the “secret weapon” of the team.

Mr. Hossel

Mr. Hossel is the Physical Science teacher who sees that Maggie has a lot of talent for physical exercise and sports.

Mrs. Shell

Mrs. Shell is LaRose’s new teacher after he switches to the reservation school.

Mrs. Sweit

Mrs. Sweit is the old kindergarten teacher of Maggie. She was the only one Maggie liked and made her behave well. She owns a lot of dogs and lives on the side of town.

Other Characters (1999-2003)


Stan is the church janitor. Nothing else is known about him.

Father Travis Wozniak

Father Travis Wozniak is the athletic priest of the parish. For many, he acts as psychologist and he thereby has a unique perspective on the happenings of the town. She is in love with Emmaline Ironread more

Whitey and his stepdaughter London run the gas station and the Hot Bar. Whitey must be over sixty by now. It is unclear what happened to his girlfriend, Sonja (from The Round House)read more

Randall is a medicine man and friend of Landreaux. He is the son of Doe and the brother of Cappy—who passed away in The Round Houseread more

Zack Peace is a cousin of Emmaline Iron. He is the tribal police chief, succeeding his stepfather Vince, who was called about the death of Dusty Ravichread more

Georgie Mighty

Georgie is an eigthy-two-year-old retired nurse who signed the report of Dusty’s passing. 

Sterling Chance

Sterling Chance is the head of maintenance at the hospital who employs Romeo Puyat.

Puffy Shields

Puffy is the bartender at the Dead Custer. He ends up in the hospital because he ate straight from the edge of a sharp knife.

Ottie and Baptiste "Bap" Plume

Ottie is one of Landreaux’ clients who lost a foot due to diabetes. He is very much in love with his wife Bap without whom he says he wouldn’t have continued living.  


Awan is one of Landreaux’ clients, a terminal patient. Landreaux sometimes plays cards with him. He has a daugther.

Sergeant Verge Anderson

Verge Anderson is the Sergeant at the National Guard and encourages Hollis to become a combat engineer.

Mike and Jacey

Mike works at the National Guard and invites Hollis to eat with him and his wife Jacey after signing the contract to become part of the guard.

Father Dick Bohner

Father Dick Bohner is the priest who comes to replace Father Travis. Travis gives him the advice to go by the name of Robert.

Other Characters (1967-1970)

Mrs. Vrilchyk "Bowl Head"

Mrs. Vrilchyk, primarily known as Bowl Head is the teacher at the boarding school who Landreaux and Romeo constantly fear will show up to take them back.

Milbert Good Road

Milbert was bitten by a snake and drowned in a lake or river during a school trip. Bowl Head did not go into the water to save him.

Ermine and Mr. Jalynski

Ermine and Jalynski are two teacher at the Boarding School who ran in the water to try and save Milbert Good Road, but they were too late.

Indian in Cowboy Clothes

Milbert was bitten by a snake and drowned in a lake or river during a school trip. Bowl Head did not go into the water to save him.

Dr. Meyer Buell

Dr. Meyer Buell is the doctor who treats Romeo and ultimately saves his leg.


Pits is an Indian man matron at the boarding school. He pisses over Landreaux after they get him back for losing Romeo.

The Old Woman

After their escape, Landreaux and Romeo come to the home of an old woman who feeds them and gives them money to travel on.


Ceel is the son of the old woman and he does not want her to help the young boys.

Hobo Camp:

Stinky Man

Indian in Cowboy Clothes

Man with Sunglasses

Woman with Tangled Hair

Bird-like Woman