D. B. Cooper in popular culture

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

D. B. Cooper is a media epithet used to describe an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 on November 24, 1971, extorted a US$200,000 ransom (equivalent to $1.51 million today[1]), and parachuted to an unknown fate.[2] He was never seen again, and only $5,880 of the ransom money has been found. The incident continues to influence popular culture, and has inspired references in books, film, and music.[3]


1972 FBI composite drawing of D. B. Cooper
Cover of Elwood Reid's D. B.: a novel
The cover of Elwood Reid's D. B.: a novel, which borrows from the 1972 FBI sketch (top)

Non-fiction books[edit]

General investigation[edit]

  • D.B. Cooper:  Dead or Alive? by Richard T. Tosaw (1984).
  • Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray (2011).
  • DB Cooper and the FBI: A Case Study of America’s Only Unsolved Skyjacking by Bruce Smith (2015 1st Edition; 2016 2nd Edition; 2021 3rd Edition).
  • D.B. Cooper and Flight 305: Reexamining the Hijacking and Disappearance by Robert H. Edwards (2021).

Suspect/conspiracy theories[edit]

  • D.B. Cooper: What Really Happened by Max Gunther (1985).
  • Into the Blast by Skipp Porteous and Robert Blevins (2011).
  • D.B. Cooper:  Examined, Identified, and Exposed by Nat Loufoque (2019).
  • The Last Master Outlaw: The Award-Winning Conclusion of the D.B. Cooper Mystery by Thomas J. Colbert (2021).


  • James M. Cain's 1975 novel Rainbow's End[4] is a fictional account of what might have happened to Cooper after he parachuted from the plane.[5]
  • J.D. Reed's 1980 novel Free Fall[6] was used as a basis for the 1981 film The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper.[7]
  • Elwood Reid's 2004 novel D. B.: a novel[8] is a fictionalized account of what supposedly happened to the real Cooper in the years following the hijacking, as a pair of FBI agents attempt to pick up his trail and arrest him. In one edition, the book jacket cover featured artwork derived from the FBI composite sketch of the real Cooper.[9]
  • The 1998 novel Sasquatch by Roland Smith features a character named Buckley Johnson, who eventually admits that he is D. B. Cooper to the novel's protagonist, a boy named Dylan Hickock. In this story, Johnson says he committed the hijacking to pay for cancer treatments for his son.[10]
  • Greg Cox's 2008 novel The 4400: The Vesuvius Prophecy[11] features Cooper (see also the television series The 4400).[12][better source needed]
  • The hijacking is a central plot point of the 2021 novel Bloodless by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.[13]
  • D.L. Hynes' 2020 novel The Man in 18-E, the first of a trilogy of fantasy novels involving historical mysteries, features two accidental time-travelers who find themselves in 1971 and, unable to return, decide to travel to Portland to solve the D.B. Cooper case as it happens.[14][15][16]

Short stories[edit]

  • In the SCP Foundation collaborative writing project, D.B. Cooper is featured in SCP-101 - Hungry Bag. In the short story, the body of Cooper was found in 1979 in the Cascade Mountains alongside SCP-101, having died from blood loss due to the bag biting his arm off and consuming it. Cooper's fate was classified by the SCP Foundation as part of their recovery of SCP-101.[17] Another version of D.B. Cooper is featured in SCP-5017 - Hard Landing, in which Cooper is depicted as an immortal Druid by the name of Cathbhadh who has been fighting against the Foundation for 2000 years.[18]


  • The Dilbert strip for January 17, 1991, featured Dogbert exhibiting Cooper's remains, with the punchline, "He learned that you should never get your parachutes from the same people you're robbing".[19]
  • The webcomic xkcd has a strip titled "D. B. Cooper",[20] in which it was theorized that actor/director Tommy Wiseau was D. B. Cooper, and had financed his infamous film The Room with the funds from the robbery.[21] A later xkcd strip posited that Cooper had been stranded alive in a tree since his jump.[22]
  • A 1989 strip from Gary Larson's The Far Side shows "Ben & Vera's Rottweiler Farm" and a bunch of dogs looking up at a man with a parachute with the caption "The Untold Ending of D.B. Cooper".[23]

