Llewelyn Moss: Cream-and-Brown Plaid Shirt

Josh Brolin as Llewelyn Moss in No Country for Old Men (2007)

Vitals

Josh Brolin as Llewelyn Moss, taciturn welder, hunter, and Vietnam veteran

Del Rio, Texas, to Mexico, Summer 1980

Film: No Country for Old Men
Release Date: November 9, 2007
Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Mary Zophres

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Having found two million dollars in a briefcase at the scene of a drug deal gone sour, laconic welder Llewelyn Moss also finds himself the target of multiple groups of criminals.

Moss packs up his wife (Kelly MacDonald) and heads to the border town of Del Rio, Texas, where he shacks up in a motel. Eventually, Llewelyn is forced to face the fact that he’s not as wily as he thinks… however, he is crafty.

Llewelyn lets his MacGyver side show as he buys a tent (“the kind with lots of poles”), modifies a shotgun for more effective use as an assault weapon, and strategically rents a second motel room (“it’s got two double beds!”) to retrieve his cache of cash from the vent of his previous room, which has been taken over by killers of a drug syndicate.

One of the film’s most thrilling and suspenseful sequences finds Llewelyn putting his plan into action, using a contraption of tent poles and cheap wire hangers to slide his deceiving expensive briefcase across the vent… all while the gun-toting squatters in his old room find themselves ventilated by Anton Chigurh’s silenced shotgun.

Llewelyn’s “good ol’ boy” wits may have helped him out of that situation, but it isn’t until he gets to Eagle Pass and now finds himself the target of Anton’s shotgun that he realizes he’s betrayed by a simple piece of technology. Even with all the tent poles in the world at his disposal, Llewelyn is no match for this new breed of criminality.

What’d He Wear?

Like a hunter dressed in camouflage, Llewelyn Moss dresses to match the dry sandy tones of his West Texas surroundings. This costume choice isn’t unique to Llewelyn; all the characters who belong in this quiet, desolate setting – including Sheriff Ed Tom Bell – are dressed as an extension of that setting in earth tones and shades of beige, tan, and brown. Outsiders like Anton Chigurh and Carson Wells disrupt the natural order in their cooler blacks and grays; they may incorporate some Western-inspired details with yokes, boots, and hats, but these two men don’t belong like Llewelyn and Ed Tom… or at least they didn’t belong before.

Even when he leaves the rural trappings of Terrell County, Llewelyn is still dressed to blend in with his sandy palette, wearing a brown-on-cream plaid Western-styled snap shirt that resembles the tan-on-cream tartan plaid shirt he wore for his introductory scene. The plaid pattern consists of two grids in sand brown: four main stripes and a thinner grid of double stripe sets. Every section where the four main stripes cross is accented by a pale blue square behind it.

This blog tends to focus on clothing, but it's also worth mentioning that 2007 was definitely The Year of Josh Brolin's Badass '70s Mustaches.

This blog tends to focus on clothing, but it’s also worth mentioning that 2007 was definitely The Year of Josh Brolin’s Badass ’70s Mustaches.

Llewelyn’s shirt snaps down the front with seven mother-of-pearl snaps on the placket, including one on his collar that he leaves open. The long point collar is characteristic for 1980. Each sleeve has three snaps at the cuff, but Llewelyn typically wears the shirt cuffs unfastened and rolled up to his elbows.

Western-influenced details are the pointed yokes on the front of each shoulder and a pointed yoke in the center of the back. There are two patch pockets on the chest that each close with a pointed flap that snaps in the center.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

Josh Brolin's screen-worn Anto shirt, courtesy of Premiere Props.

Josh Brolin’s screen-worn Anto shirt, courtesy of Premiere Props.

This is the third of four snap shirts that Llewelyn wears over the course of the film, and it most closely resembles the first one he wore when hunting pronghorn. His second shirt is blue and reflects the night sky. His fourth shirt, purchased after he shows up back in Texas wearing only a hospital gown and his Larry Mahans, is yellow with a fancy orange broken stripe.

Llewelyn Moss is one of many No Country for Old Men characters to wear shirts from Anto Beverly Hills, and this shirt is no exception. Several versions of this shirt, in various states of bloody distress, can be found at online auctions and sale sites.

