Sam Quint was a grizzled, seasoned shark hunter, who once resided on the Island of Amity, MA in the shanty seaside port of Menemsha. Running a bootleg distillery, and a whale oil business, as well as a weekend charter service, Quint captained the "Orca" and became part of local lore after his last trip out to sea in a bid to capture a giant rogue killer shark. Hired to catch the shark, Quint was joined by the Chief of Amity Police Department, Brody, and visiting ichthyologist, Hooper serving as crew.
Quint was known to have served aboard the USS Indianapolis during World War II, in which he and his shipmates delivered the Hiroshima bomb to the South Pacific island of Tinian. A Japanese submarine sank the Indianapolis and the 1200 crewmen ended up in the water as prey for the sharks as they drifted alone at sea for seven days until they were rescued.
Quint was one of only 300+ men to survive the event. Following Quint's return from the war in the Pacific, Quint decided to make shark fishing his sole purpose and opened a charter fishing business on the summer resort Island of Amity.
Using what little savings he had for construction supplies, Quint was able to build a two level shack and fishery with his bare hands on the property of an old friend by the name of Chuck Gramling who had promised it to him during the war.
On Amity, Quint would scrounge for local pilot whales, and other fish commodities including blue gills, and Tommy cod.
Between fishing seasons Quint sold moonshine from a bootleg distillery making his own apricot brandy which was a favorite among the likes of fishing locals including Ben Gardner. Although there were many police raids done in search of the moonshine, Quint was able to avoid legal scrutiny by hiding his stashes of alcohol in kegs stowed on board his boat, Orca.
Even though the mayor was relentless about disallowing zoning approval, and the local fisherman were constantly filing complaints that Quint was disrupting their trade, he fought each and every complaint using layman's legal knowledge gained from spending months in the local Amity library.
Much to the chagrin of librarians unhappy with the constant reek of beer, and the sound of foul language, Quint would sift through legal volumes until he knew he had a good case. Besides legal books, Quint was also fond of pagan mythology. Many believed that it was Quint's maniacal study of sharks and the paranormal that led the shark to choose Amity as it's killing ground.
In the wake of Alex Kitner's death during the summer of 1973 by the first shark, Quint agreed to kill the shark for a total of $10,000. However, it wasn't until the shark's third fatal attack that Quint was finally hired to hunt down the creature. With Chief Martin Brody and Oceanographic Institute researcher Matt Hooper in tow, Quint sailed the Orca out to kill the shark.
In the events that followed, Quint tried many tricks to catch the shark over the course of two days, first by recalling it in on rod and reel, then by harpooning it with barrels to keep it at the surface. Though both attempts failed, Quint was incredibly stubborn and resilient.
Quint ultimately tries to kill the shark in a last ditch effort as the shark attacks the Orca. One of Hooper's scuba tanks rolls over his fingers, causing him to lose grip and slide toward the waiting shark. He tries kicking at the Shark but to no avail. The Shark then bites Quint’s waist. Screaming in pain, Quint grabs a machete and stabs the fish with it but to no avail. With one final crunch, Quint spits up blood and is quickly dragged under the waves, killing him instantly.
A year later, the wreckage of the Orca is discovered by a pair of treasure hunting divers, and becomes a popular diving attraction as well as a testament to the legend that was Quint.
- The real-life inspiration for Quint was likely the late Frank Mundus. Born in 1925 and a native of Montauk, New Jersey, Mundus is seen by many as the man who first started kindling interest in sport-fishing for sharks and shares many traits in common with the fictional Quint, including the famous line "You all know me. You all know what I do".
- Quint's official first name has never been officially revealed.
- In the novel, Quint dies when he becomes tangled in the ropes of the harpoons he has thrown at the shark and it drags him under, drowning him.
- His death won the Golden Chainsaw in YouTuber Dead Meat’s Kill Count of Jaws.