Smoke Signals: A Screenplay

ISBN: 0786883928
ISBN 13: 9780786883929
By: Sherman Alexie

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About this book

Set in Arizona, Smoke Signals is the story of two Native American boys on a journey. Victor is the stoic, handsome son of an alcoholic father who has abandoned his family. Thomas is a gregarious, goofy young man who lost both his parents in a fire at a very young age. Through storytelling, Thomas makes every effort to connect with the people around him: Victor, in contrast, uses his quiet countenance to gain strength and confidence.When Victor's estranged father dies, the two men embark on an adventure to Phoenix to collect the ashes. Along the way, Smoke Signals illustrates the ties that bind these two very different young men and embraces the lessons they learn from one another.

Reader's Thoughts


This is a great example of a revisionist western from the American Indian perspective. In addition to focusing on reservation life, the characters in the story are handling a difficult family drama in which a son must go on a journey to see to his father's burial. This father, a severe alcoholic, abandoned the family in an attempt to escape his guilt from a terrible accident.It is, surprisingly, very funny. The main character is the lone wolf type, but he is forced to go on the journey with his dorky, annoying, and incredibly endearing acquaintance. Both men grow as the journey progresses. It's a great screenplay and an excellent movie.


My favorite and first Sherman Alexie! My favorite contemporary author!


LOL, I loved the native humor :)


the movie was awesome. memorable


Read this with my class every year. They love it and I love it.


This story/film was taken from Alexie's book "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfighting in Heaven". If you haven't seen the movie, RUN TO THE VIDEO STORE, RENT IT, and WATCH IT! EXCELLENT!!!!


See the movie! Great story.

Gregory Fournier

Smoke Signals is the screenplay for the wonderful independent film, loosely based on characters found in Sherman Alexie's collection of short stories, "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven." It delves into some of the realities of single parenthood, alcohol abuse, family dysfunction, and child abandonment issues, but somehow, it manages to be an entertaining, optimistic comedy with serious undertones.Smoke Signals ends with a moving narration of "When do we forgive our fathers? In our time or theirs?" The question resonates deeply with adolescents and adults who live with family dysfunction daily. This movie takes a sympathetic look at a defeated man, haunted by the shadows of the past, unable to provide the emotional or practical support for his wife and son.The visual and verbal imagery is masterful. This film has lots of heart and lots of laughs with wonderful characters. It will leave you saying, "Hey, Victor. Tell me about your dad," long after the movie is over.


ok, I didn't read it but the movie was great!


Great movie and powerful and funnyI could go on and on

Nicole Crocker

The story is good, I just wish it was longer! :)

H.M. Jones

Hey, Victor!


I actually have not read this screenplay but if you have not seen the movie, rent it. It truly is an excellent movie and the dialogue is superb.


This is a screenplay, so it was interesting to read from that perspective. I love Sherman Alexie's writing but I feel like a lot of the beauty gets lost in the stage directions. This is basically a film made up of the short stories included in "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven" so I would recommend just reading the short stories.The book does include a description of which scenes were changed in the movie and why. So I imagine if you were really into film makeing, or just a fan of behind the scenes information it would be really great. As I am not really either I only found it mildly interesting and only read about 1/3 of the commentary at the end.


I really liked this movie. I should read this.

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