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Death Comes for the Archbishop Summary

Willa Cather’s 1927 novel Death Comes for the Archbishop tells the story of Father Jean Marie Latour, a Jesuit priest in Sandusky, Ohio, and his reassignment to the newly-acquired territory of New Mexico. Have a custom written summary of the novel by Cather written by a Literature expert.

A few interesting facts about Willa Cather include the following:

  • Born Wiilella Sibert Cather
  • Born in Gore Virginia
  • Died at age 73
  • Lived most of her life in Manhattan, NY

Death Comes for the Archbishop Summary Promoted to bishop of the new diocese, Latour sets off with Father Joseph Vaillant, a personal friend. Bishop Latour and Father Vaillant are charged with reestablishing the Catholic Church in the region, taking control from the corrupt priests in the region.

After a journey of an entire year, the priests arrive in New Mexico, only to be met with hostility. Traveling by mule to a meeting with the Archbishop of Durango, Latour gets lost, rescued by a girl and taken to Agua Secreta, where his discovers the priests are charging to perform marriages, and native superstitions have corrupted worship. His reform of the church causes many of the priests to resign, which endears him to the local population.

After numerous adventures, many of which included the famous Western scout Kit Carson, Latour becomes determined to build a cathedral in Santa Fe. However, before the church can be built the wealthy man who has promised the money dies, leaving a financial mess. Vaillant is recalled to Rome to answer for some of the financial irregularities in his parish, after being named the first bishop of Colorado. In the end, the retired Bishop Latour questions whether he has accomplished anything worthwhile, fearful that he did not do enough to protect the Native Americans under his care.

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