Film and television[edit]


Series and television[edit]

  • In the fourth season (1979–1980) of the series In Search of... dedicated an episode to the D.B. Cooper hijacking.[27]
  • A 1979 episode of Quincy, M.E. features an episode about the body of a famous parachuting hijacker being found five years after the hijacking, hanging dead from a tree in a National Park.[28]
  • The main character of the television series Twin Peaks (1990) is named Dale Bartholomew Cooper, after D. B. Cooper.[29]
  • In Journeyman's "The Legend of Dylan McCleen," Jeffrey Pierce plays Dylan McCleen/John Richie, an Army Ranger who highjacked an airplane, and parachuted out with the ransom money, whose identity was still unknown decades later.[30]
  • Muse Watson portrays Charles Westmoreland, who is later revealed to be D.B. Cooper in the television series Prison Break who was caught and convicted in another case serving sentence in the same prison as the protagonists.[31]
  • The first episode of the Disney+ series Loki, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and titled "Glorious Purpose", Cooper is revealed to be Loki, who hijacked the plane after having lost a bet to Thor and disappeared into the Bifrost after jumping from the rear stairs.[32] Unlike the real Cooper, however, Loki's jump is seen to take place during daylight and in calm weather.[33]
  • On July 13, 2022 Netflix released a four-part documentary mini-series entitled D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?! exploring the hijacking incident and exploring the identity of D.B. Cooper.[34]
  • The eighth episode of the second season of AMC's crime drama Breaking Bad, "Better Call Saul", includes a scene in which lawyer Saul Goodman jokingly refers to series protagonist Walter White as Cooper due to his sunglasses and unusual attire.[35]


  • The Mountain Goats' song "Rain in Soho" (from the album Goths) references Cooper with the lyric "No one broke D. B. Cooper's fall".[36]
  • Kid Rock's song, Bawitdaba, mentions him in the lyric "..and to D.B. Cooper and the money he took."
  • MF DOOM’s song, Hoe Cakes, mentions him in the lyric “MF DOOM, he’s like D.B. Cooper
  • Glass Beach's song, "Rare Animal", mentions him by name in the pre-chorus, and describes the hijacking in the post-chorus.


  • "The Disappearance of D.B. Cooper," episode 14 of the podcast "History's Great Mysteries."[37]
  • "D.B. Cooper Pt.1" and "D.B. Cooper Pt. 2" episodes of the podcast "Unexplained Mysteries."[38]


A street artist poses as a "living statue" of Cooper at the Portland Saturday Market in Portland, Oregon
  • The community of Ariel, Washington, one of the possible landing areas for Cooper, commemorates the incident with a celebration, held annually on the Saturday following Thanksgiving Day, called "D. B. Cooper Days."[39]
  • D. B. Tuber is the name given to Anthony Curcio, who was responsible for one of the most elaborately planned armored car heists in history.[40][41]
  • Fan speculation surrounding the show Mad Men was that there were subtle clues that it would end with Don Draper exposing himself as D.B. Cooper. Producers frequently denied such a plot, and the skyjacking was never depicted in the series.[42]


