|“|| "I can believe things that are true and I can believe things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not."
Sam is half-Cherokee. Her mother is white but her father is a "real reservation Indian" from Oklahoma. Her parents split up and her father went back to Oklahoma and opened a Taco Bell rip-off called Taco Bills. He doesn't like Sam and calls her a "halfbreed." Sam, however, is proud of her Native American blood because it helps her pay for college and someday might help her get a job.
Sam is a student at UW Madison. She is studying art history and women's studies. In her free time, she casts her own bronzes and works at a coffee shop to help cover the rent. Sam's aunt lives in El Paso, IL. Five times a year for the past three years, Sam hitchhikes from Madison, WI to El Paso, IL.
Her nephew (her half-sister's son) vanished last year. Likely, her "noncustodial asshole brother-in-law," the baby's father, took him. This happened in a "lovely, sweet, pretty little town" in the North Woods "where no one ever locks their doors."
Significance in narrativeEdit
Sam meets Shadow when he is asleep in his car near Peru, Illinois. She wakes him up to make sure he is alive and introduces herself. She knows Shadow will give her a ride because she is a "damsel in distress." The two of them have breakfast in Peru, Illinois. Shadow flips a coin to see who will pay for the meal and Sam checks the coin before agreeing to the deal. Shadow, however, fakes the toss so that he pays for Sam.
Sam and Shadow discuss Herodotus and mythology. Sam talks about a book she read which tells of how five-thousand years ago, the two hemispheres of the human brain were not connected, so when the right hemisphere spoke, people thought it was gods talking to them. Sam does not believe in gods, and compares them to how people think they see aliens. Sam also tells Shadow a myth about Odin.
When Shadow drops her off at her house, Sam invites him in, saying that her aunt would make him coffee, but Shadow says he needs to keep going.
Marguerite Olsen calls her half-sister, Samantha Black Crow, and they discuss Marge's new neighbor, Mike Ainsel. Sam decides to come to Lakeside for a visit and tells Marge to invite the neighbor for dinner.
Marge invites Shadow to her place for spaghetti and meatballs at six. Shadow arrives at Marge's for dinner shortly before Marge's half-sister, Sam, returns from the store. Shadow and Sam pretend to not know each other while they sit down to dinner and Sam shares stories about their family. After dinner, while Marge puts Leon to bed, Sam takes Shadow to the Buck Stops Here. On the way to the bar, Sam and Shadow discuss the Spooks and Sam convinces Shadow to tell her the truth because she can "believe anything." Shadow explains to her about the war between the Old Gods and the New and she tells him she won't turn him in.
Chad Mulligan is at the bar with his distant cousin, who turns out to be Audrey Burton. She screams and causes a scene when she sees Shadow and orders for him to be arrested for murdering the two Spooks. Sam tells Audrey off before kissing Shadow to show she's on his side. Mulligan takes Shadow outside and sends Audrey away before driving Shadow to his office.
In Madison, Sam is closing up shop where she works at a coffee house when her girlfriend, Natalie, arrives. They talk about weird dreams as they head to the movies with Sam revealing she sometimes dreams of the Buffalo Woman and Shadow. Natalie asks Sam who gave her the flowers and Sam is surprised to find she is holding a half-dozen white roses and never knowing where they came from. Shadow had stopped off in Madison and looked Sam up but didn't intrude when he saw her with Natalie.
Sam is described as having a "tangle of short dark hair and a face that was both attractive...and faintly mannish: her features might have been chiseled out of a rock."
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
- Neil Gaiman explained on his Tumblr, when asked about Sam's age, that in the novel she is "20ish".