Bill McNue is a main character in the Netflix Limited Series of Godless. He is the sheriff of La Belle; a frontier mining town in the territory of New Mexico.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Bill has lost his shadow. He is losing his sight, as seen by his stumbling over things and inability to read from a distance. He is given glasses and this helps with the issue as long as he is wearing them.
Season 1[edit | edit source]
Bill McNue first appears on screen after waking up in a Native Indian witch doctor's tent, called Chief Narrienta. Bill has mud applied over his eyes and is naked. He washes the mud off in the nearby river and is told by the witch doctor that he should of waited till sundown, to which Bill replies that he is through with the Native Indian's "witchy nonsense." The mud over Bill's eyes was an attempt to cure his poor eyesight, that he is losing. Bill fears that he will soon be blind. Narrienta tells Bill that he has lost his shadow, and when questioned by Bill, he goes on to say that a man who has lost his shadow is dangerous, because he has nothing left to lose.
Bill then collects Primrose flowers to put at his deceased wife's grave; Anna McNue. He says that he feels useless because of his poor eyesight and knows what the women of La Belle think of him. He hopes that his wife will come down and give him advice, on what to do and how to care for their daughter. Upon his arrival back to town, he is shunned by the women and called a coward.
He is later found in the undertaker's shop by Marshal John Cook, who has rode into town. McNue was playing chess with the undertaker; Elmer Knowland. The Marshal tells McNue that he is after Frank Griffin; who is a notorious outlaw. Cook is riding to the regiment stationed in Olegrande to ask for help in catching him. Griffin has been raiding mining towns in Wyoming, Colorado and other territories as well as New Mexico and the Marshal fears that he could set his sights on the town of La Belle. Bill McNue questions why the Marshal is going to the army for help, the Marshal replies that no normal posse with go after Griffin anymore, on account of the massacre Griffin left behind in the town of Creede, men and women were killed when two of Griffin's men were arrested after a raid on the Tom Boy mine. Marshal Cook tells McNue about the mine robbery in Creede and the money that Roy Goode; Frank's adopted son and fellow outlaw, stole from him. Cook goes on to say that even though the mine in La Belle is shut down, Griffin wouldn't know that and considering the town is mostly inhabited by women, it would hardly be a discouragement to raid and pillage the town.
Sheriff McNue leaves the Marshal and rides to Alice's Fletcher's ranch. He warns her of the "bloody business up north" and that Griffin is tearing up the territory looking for a man called Roy Goode. Bill is unaware that Alice is hiding Roy on her ranch. She invites Bill inside. He asks about her horses and suggests that she sells some horses to the ladies of La Belle, as a good-will gesture but Alice argues that the ladies left her husband to die in the mud and that she will not help them. Bill goes on to say that Alice should move on, that they all should try and move on with their lives. Alice questions him about Roy Goode but Bill dismisses her. Roy Goode then interrupts them suddenly in the house, to Bill's surprise. Sheriff McNue questions Roy and soon susses out who he really is. McNue is uneasy and wants to know what really happened at Creede to which Roy tells him. Roy explains that he isn't going to resist and wants to be arrested. Bill replies that when the law catch up with him, "they're going to hang you for sure." Roy Goode goes quietly and Sheriff McNue arrests him, taking him on horseback to the La Belle Jail.
Sheriff McNue rides Roy Goode into town, on horseback. Sarah Doyle, a local lady of La Belle walks alongside the horses and flirtatiously asks for the identity of the Sheriff's prisoner, Bill tells her to never mind and to go about her business. The women of La Belle watch McNue and Goode ride in and gaze at them curiously. Roy asks the Sheriff where all the men are, Bill replies that the mine took them, all of the able working men died when the mine collapsed. Roy Goode goes on to say that if anyone finds out that he's here, "they'll be no stopping Frank." Bill dismisses Roy's fears and tells him that he won't be in town long.
He takes Roy into the La Belle Jail and is startled when Whitey Winn; his deputy is aiming a gun at him, equally startled. Whitey was practising his gun-play in the mirror and was startled by the duo. Bill reprimands Whitey and asks him when was the last time he took a bath. Bill searches for the keys to the jail and introduces Roy to Whitey. The Sheriff calls Roy; Mister Ward, to hide his real identity. McNue tells Whitey to lock Roy up and to not let anyone visit him. Whitey asks if the man is dangerous, Bill replies that he robbed a stagecoach, which Whitey doesn't believe. The Sheriff then leaves to go see his children.
