He was portrayed by Ron Perlman.
The novel begins with Peter and Mary Jackson, a couple driving cross-country in Peter's sister's car after visiting their friends the Sodersons. Collie Entrangian pulls over the Jacksons on the pretext of their missing rear license plate and arrests both them for possession of marijuana after finding a baggie in the car trunk. Once they arrive at the Desperation Municipal Building where the holding cells are kept, Entrangian shoots Peter in the stomach several times and leaves his body in the doorway before dragging Mary over a dead girl's body and up the stairs to jail.
Once thrown in jail, Mary meets the Carver Family, Ralph, Ellen and their son David, who tell Mary that the girl on the stairs was their daughter Kirsten; Entrangian pushed her down the stairs once the family arrived at the police station, breaking her neck. The other captive in the cells is Tom Billingsley, the town veterinarian and former councilman. Billingsley witnessed Entrangian systematically murder almost every other person in the town of Desperation.
On the outskirts of town Johnny Edward Marinville, an aging author riding cross country on his motorcycle gathering material for a new book (a direct reference to King's own motorcycle trip) with his assistant Steve, comes to the attention of Entrangian. Entrangian plants the drug baggie found in Peter and Mary's car in one of his bike bags and bundles him into the patrol car. While Entrangian is burying his bike, Johnny manages to get a call through to Steve on his cell phone; however, due to the bad transmission, he is unable to tell him to call the state police. Steve senses that his boss is in trouble and his female hitchhiker, Cynthia, agrees that they need to locate Johnny and find out what has happened.
Entrangian throws Johnny in a cell in the Municipal Building before leaving all the captives. Johnny tells the others that Entrangian is bleeding both internally and externally, leading the group to conclude that something is very wrong with him. However, Entrangian returns before the conversation can get much further, taking Ellen away in the patrol car and leaving a coyote to stand guard on the captives.
David receives a message from God and realises that they need to escape from their cells before Entrangian returns; after using a bar of soap and killing the coyote guard, he is able to free the others. It is revealed that David Carver has an ability to communicate with and receive guidance from God after a miracle involving his best friend, Brian, and a horrible accident. Upon some advice from Tom, the group arm themselves with weapons from the Municipal Building and decide to hide out in Desperation’s abandoned theatre. David uses Johnny's cell phone to call Steve and Cynthia, who are now inside of Desperation, and inform them of their plans; the two agree to leave Steve's truck and meet up with the others at the theatre. Tak returns to the Municipal Building in Ellen’s body to discover that the captives have escaped, and promptly sends out creatures to determine where they are hiding.
Once holed up in the theatre, the group begins to discuss their options; Steve and Cynthia had stumbled across another survivor, Audrey Wyler, who begins to tell the group about how the Desperation Mining Corporation had recently accidentally uncovered the China Pit (an old mining shaft). The survivors' first inclination is to escape Desperation, until David reveals that it is God's will that they confront Tak and seal it in the China Pit again; the group begins to argue amongst themselves about whether they should stay or go. Tom leaves the group, and is soon attacked by a desert beast being commanded by Tak; the rest of the group, except for Audrey and David, rush to his rescue and kill the beast, but Tom bleeds out from his wounds. While the others were distracted, David hid in a rear room of the theatre to pray to God and ask for help. Audrey comes across David while he is in a prayer trance and attempts to strangle him- Steve and Cynthia burst into the room and separate Audrey from David, revealing that Audrey is being controlled by Tak through the use of ‘can-tah’s (bewitched stone animal figures). While the group is busy checking on David and watching Audrey’s body disintegrate, Tak-possessed Ellen grabs Mary and takes her to the mining pit.
No longer feeling safe in the theatre, the survivors move to Steve’s truck to try to determine what they should do. David explains the visions that the had while in his prayer trance, and the group comes to understand that Entragian was possessed by an ancient evil, a supernatural entity that calls itself Tak, which had been imprisoned in the China Pit mineshaft until the Desperation Mining Corporation unearthed it. Tak has the ability to control the local desert wildlife, such as buzzards, snakes, spiders, scorpions, and coyotes, and can also take more direct control of human hosts, though such manifestation causes rapid deterioration of the host's body. As such, Tak needs to frequently find new hosts to inhabit in order to travel outside the ini, as well in an underground chamber, and Tak’s entryway into this world. After discussion, David, Johnny, Ralph, Cynthia and Steve decide to go to the mining pit to both rescue Mary and seal Tak inside the mining shaft.