One particularly bloody version of this costume was sold for $275 in November 2007, just one week after the film was released. The listing describes the three items sold as:

Llewelyn Moss’ (Josh Brolin) blood-soaked cream and brown plaid “Anto Beverly Hills” L/S snap-up western style shirt, white “Fruit of the Loom” undershirt tank top, and soiled blue denim “Levi’s” 505 regular fit jeans.

Brolin evidently wore several white ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirts with this outfit, as screen-worn versions from Hanes can be found at online collections like this one.

One item that never varies are Llewelyn’s blue denim straight fit jeans. The Levi’s back patch is visible as Llewelyn typically wears his shirt tucked in and never wears a belt.

The familiar Levi's branded "two horses" patch, seen here on Llewelyn's jeans, has been part of the Levi Strauss brand since 1886.

The familiar Levi’s branded “two horses” patch, seen here on Llewelyn’s jeans, has been part of the Levi Strauss brand since 1886. Read more about it here.

Levi’s has continually produced its 505™ Regular Fit jeans since 1967, made from 100% non-stretch ringspun cotton denim and still marketed as “the original zip fly jeans”. Llewelyn wears a pair of 505s in a rich dark blue stonewash. (Available from Levi’s directly or retailers like Amazon.)

Well established as the Texan’s Texan, it’s no surprise that Llewelyn Moss’s preferred footwear is cowboy boots. However, he was forced to abandon his own boots when the Bronco gunmen chase him into the water, so Llewelyn arrives in Del Rio wearing a pair of canvas low-top Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers with the distinctive white laces and white rubber outsoles. This item listing confirms their color as dark green. (Available from Amazon or straight from Converse for $50.)

(Left) Llewelyn Moss arrives in Del Rio with few, but valuable, belongings. (Right) Llewelyn's screen-worn shirt, jeans, and Converse sneakers, as featured in this listing.

(Left) Llewelyn Moss arrives in Del Rio with few, but valuable, belongings.
(Right) Llewelyn’s screen-worn shirt, jeans, and Converse sneakers, as featured in this listing.

“You got a pair of Larry Mahans, shouder size 11?” asks Llewelyn after he arrives in Del Rio, prepared to make his last stand in the tradition of John Wayne and Gary Cooper. He changes out of his Converses and slips into a pair of brown leather cowboy boots with decorative stitched shafts, similar to this bullhide pair found on eBay but in a slightly lighter shade of brown.

Larry Mahan is a retired rodeo champion and six-time winner of the World All-Around Rodeo Champion title, including five consecutive years from 1966 to 1970. He made the most of his fame, releasing a record album, appearing in movies and TV, and – most relevant for this blog – starting the Larry Mahan Boot Collection alongside his own clothing line in the 1970s.

Llewelyn's boots are the only item that survived his rough night at the border.

Llewelyn’s boots are the only item that survived his rough night at the border.

Boots in hand, Llewelyn is ready to complete his exciting purchase…

Llewelyn: “Y’all sell socks?”
salesman: “Just white.”
Llewelyn: “White’s all I wear.”

Llewelyn wastes no time in heading into the store’s restroom to change, evidently driven by a greater sense of urgency than a new pair of socks would normally require.

#CurtSchillingProblems

#CurtSchillingProblems

Llewelyn wears a beige straw hat with a wide curved brim. The tall, creased cattleman’s crown has irregularly perforated ventilation to keep him cool during long days spent hunting pronghorn under the Texan sun. The inside is unlined and has a black leather sweatband.

Llewelyn’s hat is possibly (and likely) a Stetson that shares some similarities with this 10X Rincon hat and this 10X Barrow hat, both in natural straw and each available for less than $100.

"You just call me if anyone else checks in tonight. And by anyone, I mean any swingin' dude." Readers of Cormac McCarthy's novel know that this was one line slightly changed for screen.

“You just call me if anyone else checks in tonight. And by anyone, I mean any swingin’ dude.” Readers of Cormac McCarthy’s novel know that this was one line slightly changed for screen.

While not the most dedicated or selfless of husbands, Llewelyn always wears his silver-toned wedding band on the third finger of his left hand. Poor Carla Jean…

Llewelyn Moss tries to fight his way out of a scrape at the Eagle Pass Hotel.

Llewelyn Moss tries to fight his way out of a scrape at the Eagle Pass Hotel.

