Ernest Burkhart's Journey: Life After 'Killers of the Flower Moon'


"Killers of the Flower Moon," directed by Martin Scorsese and featuring the remarkable Leonardo DiCaprio, has captured audiences with its chilling portrayal of the Osage Indian murders and the dark conspiracy that unfolded in the 1920s. As we get engrossed in the film's gripping narrative, it's easy to forget that these events involved real people, whose lives extended far beyond the credits.

One of the central figures in this tale of murder, greed, and conspiracy is Ernest Burkhart, portrayed by DiCaprio. But what happened to him after the events of the film? From parole to prison and attempts at reconciliation, let's uncover the lesser-known chapters of Ernest's life and his pursuit of redemption.

Ernest Burkhart's Parole

After the intense events of "Killers of the Flower Moon," many viewers wondered about the fate of Ernest Burkhart. The film concludes with Ernest being sent to prison, a consequence of his involvement in the Osage murders, but what followed remained shrouded in mystery.

Ernest Burkhart - Killers of the Flower Moon - Paramount Pictures
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

In 1937, Ernest Burkhart found himself at a turning point in his life. He had been sentenced to life in prison in 1926 for his role in the murders that haunted the Osage community. However, just 11 years after the events of the film, a surprising turn of events occurred. Ernest was granted parole.

This pivotal moment in Ernest's life left many questions. What led to his parole, and why was he released relatively soon after such serious charges? "Killers of the Flower Moon" briefly touches on his parole, but the film does not delve deep into the circumstances and motivations behind it.

Ernest's parole marked a new chapter in his life, one that would take unexpected and intriguing turns. From this point forward, his journey continued, carrying him through a series of events that would eventually lead to surprising outcomes, both for him and those around him.

Ernest's Return to Prison

Ernest Burkhart's life was not straightforward after his parole in 1937. While many might have assumed that parole was the start of a fresh chapter, Ernest's path took a surprising turn. In 1941, he found himself back behind bars.

This unexpected return to prison was triggered by an unfortunate incident. Ernest, once again entangled in criminal activities, made a grave error. He robbed his former sister-in-law, Lillie Morrell Burkhart. The consequences were severe, and he faced a new prison sentence.

Ernest's life appeared to have taken a grim and uncertain turn, but this was not the end of his story. Surprisingly, he would once again experience a change in his fate. In 1966, the Oklahoma Parole Board granted him another chance at freedom. This time, they cited his involvement in the Osage murder investigation as a reason for his parole.

The story of Ernest Burkhart's life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs. His journey is marked by twists and unexpected opportunities for redemption. From returning to prison in 1941 to receiving a second chance in 1966, Ernest's story is far from ordinary.

Controversy Surrounding Paroles and Pardons

The post-"Killers of the Flower Moon" life of Ernest Burkhart and his uncle, William King Hale, is with its share of controversy. The parole and pardon of these key figures sparked intense debates that still resonate today.

Ernest and william - Killers of the Flower Moon - Paramount Pictures
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

In 1947, William King Hale, who was deeply involved in the sinister plot to profit from the murders of Osage people, received a full pardon. This decision by the authorities left many members of the Osage community deeply troubled. They believed that justice had not been served, and the outrage surrounding Hale's pardon was palpable.

Ernest Burkhart, too, found himself at the center of controversy due to his parole. His involvement in the crimes weighed heavily on the minds of those who questioned the appropriateness of his release. The debate surrounding the paroles and pardons of these individuals has persisted for decades.

The controversy surrounding these decisions is not confined to the pages of history. With the release of "Killers of the Flower Moon," these discussions have once again come to the forefront. The film has reignited public interest in the Osage murders and the actions of Ernest Burkhart and William King Hale.

The debate continues, and the complex web of choices, consequences, and emotions that surrounds these individuals remains an integral part of their post-"Killers of the Flower Moon" legacy.

Ernest's Attempt to Reconnect with Family

After his release from prison, Ernest Burkhart faced a challenging road. He had paid for his involvement in the Osage murders, but the scars of the past ran deep. One aspect of his life post-"Killers of the Flower Moon" was his attempt to reconnect with his family.

Margie Burkhart, the granddaughter of Ernest and Mollie Burkhart, offers a glimpse into this complicated story. Margie, who is now 61 (as of 2023), recalled the first time she met her grandfather. An elderly Ernest visited her house, an encounter that must have been filled with mixed emotions.

The Osage murders had devastated their family tree, leaving few living descendants. Margie grew up hearing about the terrible things her grandfather had done, and it was not easy for her. Her father even pointed out landmarks in Oklahoma, reminding her of the role Ernest played in the deaths of her ancestors.

Despite the anger and resentment she carried, there were still some remnants of a relationship. Margie shared that her father had asked Ernest to house-sit while they were on vacation. This seemingly contradictory dynamic underscores the complex nature of family bonds and forgiveness.

Ernest Burkhart's journey included not only his personal quest for redemption but also his efforts to reconnect with his family.

Ernest Burkhart's Death

Ernest Burkhart's life journey finally came to a close on December 1, 1986, when he passed away in Cleveland, Oklahoma. He had lived for 94 years, a remarkable span that encompassed a multitude of experiences, from the dark days of the Osage murders to his pursuit of a new path after his release from prison.

Ernest's death marked the end of an era, not only for him but also for the many lives he had touched, directly and indirectly, throughout his long and complex life. His passing allowed for reflection on the man who had been both a perpetrator and a survivor, a figure enmeshed in the intricate web of history that the film "Killers of the Flower Moon" so vividly portrayed.

Wrap Up

The story of Ernest Burkhart, the central character in "Killers of the Flower Moon," is one marked by complexity and contradiction. It reflects the larger narrative of the Osage murders and the enduring quest for justice and redemption.

Ernest's post-"Killers of the Flower Moon" life was a rollercoaster, from parole to return to prison and eventual pardon. His attempt to reconnect with his family, while filled with resentment, showcases the enduring power of familial bonds. His passing in 1986 marked the end of an era, leaving us with a legacy that prompts reflection.

Sources: The Oklahoman, Oklahoma Historical Society, People.

Ernest Burkhart's Journey Life After 'Killers of the Flower Moon'

Author: Mary Taylor

Author/Writer - Mary Taylor

Introducing Mary Taylor! When she's not gardening or running her household like a superhero, she's a wordsmith extraordinaire. With her keyboard and a sharp eye, she dives into the world of Movies & TV Shows, crafting articles that could star in their own Entertainment Enigma.

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