"One thing I've learned: if you don't draw first, you don't get to draw at all."
―Booker DeWitt, to Elizabeth
Booker DeWitt, also known as The False Shepard, was the influential man (though he wished he wasn't) of infamous Vox Populi Uprising. He was a private investigator and, prior to his reluctant arrival in Columbia, a former Pinkerton agent. Booker is offered a deal to wipe away his gambling debts if he goes to Columbia and retrieves a girl imprisoned there. Over the course of the months within the city, Booker reveals his past experiences, much to the horror of Elizabeth. He is now under the "Employment" of Old Gray
Booker DeWitt was a New Yorker of partial Native American descent, who was born on April 19, 1874. At the age of sixteen, he was part of the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army, and took part in the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890. At Wounded Knee, a sergeant had accused him of having Native American lineage in front of the men in his unit. To avoid being stigmatized by his comrades, he scalped Native American victims and burned teepees with people still inside. Due to his gruesome actions, other members of his regiment, including Cornelius Slate, gave him the nickname "The White Injun," because of his taking trophies from his victims.
Although he was seen as a hero to his fellow soldiers, Booker felt shame and regret for his part in the massacre. After the battle, Booker, fraught with guilt, attended a river baptism led by Preacher Witting to be reborn as a new man and be absolved of his past actions. However, Booker rejected his baptism at the last second, thinking that his sins could not be washed away by a "dunk in the river." In January of 1892, Booker became an employee of the Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. While working as a Pinkerton, Booker garnered a reputation by ending labor strikes with extreme violence. Around this time, he met a woman who shortly after became pregnant. She died while giving birth to a daughter, Anna. This, coupled with his dismissal from the Agency for excessively violent behavior, sent him into a depression. He turned to alcohol and gambling, which drove him far into debt. Booker later became a private investigator, but his debts persisted. In October of 1893, Robert Lutece came to his office, representing Father Comstock. Comstock set forth an agreement to wipe DeWitt of all debt in exchange for DeWitt's daughter. Desperate, DeWitt sold Anna to Lutece and Comstock, but, immediately wrought with guilt, Booker pursued the men to retrieve Anna. Booker arrived as the three were about to enter a Tear to another dimension with Rosalind Lutece. As the men and the baby entered the Tear, DeWitt struggled with Comstock to get Anna back. Comstock succeeded in pulling her through the Tear but as the Tear closed, the tip of Anna's pinky finger was severed. Booker fell further into depression and later branded his right hand with Anna's initials, "A.D." Nearly twenty years later, in 1912, Robert and Rosalind Lutece returned once more, opening a Tear for Booker to enter. As he entered, he suffered the effects of transfusing into another dimension as Robert Lutece theorized, with his mind creating new memories from his old. Booker confused the sale of his daughter twenty years ago with the task at hand, "Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt." Robert and Rosalind Lutece then took DeWitt to a lighthouse on the coast of Maine ===Reaching Columbia=== While travelling to the lighthouse, Booker is tasked by the Lutece Twins to enter the city of Columbia, reach Monument Tower, retrieve a girl named Elizabeth, and bring her to New York City unharmed in order to clear his debts. Upon arriving at the lighthouse with information and supplies given by Rosalind, DeWitt enters the Pilgrim's Rocket and ascends to Columbia through the Church of Comstock. During his venture, he learns of the city's leader Zachary Comstock, but, because of the effects of Tear-jumping, remains unfamiliar of him despite making the deal twenty years prior. Comstock later conceived with Lady Comstock and referred to his child as the "Seed of the Prophet" who is destined to take his throne and destroy the "Sodom Below."
Before gaining access to the city, Booker is required to receive a baptism by Preacher Witting, but nearly drowns from it and passes out. In his unconscious state, Booker dreams of his office in New York and witnesses Columbia attacking New York — in the future. Booker, tasked with finding Monument Island, awakens and enters Columbia in the middle of its annual Independence Day Raffle and Fair. Despite earlier warnings from the Lutece Twins, he attends the annual lottery held by Jeremiah Fink and wins the lottery. His prize is a first throw at stoning an interracial couple. Before Booker can react, the Columbia Police discover the brand on Booker's hand which is referred as the the mark of the "False Shepherd" who is prophesized by Father Comstock to lead "his lamb astray." Booker fights through the Columbia Police force before being personally contacted by Zachary Comstock and crash-landing on his zeppelin, arriving on Monument Island.
Booker enters Monument Island to discover a vast laboratory with an apartment at its center, where the girl has been imprisoned and observed there all her life. Through an observation room window, he sees Elizabeth tear through her painting of the Eiffel Tower onto an actual Paris street, circa 1983. Booker then accidentally falls through Elizabeth's ceiling into her library. She at first fears and attacks him, but is then relieved by his presence, likely due to the fact that she has never seen another human up close. Booker then helps Elizabeth escape her tower, but not before they are chased and attacked by a giant bird creature.
