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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

by Mark Twain

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Who is Injun Joe?

Injun Joe is a villain and murderer who is motivated by money and malice to kill Doctor Robinson, hunt for treasure, and plan to attack the Widow Douglas.

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Injun Joe is the villain in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. He is a nasty fellow, but he has a streak of cleverness about him that allows him to get away with much before he is finally trapped.

As Tom and Huck are sneaking around one night, they see Injun Joe, Muff Potter, and Doctor Robinson in the cemetery. They are robbing a grave. As the frightened boys watch in horror, the men begin to fight over money. This is pretty much Injun Joe's motive for doing anything: money. Muff is knocked out, and Injun Joe grabs Muff's knife and kills Doctor Robinson. He then convinces the drunk Muff that he is the guilty one. Tom and Huck dash off, believing that Injun Joe will not hesitate to kill them if he realizes they have seen what he has done. They are probably right; Injun Joe is that desperate and malicious.

Injun Joe shows up again at Muff Potter's trial. Tom cannot stand to see Muff convicted of a crime he did not commit, so he testifies about what he saw in the graveyard that night. Injun Joe, hearing what Tom has to say, is quick-thinking enough to jump out a window and escape.

But Injun Joe does not go far. He returns in disguise with another accomplice to dig up buried treasure in an abandoned house. He is greedy and set on getting money any way he can. Again, Tom and Huck watch and decide that they want the treasure, too. They will keep a close eye on Injun Joe.

Huck then discovers that Injun Joe is planning to attack the innocent Widow Douglas. He hurries to a neighbor with the news, and the men arrive just in time to save the Widow Douglas. Injun Joe has no consideration for anyone, not even a woman on her own.

In the end, Tom and Becky get trapped in a cave with Injun Joe. Tom finds a way out, but Injun Joe's cleverness fails him this time. He is trapped for good when Judge Thatcher (not knowing that Injun Joe is in the cave) orders that an iron door be installed at the entrance. Injun Joe dies of starvation in the cave.

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