How to Get the Look

Llewelyn Moss looks the part of a rugged, authentic Texan “man of the earth” from head to toe, from his no-frills Western-styled plaid shirt to his timeless jeans without a flashy belt or buckle.

  • Brown-on-cream plaid cotton Western-styled shirt with point collar, front placket (with mother-of-pearl snaps), chest patch pockets (with pointed single-snap flaps), and triple-snap cuffs
  • White ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt
  • Levi’s 505 Regular Fit non-stretch cotton denim jeans in dark blue stonewash
  • Brown leather Larry Mahan cowboy boots
  • White tube socks
  • Beige straw Stetson cowboy hat with ventilated crown, curved brim, and thin dark brown leather corded band
  • Silver wedding band

The Gun

A man on the run heads into a Texas sporting goods store and asks for a twelve-gauge pump shotgun and a box of 00 buck shells that’ll give “a wallop”. Sam Peckinpah fans were undoubtedly reminded of Steve McQueen in The Getaway as Llewelyn Moss found himself picking out his Chinese-made Norinco clone of the classic Winchester Model 1897 pump-action shotgun.

Considering that he actually pays for the weapon and doesn't draw a pistol on him, Llewelyn Moss is much nicer to this store clerk than McQueen was in The Getaway.

Considering that he actually pays for the weapon and doesn’t draw a pistol on him, Llewelyn Moss is much nicer to this store clerk than McQueen was in The Getaway.

The book describes “a twelve gauge Winchester pump gun and a box of double ought buckshot shells” as Moss’ weapon of choice. References made to the shotgun’s external hammer, a feature exclusive to Winchester’s Model 1897 (and its far less common predecessor, the Model 1893) narrow it down exactly. It was this direction that also guided the film’s property master, Keith Walters, who mentions this fact in the DVD special features.

Llewelyn tries to be quiet with his hammer, but it's just loud enough to tip off Chigurh that his target may be waiting for him. (Still quieter than racking the slide, though!)

Llewelyn tries to be quiet with his hammer, but it’s just loud enough to tip off Chigurh that his target may be waiting for him. (Still quieter than racking the slide, though!)

“Moss has to kinda work for his weapons,” Walters noted. “Chigurh just somehow seems to pull them out of thin air.”

While a full-length Winchester Model 1897 shotgun would be very effective for hunting, Llewelyn needs something a bit more effective for darting around corners in old hotels. He begins by sawing off the walnut stock for a “pistol grip” effect, then duct-taping the grip to smooth it out and avoid splinters.

Next, he uses his handsaw to cut about eight inches off of the “Field”-length barrel, rendering it closer to the 20″ barrel of the “Riot” model.

Surely, firearms enthusiasts were cringing at the thought of an original Winchester being so crudely sawed... fear not, it's a Norinco reproduction.

Surely, firearms enthusiasts were cringing at the thought of an original Winchester being so crudely sawed… fear not, it’s a Norinco reproduction.

More than one million Winchester Model 1897 shotguns were manufactured in various configurations for 60 continuous years, including a “Trench” model that was so effective during World War I that the anguished Germans formally protested against the weapons.

Yeah, I would call that effective.

Yeah, I would call that effective.

While cosmetically similar to the Winchester original, the Norinco reproduction has received mixed feedback about; the “fit and finish” received some criticism when compared to Winchester, but Bob Campbell posted a glowing review of the Norinco’s “’97 Wild Bunch Shotgun” earlier this year at The Shooter’s Log.

Campbell, who owns both a Norinco replica and an original Winchester ’97 produced in 1957 during its final year of production, states that his “original Winchester isn’t quite as smooth as the Norinco Wild Bunch shotgun,” which he praises for its reliability, its accurate “period look”, and just being fun to fire. (The final point is partially due to the fact that the Norinco retains the Winchester’s lack of a trigger disconnector, allowing it to fire each time the action closes with the trigger depressed, a feature absent on most modern shotguns.)

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie and read Cormac McCarthy’s masterful novel, to which the final film is very faithful. As Ethan Coen himself recalled from the brothers’ adaptation process: “One of us types into the computer while the other holds the spine of the book open flat.”

The Quote

Carla Jean: I got a bad feeling, Llewelyn.
Llewelyn: Well, I got a good feeling, so that should even out.

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