Season: 1–6, Episodes: 104, Faction: Survivors
James Ford, better known by the alias Sawyer, and known to the DHARMA Initiative as Jim LaFleur, was one of the middle section survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. His rural Southern accent, selfishness, machismo, and folksy use of oft-abrasive nicknames belied his sophisticated and tender sides as an avid reader and a caring lover—elements of his personality that became more apparent as he spent more time on the Island.
On the Island, Sawyer used his skills as a confidence man to accomplish various ends. He hoarded material possessions to leverage power, leading to his involvement in several “A-missions”. His acts of rebellion led him to, at various times, become the most hated survivor on the island, though he still formed a bond with Kate.
In an early attempt at rescue, Sawyer left the Island along with Jin, Michael and Walt on Michael’s raft but was forced to return when Walt was kidnapped and the raft was blown up by the Others. They washed up on shore and met up with the previously unknown tail section survivors of Flight 815 and returned to camp. After pulling off a long con, he gained control of all the guns and a position of power over the other survivors. He was later captured by the Others, along with Jack and Kate, as a result of Michael’s betrayal. While with the Others, Sawyer and Kate were used as leverage to convince Jack to perform surgery on their leader, Benjamin Linus, until he and Kate eventually escaped. During the time spent on Hydra Island and through the remainder of season three, Sawyer started an on-again, off-again relationship with Kate. Sawyer was asked by John Locke to kill a man, Anthony Cooper, who was revealed to be the real “Sawyer”. After Jack called the freighter for rescue, Sawyer joined Locke and a small number of survivors sheltered in the Barracks.
When the Oceanic Six left in the helicopter, Sawyer was left behind after he kissed Kate goodbye (also whispering her to tell his daughter he’s sorry) and heroically jumped into the ocean, when the chopper was running low on fuel. This sort of ended his relationship with Kate. He and a small group of survivors underwent time shifts as a result of Ben moving the Island. He led the small group until a final time shift, where they were stuck in 1974. Sawyer joined the DHARMA Initiative and eventually became their head of security. He began a relationship with Juliet and continued to live in the 1970s for three years until Jack, Hurley and Kate returned to the Island following the crash of Ajira Airways 316.
Sawyer joined the Man in Black upon meeting him, although he ultimately betrayed him whileboarding Widmore’s submarine to escape the Island. The Man in Black however, had conned Sawyer into stealing the sub so that he could kill the remaining candidates with a bomb. After the explosion, Sawyer was knocked unconscious and brought ashore by Jack. While Jack was preventing the Island from being destroyed, Sawyer managed to escape on the Ajira plane with Kate, Claire, Frank, Richard, and Miles.
In the flash sideways, Sawyer was a police detective rather than a crook. Eventually, he was reunited with his lover, Juliet Carlson, and they moved on together with their friends.
1×16 – Outlaws
James Ford was born in 1968 in Jasper, Alabama. When he was eight, a man known as “Sawyer” slept with his mother, claiming he’d take her out of Alabama. The man swindled the family out of all their savings, enraging James’s father. He shot his wife then turned the gun on himself, while young James hid under the bed and watched. (“Outlaws”)
5×16 – The Incident, Part 1
At the funeral, James began a letter to the con man, vowing to find him one day and kill him. A stranger gave him a pen when his dried out, and he finished the letter, though he promised his uncle he wouldn’t. (“The Incident, Part 1”)
1×08 – Confidence Man
James dropped out of school in the ninth grade. At 19, he was $6,000 in debt, and he tried the confidence trick his nemesis has used to obtain the money. He later adopted the name of his enemy. Though he continued tracking the original Sawyer to take revenge, he became the very man he hunted. (“Confidence Man”)
Life as a Con Man
1×08 – Confidence Man
James often employed his earlier con. He once tried to swindle a couple out of $160,000, but when he saw their young son, he abruptly called off the deal. (“Confidence Man”)
2×13 – The Long Con
A later victim, Cassidy, saw through the trick, and Sawyer took her on as an apprentice as part of a longer con against her. He seemed genuinely fond of Cassidy, and for a while considered abandoning the scam. His partner in the con though forced his hand by threatening Cassidy’s life. (“The Long Con”)
3×15 – Left Behind
Cassidy gave him up to the authorities on the advice of Kate, whom she met shortly after the relationship ended. (“Left Behind”)
3×04 – Every Man for Himself
The court sentenced him to approximately seven years. About nine months into the sentence, Cassidy visited, saying she’d given birth to his child, Clementine. The warden commuted the last six years of Sawyer’s sentence in exchange for conning a fellow prisoner into revealing where he’d stashed stolen money. He deposited his commission from the deal anonymously in an account in Clementine’s name. (“Every Man for Himself”)
1×16 – Outlaws
After his release, he and Hibbs participated in the Tampa Job, which by accounts did not turn out well for him. (“Outlaws”)
1×16 – Outlaws
Hibbs later approached James, claiming the original Sawyer was named Frank Duckett and lived in Sydney. James traveled to Australia, and while there he purchased a gun from one of Hibbs’ associates.