Meanwhile, Mary has escaped from the shed where she was being held and begins to run out of the mining pit, the possessed Ellen giving chase. Ellen’s body disintegrates before Tak can catch Mary, and is forced to possess a nearby golden eagle. The group arrive in time to help Mary inside, and gather some ANFO explosive to blow up the China Pit. Tak lies in wait at the China Pit entrance for the group to enter, managing to kill Ralph Carver in front of his son before the group manages to kill the golden eagle he is possessing. Johnny prevents the rest of the group from going forward, and proceeds to blow up the ini with the ANFO, sacrificing himself in order to seal Tak in the China Pit.
David, Mary, Steve and Cynthia evacuate the pit as the explosion goes off, and begin to leave the town of Desperation. Before leaving, they stop to collect Mary's car; while in it, David finds in his pocket the hall pass from his previous ‘deal with God’ with a message from Johnny written on it.
Desperation (TV movie)
In the Nevada desert, a couple, Peter and Mary Jackson are driving just as they are stopped by a sheriff, Collie Entragian. He soon learns they are in possession of marijuana. In response, he takes them to jail. After they enter the police station, they see a little girl, dead, on the floor and Entragian shoots and kills Peter. Mary is thrown in a jail cell along with a young boy, David Carver, his parents, Ralph and Ellen, and an old man, Tom Billingsley. It's also learned the little girl is the Carver's daughter named Pie. In jail, David is praying to God and he's been doing it because of his best friend, Brian. David and Brian were riding bikes just as a crazy drunk guy in a car was coming towards them. David saves himself while the car hits Brian's bike making him fly. The car crashes and injures the man while Brian flies and smashes his face on a nearby house, causing David to pray for him, which works. The doctor at the hospital where Brian had to go called it a "miraculous recovery".
Meanwhile, Steve Ames is in his truck following famous author Johnny Marinville who is 50 miles up ahead. Steve soon picks up a young female hitchhiker named Cynthia Smith. Johnny stops in the desert to urinate just as Entragian shows up behind him and puts the same weed he got from Peter and Mary under Johnny's motorcycle seat and "arrests" him.
Later, David realizes Entragian's skin is breaking out and he keeps saying "Tak" because he is possessed. Entragian then takes Ellen so he can shift his spirit into her body and puts a vicious dog in charge of things. Pie's ghost appears and gives David a green bar of soap. He proceeds to scrub his body with the soap and while the dog is distracted, David slips through the bars of the jail cell and gets out of the room. David searches the police station and finds a gun on the corpse of another sheriff. He returns to shoot the guarding dog to free everyone.
Meanwhile, Steve drives up to where Johnny was captured by Entragian to find Johnny's motorcycle hidden behind dry bushes. Cynthia and Steve later search the town of Desperation, where they find all the residents dead. That night, they both meet up with the gang. They gather at a theater and Tom tells a story that took place 120 years ago, when Chinese workers digging in a mine discovered an evil spirit named "Tak." The now possessed Ellen sends in a mountain lion and Tom is killed. Mary is captured by Ellen so that she can have a new body.
David sees the ghost of Pie in the theater again and she leads him to the movie editing machine revealing the truth of how Tak came to the town. Mary wakes up to find herself trapped in a shed waiting to be the next host for Tak. With the help of Pie, she manages to escape, while seriously injuring Ellen's body forcing Tak to take over the body of a vulture.
Johnny later confesses 40 years ago in Vietnam he saw a guy, possessed by Tak, blow up the bathroom of a bar killing 87 people. The group decides to return to the cave with some explosives they found to put an end to Tak. At the entrance, a vulture comes out and kills Ralph. In order to redeem himself, Johnny goes into the mine and falls in a hole leading to a small hole where Tak is. Johnny ignites the explosives, blowing up the mine while the rest of survivors drive away in Steve's truck.
Along the route driving away from the town, they pass by the RV vehicle owned by David's family and Peter's sister's car. Mary tells Steve to stop the truck to retrieve an overnight package from the car. In the back seat Mary finds an album belonging to Pie, which Steve identifies as being signed by Johnny.