With Elizabeth intent on enjoying her freedom, Booker convinces her to come with him by saying that he will take her on The First Lady airship to Paris; his actual plan is to take her to New York and complete his job. Along the way, Elizabeth explains her ability to manipulate tears, saying they are windows to other realities. While Booker is initially shocked and somewhat fearful of the tears, he becomes more comfortable with them when it is revealed they can be used to his and Elizabeth's benefit in combat. Elizabeth is also inquisitive about Booker's life, asking him in Soldier's Field if "there [is] a woman in [his] life." Booker responds that his wife died during childbirth — when Elizabeth concludes that he has children, he corrects her, saying he does not. The Hall of HeroesUpon reaching the rail line to the Aerodrome, Booker and Elizabeth find that it is closed down, and they will need to power it using some other electrical source. Traveling to the Hall of Heroes to find the Shock Jockey vigor, they come upon Booker's old war comrade, Cornelius Slate; disillusioned by Comstock's lies about his presence at Wounded Knee and his undercutting of true soldiers' efforts, Slate has taken over the Hall, and Booker and Elizabeth must fight their way inside to retrieve the Shock Jockey.
Inside, Slate reveals to Elizabeth that Booker was present at the Battle of Wounded Knee, and that unlike Comstock, Booker is a true soldier. Not wanting to remember or find glory in his regrettable past, Booker attempts to distance himself from Slate's comments, assuring Elizabeth that nothing Slate praises is truly good. They then battle their way through the Hall's exhibits on Wounded Knee and the Boxer Rebellion, with Slate sending teams of his soldiers after Booker so that they may "die a soldier's death."
When Booker finally confronts Slate, who himself holds the Shock Jockey vigor, the man asks that Booker kill him. If Booker chooses to spare Slate, the man raises against him, claiming Booker is nothing more than one of Comstock's "tin men." If Booker chooses to kill him, Slate happily remarks that Booker hasn't changed at all since their days in the army. This comment leaves Booker shaken, which Elizabeth notices and comments on.
When they take control of The First Lady, Elizabeth discovers Booker's plan to bring her to New York and begins to cry. Unsure what to do, Booker goes to comfort her, only to have her strike him with a wrench, knocking him unconscious. Elizabeth then leaves Booker and the ship to the Vox Populi, a Populist, anti-Founder movement headed by Daisy Fitzroy. Fitzroy offers to return control of the ship to Booker if he procures munitions from Finkton for their cause.
Booker finds Elizabeth on the docks at Fink Manufacturing (getting caught attempting to stow away on a supply blimp), only to have her flee, opening tears behind her to impede his advance. Her efforts draw the attention of Founder forces, whom Booker fights in order to rescue her. In the struggle, Booker is thrown from a building dock by a Handyman, and nearly falls to his death. However, he is saved when Elizabeth opens a tear, creating a cargo blimp to catch him. Booker immediately suggests a partnership, which Elizabeth initially rejects, calling him a "liar...and a thug." However, she soon admits that he is the only way for her to reach Paris, and agrees to accompany him despite her anger.
As they venture through Fink Manufacturing, Booker and Elizabeth realize that their tasks cannot be completed in their present reality, due to insurmountable obstacles — the death of the gunsmith who was set to make the munitions, for instance. However, they find they can enter different realities in which these obstacles do not exist through use of the tears. Their travels through the tears eventually find them in a universe where the Vox Populi have begun their revolution, and Booker is a martyr of the Vox cause. Fitzroy, confused by Booker's presence, sends Vox soldiers after him, claiming that he is an impostor.
Booker and Elizabeth make it to Fitzroy just as she murders Jeremiah Fink, then turns on a nearby child. At her insistence, Booker boosts Elizabeth into a nearby vent, then distracts Fitzroy by criticizing her violent methods. As Fitzroy fanatically responds, saying that the children of the Founders must die for any gains to be made, Elizabeth stabs her in the back.
When Elizabeth, struck with horror at what she has done, flees to The First Lady, Booker attempts to comfort her before going to the ship controls. When Elizabeth emerges, in a new dress and with her hair cut, Booker notes that they have a choice to make: New York, or Paris. However, before a decision can be made, Songbird appears and takes down their ship.
After the ship's crash landing, Elizabeth and Booker emerge to find the Lutece twins, who reveal that a special flute can control Songbird. Booker and Elizabeth then set course for Comstock House. Along the way, Booker discovers a signpost decorated with the scalps of various Founder figures. The Booker of this universe did not show remorse for his actions at Wounded Knee and was just as violent. After exiting Grand Central Depot, Booker and his companion are nearly intercepted by Songbird, and just manage to hide. Afterward, Elizabeth makes a request of Booker: taking his hand and putting it on her neck, she asks him to promise that, "if it comes to it, you will not let him take me back." Upset by this request and refusing to accept the possibility of that happening, Booker presses Elizabeth for answers, wanting to know what happened to her in the tower. She doesn't say what will happen if Songbird takes her back, only noting that it is a fate akin to death.