Later on that evening, Bill is awoken out of a day dream by his son telling him that he heard gunshots. McNue tells his son to look after his sister until he gets back. The Sheriff goes out into the street to see rough-looking cow boys on horseback who are firing their pistols in the air and shooting at the windows of the shops and the saloon. Bill asks the men what they're doing, one of the men replies that they're there to see Magdalena; the old madam of the saloon. McNue tells the cow boys that Magdalena cleared out months ago and that the men will need to leave. The cow boys become hostile to Bill, who warns them not to cause trouble but then because of his poor eyesight, stumbles and falls in front of the cow boys and the town who are watching the standoff. The two men laugh at Bill but one of them is then shot by Whitey Winn in the shoulder and then the face, who was watching not far off. The cow boys hastily clear off and Bill is left standing in the street, with the townfolk murmuring all around him.
McNue storms back into the Jail and proceeds to drink whiskey from a bottle at his desk. He asks Roy in an embarrassed and grudging tone if he enjoyed the show, as Roy was watching from his cell window. McNue says to Roy, "I suppose you would have shot those two?" and goes on to say "I'm sure you think I'm a coward, just like everyone else around here." Roy replies that "He doesn't judge a man until he has walked in that man's shoes." McNue tells Goode that he has been losing his sight, ever since his wife died several years ago. The Sheriff asks for more information on Frank Griffin's whereabouts and where he might be hiding. Bill says that he plans to go after Frank and wonders if someone were to ride to Frank's last known location, they might be able to pick up on the outlaw's trail. Bill leaves his children with his sister; Mary Agnes McNue, and tells Whitey that he is in charge and to keep an eye on Roy. He leaves town and sets off to meet up with MarshalJohn Cook and go after Griffin. Sheriff McNue arrives in a neighbouring town and goes to have breakfast at the town cafe. Bill struggles to read the menu on the wall but orders the breakfast and coffee that the waitress recommends. Another man eating in the cafe notices Bill's condition and goes to sit with him. The man introduces himself as Edward Solomon; a travelling salesman. Solomon gives McNue a pair of heavily magnified glasses to aid his eyesight, although Bill can see clearly with them the glasses make him dizzy and he cannot wear them for long. Solomon gives the Sheriff a discount on account of him being a law officer and Bill asks the salesman if he's seen a large gang of men pass through. Solomon replies that he was in Trinidad, Colorado a month or so ago and a large group of men came through, about twenty-five to thirty and stayed in the local brothel. Solomon continues to say that one of the men from the group sat down to play cards with him in the brothel, Solomon describes a man sounding much like Frank Griffin and tells McNue that the man spoke in length about his religious views and a place called Bald Knob. The Sheriff thanks Solomon for the glasses and bids him farewell. He sends a letter via wire to Marshal Cook to say that he has "R.G" in custody in La Belle and will meet the Marshal at Olegrande.
Sheriff McNue locates Frank Griffin's trail and finds the rotting corpses left from the chase and brief shootout between Frank's Gang and Roy Goode. Bill dismounts his horse, to take a closer look at the bodies. He pats his horse and remarks; "You know this here is all bad business, don't you, boy?" McNue surmises from the bodies that Roy deliberately led the chasing outlaws into the wall of a canyon, killed his horse as it had already lost a lot of blood and used his horse for cover to shoot the outlaws who were riding up on him. Bill also realises that to stop the men from charging, Roy must of wounded Frank, which caused the rest of the gang to flee. The Sheriff then suddenly realises that he is being watched by a Native Indian man on horseback from the side of the canyon and his dog. The Shoshone Brave tells McNue that "It was over even before it started." Bill asks if the man saw it, to which he responds that he saw enough. The man tells McNue that he is Shoshone and that he has been living in that region for some time. Bill queries why the man snuck up on him, the man states that he didnt, McNue just did not see him and questions if the Sheriff can even see him as they speak. Bill asks if the man can describe Roy Goode but the Shoshone Brave ignores him and says that the man he saw looked like death. The Shoshone Brave then tells the Sheriff that he's lost his shadow and rides away.
Further along the trail, Sheriff McNue comes across a Norwegian family; the Gustavsons, their wagon and cattle. The family were set upon by the Frank and his gang. The eldest woman was raped and beaten, infront of the men. McNue notices the woman's bruises and asks if the Gustavsons if have seen a party of men of about thirty and looks as though they have come into contact with them. The Norwegian men are reluctant to speak but the woman tells Bill that she's seen them. One of the men; Jacob Gustavson, tells Sheriff McNue that they were warned that if they spoke about Griffin, he would come back and kill them. The Sheriff states that they would be wise to believe the outlaw. Jacob then asks the Sheriff if he is hunting them and is surprised when McNue replies that he is and that he's hunting them alone. Jacob's wife tells McNue that she heard one of the outlaws mention a town called Olegrande. She tells the Sheriff that when he finds them, he should kill them, every last one of them. Before McNue leaves, he notices that one of the children is coming down with a sickness and tells Jacob's wife to wrap the child up and to use a concoction to remedy her symptoms.