Sawyer visited a bar and met Christian Shephard, who talked about his son and encouraged Sawyer to finish the business he planned to do.
With this in mind, James met Duckett and shot him. He realized right after though that Hibbs had tricked him again – Duckett was innocent. James ran. (“Outlaws”)
1×13 – Hearts and Minds | 1×23 – Exodus, Part 1
He later got into a bar fight and head-butted the Australian Minister of Agriculture. Police dragged him to the station, passing a young man, and ordered him deported to America on Oceanic Flight 815. He never returned to Australia again. (“Hearts and Minds”) (“Exodus, Part 1”)
On the Island (Days 1-44)
1×02 – Pilot, Part 2
After Sawyer crashed on the Island, his drifter instincts took over and he began looting and hoarding from the wreck. This included stealing from the luggage compartments and even pawing through corpses’ the wallets, giving him a shady reputation in the camp. However, Sawyer soon became bored of keeping to himself and accompanied the group of survivors heading for higher ground to use the radio transmitter. On this trip, he began to know Kate. He also shot a polar bear, revealing that he had stolen a firearm from the U.S. Marshal after the crash. (“Pilot, Part 2”)
1×03 – Tabula Rasa
Sawyer shot the dying marshal in the chest with this gun after talking with Kate, but he missed the heart, hitting the lung instead. (“Tabula Rasa”)
1×04 – Walkabout
At the crash site, Hurley and Sawyer began fighting over the contents of a backpack, which contains the last of the peanuts. The group realizes that they have exhausted all of the food from the plane and face the prospect of starvation. Later, Sawyer found some diaries and documents and offered them to Claire. (“Walkabout”)
1×05 – White Rabbit
Shannon approached Sawyer looking for sand flee repellant, and after a flirtatious conversation about “payment”, Shannon rebuked his offer and stormed off.
Later, Kate & Sayid confronted Sawyer over the stolen water, after it is discovered that Jin traded with Sawyer for some water. They attempted to search his tent to find where he is hiding the water, and Sawyer revealed that the bottles he traded were the last of his own supply. (“White Rabbit”)
1×06 – House of the Rising Sun
Sawyer helped Michael out of the water after Jin attacked him on the beach. He later talked with Kate about moving to the caves. (“House of the Rising Sun”)
1×07 – The Moth
Sawyer gave Kate a laptop battery to assist Sayid with the triangulation of Rousseau’s signal. After Jack was trapped by a cave-in, he found Kate and Sayid but lied about why he joined them, after Kate’s comments towards him. He joined her to assist with triangulating the signal and took over after she ran to help him. (“The Moth”)
1×08 – Confidence Man
Sawyer revealed his stubborn and cocky attitude when Jack and the rest of the group accused him of hoarding a young woman’s asthma inhaler. His refusal to explicitly tell them the truth led Jack and Sayid to torture him.
Sawyer finally agreed to tell the truth, but only to Kate, from whom he demanded a kiss first. He then revealed that he never had the medicine in the first place. When he attempted to escape captivity a few moments later, Sayid tackled him and severed an artery in his right arm with a knife. Jack’s attempts to save him were rewarded by Sawyer hissing that if the tables were turned, he’d let the doctor die. Nevertheless, Jack succeeded in treating Sawyer’s wound. (“Confidence Man”)
1×09 – Solitary
At the main beach camp, Jack changes Sawyer’s bandages amongst a barrage of insults. The con man comments about Kate being interested in him, which prompts Jack to leave. The next day, during Hurley’s golf competition, Sawyer bet his bounty on the outcome of Jack’s putt. The group began to accept him, meeting his bets. (“Solitary”)
1×10 – Raised by Another
Hurley approached Sawyer’s tent looking for the flight manifest, he pointed out he could use the points amongst the Islanders. The tactic was successful and Sawyer gave Hurley the manifest.
Sawyer spoke with Walt about the rescue mission for Charlie & Claire, and suggests that Ethan might have simply lied about his name for the manifest. Walt thinks other people might live on the Island, and supports his claims with Sayid’s comments about hearing whispers in the jungle. The news that Sayid has returned causes Sawyer to take notice.