Upon reaching Comstock House, the two discover that the gate can only be opened by someone with the appropriate fingerprints. Realizing that Lady Comstock is preserved in the nearby Memorial Gardens, Elizabeth takes off to procure her hand with Booker in pursuit.
Booker at first tries to talk Elizabeth down, attempting to draw on any familial love that Elizabeth might have for Lady Comstock. Elizabeth, however, feels only rage and betrayal, particularly after finding a diary by Lady Comstock which suggests she had Elizabeth locked in the tower. Booker eventually relents, saying that he will cut off Lady Comstock's hand to keep Elizabeth from having to do so. However, when he attempts to open the casket, Comstock springs a trap, siphoning away some of Elizabeth's power and using it to revive a foul and ghostly version of Lady Comstock called the Siren. Booker and Elizabeth then follow the Siren around Emporia, to various tears that she wishes them to see.
Through the tears, Booker and Elizabeth discover that Elizabeth is not the child of the Comstocks, but rather a child stolen from another reality. Years ago, Rosalind and Robert Lutece made a machine to open tears to other worlds, which Comstock utilized to become a true Prophet through the use of science. However, the machine caused him to age and become sterile. It is revealed that Elizabeth was simply taken from another universe to serve as Comstock's heir. Lady Comstock rejected this notion, hating the child and believing her to be the bastard daughter of her husband and Rosalind Lutece. When he began to fear that Lady Comstock would reveal the truth of Elizabeth's origins, Comstock murdered his wife and framed it on her servant, Daisy Fitzroy. Later, he had Jeremiah Fink arrange death of the Luteces as Fink was the only one who could make it look like an accident, sabotaging the contraption he previously used to procure technology from alternate universes. However, the plan misfired and the contraption's failure caused the Luteces to exist in all possible realities at once and grant them the ability to travel between space, time and probability at will.
After confronting the Siren, Booker and Elizabeth head to Comstock House, but are attacked by Songbird before they can reach it. Booker is thrown through a nearby building, and briefly lapses into unconsciousness before Songbird comes to finish him off. Too injured to move, Booker is only saved by Elizabeth's intervention, when she offers her freedom in exchange for Booker's life. Booker then pursues Songbird, desperate to save Elizabeth from whatever fate awaits her.
While crossing the bridge to Comstock House, Booker passes through a blinding fog, on the other side of which is unseasonably cold weather. In Comstock House, Booker finds several Voxophones and tears, suggesting that Elizabeth was exposed to experimentation, torture, and mental conditioning for at least six months waiting for Booker to come for her. Booker responds with astonishment, unaware how this situation could be possible, or how much time has truly passed.
When Booker finds Elizabeth, she has aged decades, and has become the indoctrinated heir to prophecy that Comstock wished. She shows him the New York City of 1984 under attack by Columbia, the mountains of men being drowned in flame. Booker weakly objects, saying that he was always going to come for her. She explains that he did, many times, but Songbird always stops him. Regretting her fate, Elizabeth gives Booker a card to deliver to her young self, and opens up a tear, sending Booker back to the right reality and time.
Arriving in the Comstock House laboratory, Booker follows Elizabeth's screams until he finds her being operated on by Comstock's scientists. Filled with rage, Booker shuts down the Siphon cancelling out Elizabeth's power, at which point she opens a Tear to a field beset by a raging twister, where the scientists are blown away. Booker then carefully releases her from her restraints and spinal tap, delivering the message from Elizabeth's older self. When Elizabeth says she intends to kill Comstock, Booker refuses to let her, saying he plans to do it for what Comstock has put her through.
Comstock and Songbird
Booker and Elizabeth pursue Comstock to his ship, The Hand of the Prophet. When they arrive, Comstock attempts to shake Elizabeth's faith in Booker, saying that everything that has happened to her was Booker's doing. A struggle begins between Comstock and Elizabeth, as Comstock demands that Booker tell Elizabeth what happened to her missing pinkie. In a rage, Booker smashes Comstock's head into a baptismal font and drowns him. In doing so, Booker reveals he does have some knowledge of what happened to Elizabeth's finger, saying, "You [Comstock] cut off her finger, and you put it on me!" Elizabeth demands to know what he means; Booker, equally confused by his own outburst, tells her that it means nothing. However, Elizabeth questions Booker's honesty when she sees his nose suddenly bleeding.
