"Low Men in Yellow Coats" is a 254-page novella written by Stephen King and published in the short story collection Hearts in Atlantis.



The story takes place in 1960 and revolves around a young boy, Bobby Garfield. He lives in Harwich, Connecticut, with his mother, Liz, a widow. He comes to befriend a man named Ted Brautigan who Bobby comes to find out possesses psychic abilities. Ted appears in some way connected to the Dark Tower and confesses to Bobby that he is being stalked by "low men" who work for The Crimson King. Although Bobby agrees to let Ted know when he starts seeing "lost pet" signs that indicate that the low men are near, Bobby says nothing when he eventually starts seeing them for fear of losing his friend.

One day, Bobby discovers his friend Carol has been beaten by three bullies with a baseball bat and left in a grove of trees. He takes her to his apartment, where Ted has to remove her shirt in order to set her dislocated shoulder. Liz comes home (herself having just been violently raped at a real estate seminar) and misunderstands the situation, thinking that Ted has been molesting Carol. She eventually calms down and takes Carol home while Ted decides to leave. Bobby realizes his mother has seen the 'lost pet' posters. Suspecting that his mother has told the low-men of Ted's whereabouts, Bobby catches up to Ted, who has gone to Bridgeport to collect his money from a bet he made there. The Low Man are indeed there too, and have captured Ted. Bobby is given the choice to go with Ted (wherever that may be) but decides to stay, though he despises himself for his choice.

After leaving Harwich with his mother and twice being put in a juvenile detention facility, Bobby receives an envelope from Ted filled with red rose petals (the ones which surround the Dark Tower). He knows that Ted is once again free of the low men.

Ties to other works

"Low Men in Yellow Coats" has close ties to King's The Dark Tower series of novels.

The Low Men, who make their debute in this story, return in this series, in which they are revealed to be servants of the Crimson King. When Ted himself is taken captive by them, references are dropped to The Gunslingers and the Dark Tower itself.

The Low Men also appear in the story Ur.

Ted Brautigan returns as a supporting character in the seventh book of the series.


The story was adapted into a film in 2001.

The Dark Tower series
Novels I (a-b-c-d-e; f) • IIIIIIVIVSVVIVII
Short stories "Low Men in Yellow Coats" • "The Little Sisters of Eluria"
Related works `Salem's LotThe StandThe Eyes of the DragonInsomnia
Comics #1-7#8-12#13-18#19#20-25#26-30
Characters Roland DeschainJake ChambersEddie Dean
Susannah HolmesDonald CallahanWalter o'Dim
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