At the caves, Sawyer threatens Sayid, but stops himself from carrying out his revenge when he hears about the French woman and her claims of others on the Island. The mention of the whispering intrigues Sawyer. Deciding not to retaliate, Sawyer leaves, mentioning that the tide is coming up and the plane’s hull is almost in the water. (“All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues”)
1×12 – Whatever the Case May Be
While “watching over” Kate in the jungle, Sawyer who was hiding in the bushes is hit by a rock, thrown by Kate. They hear falling water nearby and follow the sound to a waterfall spring. Sawyer takes his shirt off and rushes into the water, encouraging Kate to follow. After some frolicking, they swim to the rocks, climbing up and diving back in. Underwater, they spot two dead bodies from the plane, strapped into their seats.
When they surface, Sawyer decides to dive again to check the passengers’ belongings. Kate, disgusted at the thought of raiding dead bodies, follows to stop him. However, she then notices a familiar Halliburton case trapped underneath one of the seats. As both emerge from the water, Kate asks Sawyer to help her fetch the case, claiming it is hers. They dive back down, and Sawyer retrieves the Halliburton case after some struggle, and hands it to Kate. She seems puzzled at how to open it, leading Sawyer to realize the case is not hers. He takes it back to check her reaction. Kate acts indifferent and heads back to camp, leaving the case with him to avoid answering his questions about it.
Later in the jungle, Sawyer follows Michael’s advice by hitting the case on some rocks several times, but the case still refuses to open. Frustrated, he climbs up a tree and throws the case down; again it fails to open. While he is still up the tree, Kate suddenly rushes in and picks up the case from the ground, then runs away with it. Sawyer soon catches up with her and gets the case back. (“Whatever the Case May Be”)
1×14 – Special
When Charlie & Kate came to his tent in search of Claire’s diary, he joked that he was the prime suspect. He then toyed with Charlie over what Claire wrote, resulting in the two coming to blows and forcing Kate to break it up. (“Special”)
1×16 – Outlaws
Kate and Sawyer’s relationship soon became more intense, after Kate found the letter Sawyer wrote as a boy to the man who conned his parents. In addition, while hunting a boar that ransacked Sawyer’s tent, the pair played a notable game of “I never”, in which Sawyer admitted a number of both significant and trivial points about his past. The following day, the two located the boar they had been hunting, but at the last moment Sawyer decided to spare the animal’s life, as it reminded him of the man he killed in Sydney. Also on that day, the two heard whispers in the jungle, supporting Sayid’s account of a similar experience, and suggesting that they may not be alone on the Island. (“Outlaws”)
1×17 – …In Translation
When Jack came to Michael to ask who was leaving on the raft, Michael told Jack that Sawyer had already bought a seat with scavenged parts for the raft’s construction. The next day after the raft had been burnt down, Sawyer attacks Jin, who he believed was to blame and marched him back to the beach and delivered him to Michael. (“…In Translation”)
1×18 – Numbers
Down at the beach, Sawyer reads a book while Michael and Jin have a tiff over the raft building, and eventually leaves in disgust. (“Numbers”)
1×21 – The Greater Good
While assisting with the construction of the raft, Sawyer expresses to Charlie his irritation at the sound of the baby crying. At the sound of Sawyer’s voice, however, the baby immediately stops crying. Charlie understands quickly and starts following Sawyer around. Later, Charlie enlists the help of Sawyer to keep the baby from crying, and successively does so by having Sawyer read from a magazine. (“The Greater Good”)
1×22 – Born to Run
When Kate attempted to steal his spot, Sawyer exposed Kate as a fugitive to the entire group, causing animosity between them. (“Born to Run”)
1×23 – Exodus, Part 1
Before leaving on the raft, Sawyer also told Jack that he had actually met Jack’s father in Sydney before Christian died, which partially mended the rivalry between Sawyer and Jack.