The episode opens with Sheriff McNue looking at the body of MarshalJohn Cook at the Olegrande undertakers office. The Marshal, now deceased, was ambushed by Frank Griffin and his men in the Olegrande saloon late one night. Gatz Brown; Frank's de facto lieutenant, shot the Marshal in the face before he could draw his gun. Bill solemnly looks at the body of his comrade and says; "Seems the two of us keep meeting in funeral parlours." Bill says to the undertaker; "The name's John Cook, he's from Santa Fe. You can send the body there." McNue turns and questions Elton Cunningham; the Sheriff of Olegrande and asks if he let Frank Griffin and his men just ride into town and shoot the Marshal. The local Sheriff looks ashamed and replies that he did and then let them ride out. The local Sheriff goes on to say; "You take a shot at Frank Griffin and his men, you best kill them all. Something the poor folks at Creede learned, to their sad experience." Bill asks the local Sheriff about the army regiment that was supposed to be stationed in the town, Elton tells him that the regiment had other duties and were now in Wyoming, on range business. McNue turns to walk out the door without saying another word and Cunningham exclaims; "What was I supposed to do?!" Bill turns and gets in the Sheriff's face and reprimands him that for starters he could sober up. Sheriff McNue is then asked what his strategy is by the Olegrande Mayor, Bill tells the man that he wants to get a rope around Frank's neck before he can do anymore damage. McNue then notices, to his anger, that the Marshal's badge is missing, looted off his body by one of Frank's outlaws.
McNue is later trying to find Frank's trail in the dirt but is having difficulty seeing, one of the lenses on his glasses is cracked. The Shoshone Brave from earlier appears behind Bill, the Brave has been following him. The Indian tells Bill that the gang of outlaws are moving south and they're sticking to the river. McNue taunts the Indian for following him and says; "If you lose me, I'm heading south."
Following the trail, he soon comes across a shack that Frank and his gang had sought shelter. The shack was filled with sick and dying men and women of a local town that had been spread with cholera. McNue finds Marshal John Cook's badge in the dirt, outside of the shack, surmising that Frank had been here. Bill heads inside to find the shack empty and a mass of a dozen or so filled graves in the back yard that had been dug by two of Frank's gang, to bury the townspeople. Sheriff McNue leaves the shack and carries on following Frank's trail. He comes to a stream and discounts his horse, so that he can wash his face. Suddenly, members of Frank's gang ambush Bill by the stream, demanding to know who he is and if he's been following them. Bill keeps his Sheriff badge covered by his coat. One of Frank's men; Alonzo Bunker, asks Bill why he has his coat pulled around him like that, to which Bill replies that it's because he's hiding a big rifle. The men laugh but they start to circle Bill from the stream's edge. Bill Chick questions the Sheriff and wants to know he is heading, he tells Chick that he's thinking about exploring Wyoming to try his hand at one if the big spreads out there and that he'sa forearm looking for ranch work. Chick tells McNue that he's heading in the wrong direction for Wyoming and that his ranching better be better than his exploring. Floyd Wilson appears behind the Sheriff and asks him if he's the one that has been following them. The Sheriff replies; "If I have, it wasn't on purpose." Frank Griffin then asks Bill if they have met before, to which Bill asks for Frank's name, although knowing it full well. Frank goes on to say that he wonders what took the life out of Bill's face. "Was it the weather, like most men out this way. Or was it maybe the things you've seen."
McNue goes to answer Griffin but he is cut off when the outlaw pulls and cocks his pistol, aiming it at Bill. "I think you're not what you say you are. You're harder than you're letting on. Why would you hide yourself like that?" Bill looks around and cooly replies; "Well, for starters, I'm amongst 30 hard men." Frank asks Bill if he has been following them, the Sheriff admits that he has and shows Frank his badge under his coat. Griffin remarks that he admires Bill's "ginger" and that sometimes men want him to kill them. Frank then asks if that is what Bill wants, for Frank to kill him. McNue retorts that he would prefer to kill Griffin first. Bill suddenly notices that the Shoshone Brave is watching them from the edge of the stream. Frank sees the Shoshone man as well and puts his pistol back into his holster. The outlaw wishes McNue luck and leaves with his gang, the Shoshone Brave had saved Bill's life.
