The Illuminatus! Trilogy Wiki

Born James Cash Cartwright, he commonly goes by "Jim". He is described in The Illuminatus! Trilogy as a short, fat, man. According to George Dorn, he has hot reptilian palms, and breath that smells of bourbon and cheap cigars.


Government Position

Holds title of Sheriff in Mad Dog County, Texas.

"I am Sheriff Jim Cartwright, nemesis of all evil in Mad Dog and Mad Dog County."

Criminal Involvement

Accepts bribes for pot to tbe smuggled through his county.

"The marijuana he had been smoking was raised in Cuernavaca by a farmer named Arturo Jesus Maria Ybarra y Mendez, who had sold it in bulk to a young Yanqui named Jim Riley, the son of a Dayton, Ohio, police officer, who in turn smuggled it through Mad Dog after paying a suitable bribe to Sheriff Jim Cartwright. After that it was resold to a Times Square dealer called Rosetta the Stoned and a Miss Walsh from Confrontation's research department bought ten ounces from her, later reselling five ounces to George, who then carried it back to Mad Dog without any suspicion that he was virtually completing a cycle."

Arrest of George Dorn

Sheriff Jim Cartwright as he appears in Illuminatus! (comic books) issue 0

Sheriff Jim busts George on a pot charge in an unnamed rundown hotel. He later questions George about his assignment. George is later busted out by Hagbard's crew.


George, during his arrest, mockingly states that it wasn't telepathy that informed the Sheriff of his drug posession. Sheriff Jim laughs back that it was, indeed, telepathy. Hagbard, later in the story, informs George that there is indeed a form of "insulated telepathy" used and that it was used by Sheriff Jim.

Initiation of Tobias Knight

In a meeting with Miss Mao, substituting for Hagbard, Jim Cartwright initiates Tobias Knight into the LDD, revealing that he holds title of Episkopos in Mad Dog Cabal of the LDD.

Meeting with Joe Malik

Sheriff Jim authors an essay titled: How the Ancient Bavarian Conspiracy Plotted and Carried Out the Assassinations of Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., George Lincoln Rockwell, Robert Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, George Wallace, Jane Fonda, Gabriel Conrad, and Hank Brummer and submits it to Joe Malik, in person, at Confrontation during a casual interview.

Character Notes


"Orson Welles playing "Hank Quinlan," a hulking fascist desert-southwest of US/Mexico cop in Touch of Evil. "Cartwright" taps into the cowboy vibe of the then-hit TV show "Bonanza." The bit where George tells Cartwright it wasn't "telepathy" that told him about his possession of pot but Cartwright says it was telepathy: in Touch of Evil, Quinlan/Welles thinks he has a special intuition about who's really guilty and who isn't." -- Michael from OverweeningGeneralist pointed out in comments on's Online Reading of the novel (Week Three). 

Life Imitating Art

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, America's Toughest Sheriff

Jim's persona, especially during George's arrest, is very similar to celebrity cop Sheriff Joseph M. "Joe" Arpaio, the six-time elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Similar in reactionary attitude, pastel painted jails, willingness to humiliate inmates, and oppressive enforcement of vice law (as well as looks, IMHO).