1×24 – Exodus, Part 2
During their journey on the raft, the rudder breaks off and Sawyer dives into the water to after it. He successfully retrieves the rudder and Sawyer’s gun is discovered by Michael in his shirt. (“Exodus, Part 2”)
1×25 – Exodus, Part 3
While on the raft, Sawyer witnessed the attack by the Others, and when he tried to stop them from taking Walt, was shot in the shoulder, knocking him overboard. As he scrambled in the water, the raft was destroyed by a Molotov. (“Exodus, Part 3”)
Associated LOST Themes
Associated DHARMA Stations
Decoded Family Members & Lovers
Decoded Season 1 Characters
Decoded Season 2 Characters
Decoded Season 3 Characters
Decoded Season 4 Characters
Decoded Season 5 Characters
Decoded Season 6 Characters
Key Episode(s) to Decoding the Character
(Menu; in older literature sometimes – incorrectly – Amsu) Min is depicted as a man with a large erect penis which he holds with his left hand while his right arm is raised, with a flail poised over it. While it might be expected that his raised arm is brandishing the flail, in fact the flail (in Egyptian nekhakha) is never shown gripped in his hand. It has been suggested, therefore, that the flail represents a power emanating from Min’s upraised hand itself, a common epithet of Min’s being ‘who raises his arm’. While earlier generations of scholars inferred from Min’s erect penis that his principal function was fertility, it has recently been argued that Min’s upraised arm and erect penis are, in fact, both manifestations of his protective function, a form of display known as “phallic intimidation” (Ogdon 1985). The same flail is also seen poised over images of the recumbent Anubis or recumbent bovine-form deities, as well as occurring in the hieroglyphic determinative for ‘nobility’, which shows a seated or kneeling man grasping the flail. Min wears a crown with tall plumes atop it and streamers hanging from its back, and is dressed in the wrappings of a mummy. The plumes on Min’s crown also appear to be paradigmatic, for we read in CT spell 335, “I am Min in his goings out, I have set the two plumes on my head,” and again in 371, “my plumes are on my head like Min of Coptos.” The latter spell is for “eating bread” in the netherworld, and thus the plumes could represent the stems of wheat or barley plants, pointing to an association of Min with agricultural fertility. In a passage from the Pyramid Texts (PT utterance 667A), however, the plumes seem to be represent the power of flight: the deceased king is urged to “raise yourself as Min; fly up to the sky and live with them [the Gods], cause your wings to grow with the feathers on your head and your feathers on your arms.”
One of Min’s most important associations is with the eastern desert, where Egyptians went to quarry stones of every kind under Min’s protection, in particular from the often-hostile tribes of the region. This association with the eastern desert means that Min is frequently invoked as representing the direction of the east in general and the eastern horizon. The sunrise therefore probably contributes to the symbolism of Min’s erection and of his raised arm as well. In PT utterance 673 it is said that “you [the deceased] give orders to the sun-folk as Min who is in his house,” while the general sense of rising is conveyed by BD spell 170, “for raising the bier,” which states “O Osiris N., Min of Coptos lifts thee, and the Gods of the shrine adore thee.” Min is frequently depicted housed in his own shrine, perhaps alluding to his role as guardian of the gates and doors of temples. It has been suggested that an enigmatic symbol associated with Min from the earliest period of Egyptian history represents a door-bolt, and indeed in PT utterance 313 the door-bolt of the doors of the sky is imagined as the phallus of Babi, a similarly ithyphallic deity (Wilkinson 1991). Min is also known as “protector of the moon” during its vulnerable dark phase (La Lune, 46-48).
Min is frequently identified with Horus, either as Horus-Min or Min-Horus, or by simple substitution. Hence the ancient commentary on the passage from CT spell 335, quoted above, identifies “Min in his goings out” as “Horus, Protector of his father,” and “his two plumes” as “his [Horus’] two great plumes” – variant manuscripts read “his great uraeus” or “uraei” (fire-spitting cobras) – “which were on the head of his father [i.e., Horus’ ancestor] Atum.” The identification of Min and Horus means that Min is frequently characterized as the son of Isis. In one magical spell (no. 95 in Borghouts), however, Min is said to be “the son of the White Sow who is in Heliopolis,” which may refer to Isis or to an archaic Goddess originally associated with Min whose identity eludes us. Min is particularly identified with Horus in an episode from the Conflict of Horus and Seth, in which Seth, after attempting to prove his superiority over Horus to the divine tribunal by implicating Horus in a homosexual encounter in which Seth was the dominant partner, is instead tricked into consuming the semen of Horus himself. When called forth by Thoth, the semen shows its presence by a solar disk appearing over Seth’s head. Thus an offering scene at Edfu urges Min to “cause your seed to enter the body of the enemy, that he may be pregnant, and that your son may come out from his forehead,” (Ogdon, 33f). The characteristic offering to Min is lettuce, the milky juice of which Egyptians compared to semen. Hence, in the scene from Edfu cited above, the pharaoh is depicted offering lettuce to Min and says to him, “Take for yourself the beautiful green plants which are with me, that you may cast the sacred fluid which is in it.”
It is interesting to note that although one might expect Min to be an essentially masculine deity, CT spell 967, which comes from a woman’s sarcophagus, affirms that “My phallus is that of Min.”