  1. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  2. ^ LaBoe, Barbara (January 1, 2008). "Search for D. B. Cooper 'reignited'". The Daily News. Retrieved January 3, 2008.
  3. ^ Neil Hickey, Plane robbing still unsolved, The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Australia), January 4, 2008
  4. ^ Cain, James M. (1975). Rainbow's End. New York: Mason/Charter. ISBN 9780884050926.
  5. ^ Giddins, Gary (August 1, 1996). Faces in the Crowd: Musicians, Writers, Actors & Filmmakers. Da Capo Press. p. 197. ISBN 9780306807053. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  6. ^ Reed, J.D. (1980). Free Fall: a Novel. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 9780440027249.
  7. ^ Lusted, Marcia Amidon (2012). D. B. Cooper Hijacking. ABDO Publishing Company. p. 68. ISBN 9781614786276.
  8. ^ Reid, Elwood (2004). D. B.: a novel. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 9780385497381. OCLC 52410839.
  9. ^ Lusted, Marcia Amidon (2012). D. B. Cooper Hijacking. ABDO Publishing Company. p. 73. ISBN 9781614786276.
  10. ^ "Sasquatch by Roland Smith – Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists". Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  11. ^ Cox, Greg (2008). The 4400: The Vesuvius Prophecy. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781416580140.
  12. ^ Crwaford, Sarah (January 24, 2016). "The 4400: The Vesuvius Prophecy (The 4400 #1)". Goodreads. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  13. ^ "Bloodless". Kirkus Reviews. Grand Central Publishing. July 1, 2021. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  14. ^ Hynes, D.L. (2020). The Man In 18-E Paperback – 25 Aug. 2020. ASIN 1913844021.
  15. ^ Hynes, D.L. (July 17, 2022). Jones, Hache L. (ed.). The Man in 18-E. Dream's Edge Publishing. ISBN 978-1913844028. Retrieved July 17, 2022. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)
  16. ^ Hynes, D.L. (July 17, 2022). "The Man In 18-E". Goodreads.
  17. ^ "SCP-101 - Hungry Bag". SCP Foundation. July 26, 2008. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  18. ^ "SCP-5017 "Hard Landing"". Archived from the original on April 8, 2022.
  19. ^ "Dilbert Comic Strip on 1991-01-17 | Dilbert by Scott Adams". Dilbert. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  20. ^ Munroe, Randall. "D.B. Cooper". xkcd. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  21. ^ Cheadle, Harry; Caffier, Justin (January 16, 2019). "D.B. Cooper Is Tommy Wiseau, and Other Nontoxic Conspiracy Theories". Vice. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  22. ^ Munroe, Randall. "Forest Walk". xkcd. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  23. ^ "5388 E Rottweiler Farm, the Untold Ending of D B Cooper". Me.Me. Archived from the original on March 20, 2020. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  24. ^ Turner, Adrian. "The Pursuit of DB Cooper". Radio Times. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  25. ^ Turnquist, Kristi (March 20, 2008). "Portland Film Location News". the Oregonian. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  26. ^ Tallerico, Brian (November 25, 2020). "The Mystery of D.B. Cooper". Roger Ebert. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  27. ^ "In Search of.....: D.B. Cooper". TV.com. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  28. ^ "The Money Plague". IMDb.
  29. ^ Davis, Jeff; Al Eufrasio; Mark Moran (2008). Weird Washington. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 65. ISBN 978-1-4027-4545-4. OCLC 179788749.
  30. ^ Carabott, Chris (May 14, 2012). "Journeyman: "The Legend of Dylan McCleen" Review".
  31. ^ Mitchell, Molli (March 4, 2020). "Prison Break season 1–4 recap: What happened to Michael Scofield ahead of series 5 release". Express.co.uk. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  32. ^ "Marvel Makes Loki The Real DB Cooper In The MCU". ScreenRant. December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  33. ^ Loki is DB Cooper in MCU Official Clip | Marvel Studios Loki | Disney Plus | Cosmic BEYONDER, retrieved 2022-11-12
  34. ^ Saha, Joy (July 18, 2022). "The 6 most surprising "D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?!" revelations from Netflix's docuseries". Salon. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  35. ^ "Should I call the FBI and tell them I found D.B. Cooper?".
  36. ^ "Listen to The Mountain Goats' Brooding New Single "Rain In Soho "". Paste Magazine. April 25, 2017. Archived from the original on 2019-04-11. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  37. ^ "History's Great Mysteries". Spotify. Retrieved 2024-01-22.
  38. ^ "Unexplained Mysteries". Spotify. Retrieved 2024-01-22.
  39. ^ Jim Bates. "Skulduggery by Parachute". Aero.com. Archived from the original on March 19, 2015.
  40. ^ Doughery, Phil. "D. B. Tuber". History Link.
  41. ^ Esteban, Michelle. "D. B. Tuber dedicates life to warn others of dangers of drugs". KOMO news. Archived from the original on 2014-12-03. Retrieved 2014-11-30.
  42. ^ Todd Leopold (15 May 2015). "'Mad Men' creator: No, Don isn't D.B. Cooper". CNN. Retrieved September 27, 2020.