Booker and Elizabeth soon discover that the only way to leave Columbia for good is through a tear out of the city, but this ability is prohibited by the Siphon still in the remains of Monument Island. Elizabeth realizes that the card given to Booker by her alternate self is a set of instructions on how to control Songbird — a drawing of a cage symbolizing the musical notes C, A, G, E — and she takes an instrument called the Whistler from a nearby statue, giving it to Booker. Using the Whistler to control Songbird, Booker destroys the Siphon. However, the Whistler breaks and Booker loses control of Songbird, who turns on them.
Elizabeth then transports herself, Booker, and Songbird to Rapture, where Songbird is killed by ocean pressure. Elizabeth reveals to Booker that with the Siphon gone, she can see and open tears to "infinite" worlds, perceive all alternate realities at once. She also reveals that Comstock is not truly dead, because in other worlds, he is still alive.
On a quest to stop him for good, Elizabeth and Booker go through tears manifesting as doors, which reveal Booker's true history. Booker, reluctant and anxious, asks Elizabeth to leave with him, telling her to open a tear to Paris for them. Elizabeth, however, is intent on revealing the truth to him.
The truth was, in 1893, Booker met Robert Lutece, who offered him a deal on behalf of Zachary Hale Comstock — Comstock would wipe all of Booker's debts away in exchange for Anna. On October 8th, 1893, Booker sold Anna, but regretted his choice immediately, and pursued Robert. Booker finds him with Comstock and Anna in an alleyway, near a strange portal with a woman inside. Booker grabbed Comstock as the latter stepped through the portal and tried to wrestle Anna from his grasp as Comstock ordered the portal shut. Comstock was able to shake Booker off, and the portal closed just as Anna reached out to Booker, severing her pinkie finger in the process. Overcome with regret, Booker fell even further into alcoholism and his gambling habits worsened. He closed the door in his rotting apartment to Anna's room and eventually branded his right hand with Anna's initials, "AD."
Nearly twenty years later, Booker re-encountered Robert Lutece, who offers him an opportunity to get Anna back; all he must, he says, is simply step through a portal Robert summons in his office. Traveling through the portal leaves Booker dazed and unable to consolidate his memories (a side-effect of traveling between realities), and he begins creating new, different memories from the old. When he has stabilized, Booker believes that he has been tasked with entering the floating city of Columbia to retrieve a girl named Elizabeth, thereby paying off his debts. With the demand, "Bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt," still in his mind from twenty years ago, Booker remembers this phrase as the job description, rather than the deal he already made with Comstock. Robert and the woman from the portal, Rosalind, then take Booker to a rowboat and discuss how Booker's altered memories confirm the man's theory about memory loss as related to trans-dimensional travel. Booker awakens just as the boat arrives on a small island off the coast of Maine. Now, with his memories returning, Booker realizes that Elizabeth is actually Anna.
Blaming Comstock for everything that happened, Booker tells Elizabeth that they need to go back to when Comstock was an infant, and smother him in the crib. It isn't until she brings Booker back to his baptism that he realizes what has occurred: while he rejected the baptism in his world, he accepted it in another — in that universe, Booker DeWitt became a deeply religious man and changed his name to Zachary Hale Comstock.
Multiple alternate versions of Elizabeth and Anna appear to reveal this truth to Booker. Booker then realizes that the only way to erase the atrocities committed by Comstock (himself), and the harm visited upon Elizabeth, is for him to die before he can accept or reject his baptism, thus cancelling out either outcome. Several Elizabeths drown Booker, and all realities in which Comstock exists are erased. One by one, the different versions of Elizabeth fade away, due to the fact that since Comstock never existed.
Employment by Old Grey
Booker is a taciturn and serious man who feels deep regret for the atrocities and wrongdoings committed in his past. In conversation with others, he expresses deep-seated self-loathing, remarking that there needs to be "more Daisy Fitzroys" because of men like him, and telling Elizabeth that she shouldn't get mixed up with him for her own sake. In addition to his past regrets, it is possible this attitude spawns from even earlier bouts of self-consciousness: Comstock claims in a Voxophone recording that a commanding officer once suggested that he had Native American ancestry, and the comment led him to excessively brutal acts against Native Americans to reclaim the respect of his comrades.
While Booker is often surprised and sometimes frightened by objects and situations encountered in Columbia, he is quick to adapt—he speedily takes to Vigors, for instance, as well as utilizing Elizabeth's tears in combat. He is also perceptive in regard to dangerous situations, though it's often be en noted in how often he responds to them with violence which is often cases, chaotic and unpredictable
Although initially indifferent to Elizabeth, Booker becomes curious about her after entering the tower on Monument Island, and steadily more protective of her as the story proceeds. He is noticeably disturbed when she asks him to kill her, and desperately pursues her when she is captured by Songbird. While he cares about Elizabeth, he is also afraid of her and what she has the potential to become. This fear is likely part of the reason he volunteers to kill Comstock on her behalf.