Appearance: a man with a large erect penis. Sometimes he is shown in the garb of a pharaoh, wearing a feathered crown and carrying a flail.
Description: a very ancient god, Min has become rather popular in the modern era, a sort of resurgence of his cult. Min was honored with a variety of ceremonies, some involving the harvest, others praying for a male heir to the pharaoh. Lettuce was his sacred plant, for it was believed by the Egyptians to be an aphrodisiac. The Greeks identified him with their god Pan, and the Romans believed Min to be the same god as Priapus.
Worshipped: Worshipped widely throughout Egypt by the end of the New Kingdom, his cult centers were at Koptos and Akhmin (Panopolis).
Min is an Ancient Egyptian god whose cult originated in predynastic times (4th millennium BC). He was represented in many different forms, but was often represented in male human form, shown with an erect penis which he holds in his left hand and an upheld right arm holding a flail. As Khem or Min, he was the god of reproduction; as Khnum, he was the creator of all things, “the maker of gods and men”. As a god of fertility, he was shown as having black skin to reflect the fertile black mud of the Nile’s inundation. His cult was strongest in Coptos and Akhmim (Panopolis), where in his honour great festivals were held celebrating his “coming forth” with a public procession and presentation of offerings. His other associations include the eastern desert and links to the god Horus. Flinders Petrie excavated two large statues of Min at Qift which are now in the Ashmolean Museum and it is thought by some that they are pre-dynastic. Although not mentioned by name a reference to ‘he whose arm is raised in the East’ in the Pyramid Texts is thought to refer to Min. His importance grew in the Middle Kingdom when he became even more closely linked with Horus as the deity Min-Horus. By the New Kingdom he was also fused with Amen in the deity Min-Amen-kamutef (Min-Amen – bull of his mother). Min’s shrine was crowned with a pair of bull horns. The eminent Indologist Sukumari Bhattacharji sees a close link between Min and the Indian god Shiva.
Min corresponds to Shiva very closely. He is ithyphallic, has the bull for his animal, is lunar by nature, and is associated with plants.
As the central deity of fertility and possibly orgiastic rites Min became identified by the Greeks with the god Pan. One feature of Min worship was the wild prickly lettuce Lactuca virosa and Lactuca serriola of which is the domestic version Lactuca sativa which has aphrodisiac and opiate qualities. He also had connections with Nubia. However, his main centres of worship were Qift (Coptos) and Akhmim (Khemmis). As a god of male sexual potency, he was honoured during the coronation rites of the New Kingdom, when the Pharaoh was expected to sow his seed — generally thought to have been plant seeds, although there have been controversial suggestions that the Pharaoh was expected to demonstrate that he could ejaculate — and thus ensure the annual flooding of the Nile. At the beginning of the harvest season, his image was taken out of the temple and brought to the fields in the festival of the departure of Min, when they blessed the harvest, and played games naked in his honour, the most important of these being the climbing of a huge (tent) pole. In Egyptian art, Min was depicted as wearing a crown with feathers, and often holding his penis erect in his left hand and a flail (referring to his authority, or rather that of the Pharaohs) in his upward facing right hand. Around his forehead, Min wears a red ribbon that trails to the ground, claimed by some to represent sexual energy. The symbols of Min were the white bull, a barbed arrow, and a bed of lettuce, that the Egyptians believed to be an aphrodisiac, as Egyptian lettuce was tall, straight, and released a milk-like substance when rubbed, characteristics superficially similar to the penis.
Even some war goddesses were depicted with the body of Min (including the phallus), and this also led to depictions, ostensibly of Min, with the head of a lioness. Min usually was depicted in an ithyphallic (with an erect and uncovered phallus) style. Christians routinely defaced his monuments in temples they co-opted and Victorian Egyptologists would take only waist-up photographs of Min, or otherwise find ways to cover his protruding penis. However, to the ancient Egyptians, Min was not a matter of scandal – they had very relaxed standards of nudity: in their warm climate, farmers, servants, and entertainers often worked partially or completely naked, and children did not wear any clothes until they came of age. In the 19th century, there was an alleged erroneous transcription of the Egyptian for Min as ḫm (“khem”). Since Khem was worshipped most significantly in Akhmim, the separate identity of Khem was reinforced, Akhmim being understood as simply a corruption of Khem. However, Akhmim is an alleged corruption of ḫm-mnw, meaning Shrine of Min, via the demotic form šmn. The existence of a god named Khem has been understood as a faulty reading only by Egyptologists who have contained their learning to the traditional Greek and Roman languages taught in American and British universities.