Eager to bring Frank Griffin and his gang to justice, Bill McNue rides to the U.S army regiment camp to ask for help in catching the outlaw. McNue is greeted by Colonel Lowell, the commanding officer. However after asking for help the Colonel tells Bill that Frank and his gang is no longer the army's problem. "Not since Geronimo and a few hundred of his red-peckered Apache cousins decided to cross into Arizona last month." Bill asks the Colonel if he's been up to Creede and seen the massacre. Lowell replies; "The people of Creede took the law into their own hands and sooner or later, men like Frank Griffin find the wrong end of a rifle. It's just a matter of time." Sheriff McNue asks what will happen until then, the Colonel tells Bill that it is the responsibility of brave lawmen like himself. He pleads with Lowell for help and explains that Frank isn't far, that he saw him a days past at the Purgatoire river. However the Colonel stubbonly tells Sheriff McNue that although his cavalry could probably pick up Frank's trail and bring him in within the week, his orders point him elsewhere. Bill leaves the army camp with the Shoshone Brave that had accompanied him. McNue tells the Brave; "I can't take Frank Griffin on my own, that's for sure. It would be suicide." The Native Indian tells Bill to go home to his children, however Bill says that he cannot go back, not without Frank's head to show for it.
Sheriff McNue continues to follow the Griffin Gang's trail, with the Shoshone Brave following behind him, from a distance. Stopping at a diner for coffee, Bill notices a man reading a newspaper with the title; "The Secret of La Belle" written by A.T. Grigg, upon Grigg's discovery that the town was almost only inhabited by women. McNue leaves the diner and continues following Frank Griffin and his men.
Finding an ashed campsite after following the outlaws trail, Bill McNue examines the remains, he finds what is left of Frank Griffin's arm and a newspaper scrap. Reading the newspaper through the one good lense on his glasses, McNue learns about A.T. Grigg's article on the town and the trouble that is soon to reach them, Frank and his men were on their way to get revenge on Roy Goode and to slaughter the town in the process. Bill makes off with his horse, racing back to La Belle.
Bill McNue joins up with Roy Goode, who had found Ed Logan and his men at their campsite with a dozen of the horses from Alice Fletcher's ranch. Surmising that Ed Logan must of stolen them, Roy shoots him in the knee and as his men rush to their guns, Bill rides up to Roy's side with his rifle level. Bill says to the men; "Don't look at me, boys. I ain't help. So you just keep yourselves nice and still." McNue shows Goode the scrap of newspaper and he tells Ed's men to keep an eye on the herd until they get back. Roy shoots one of the men in the leg as a warning, much to Bill's dismay. Bill and Roy leave the men and continue their ride back to La Belle. Stopping at a stream, Roy tells the Sheriff that he wasn't going to come back, that he was on his way to California but picked up the herd of horses trail and it led him to Ed Logan and his men. Bill asks if it wasn't the horses but Alice Fletcher that brought Roy back. Roy dismisses Bill's question, saying that Alice isn't his to have and thar he knew Frank would come back. On the other side of the river, the Shoshone Brave appears and Bill asks Roy if he can see the Native Indian. Roy jokingly replies that he can, which Bill goes on to say that he thought he was seeing things and the Shoshone Brave was a figment of his imagination. The Shoshone man turns and rides away.
Some time later, as the shootout in La Belle between Frank and his men, and the women of La Belle rages on, Bill and Roy finally arrive. The Sheriff rides in and sees the dead body of his deputy; Whitey Winn, outside the sheriff's office, McNue kneels beside him and covers the body with his jacket as he says; "I'm so sorry, son." As the shooting finally stops and the survivors on both sides reload their guns, Bill steps into the street with his rifle. Frank and his men see McNue, then Roy Goode appears at the other end of the street with his rifle cocked, Frank and his men caught in the middle. Roy fires first, killing one of the outlaws, Bill starts shooting and a firefight ensues. Bill and Roy fight alongside eachother, killing dozens of Frank's men. Sheriff McNue injures Gatz Brown, who falls from his horse, the Sheriff then walks up and shoots Brown in the head as the outlaw reaches for his pistol. With Frank's men dead, the women from the hotel emerge bloody and some of the women were injured. Mary Agnes McNue walks around shooting the dead men in the street, the Sheriff stops her, placing hand on Mary's shoulder and telling her that they only need to be killed the once. Bill then asks where his children are, as they appear from the safety of the barn where they were seeking shelter, Bill meets them and hugs his children.
Later that day, Bill and the rest of the town bury the dead townspeople. The Sheriff speaks at the burial of Whitey Winn, he tells the crowd; "Whitey Winn was a sweet soul, not all that bright but brave, he's with his mom and pa now, which was what he always wanted."
Sheriff McNue meets with Roy Goode to say their farewells. Bill tells Roy that he aims to take good care of the townspeople, Bill also tells Roy that he told A.T. Grigg that Frank and Roy killed each other outside of town. The Sheriff wishes Roy good luck with his new life, calling him "Mr. Ward." Bill and Roy then part ways.
Relationships[edit | edit source]
Physical Appearance[edit | edit source]
Bill McNue is a middle aged man with dark hair and a moustache. He wears typical smart but appropriate attire for a Sheriff of a frontier town. He wears a Sheriff badge pinned to his coat and wears a rancher hat. Bill carries a pistol and a gunbelt.