Chaske Spencer and Gill Birmingham attend LAFF Screening of Winter in the Blood (also stars Julia Jones)

winter in the blood


Virgil First Raise wakes in a ditch on the hardscrabble plains of Montana, hungover and badly beaten. He sees a shocking vision: his father, ten years dead, lying frozen at his feet. Shaken, Virgil returns home to his ranch on the Reservation, only to find that his wife, Agnes, has left him. Worse, she’s taken his beloved rifle.

Virgil sets out to town find her— or perhaps just the gun— beginning a hi-line odyssey of inebriated and improbable intrigues with the mysterious Airplane Man, his beautiful accomplice, Malvina, and two dangerous Men in Suits. Virgil’s quest also brings him face-to-face with childhood memories, traumas and visions of his long lost brother Mose.

Virgil, bloodied and broken by his quest, realizes that he must look inward for the strength he needs to survive. In the mountains, he seeks out Yellow Calf— an old blind man, who helps him grasp the truth of his origins. By embracing— and no longer fleeing— his memories, Virgil is finally able to thaw the ice in his veins.

About the original novel –

Winter in the Blood was the first of five novels written by James Welch, a Native American poet, author, documentary scriptwriter and historical essayist. Winter in the Blood has long been acknowledged as a primary voice in the Native American Renaissance. It has remained in print for over thirty-five years and is a cornerstone of the Penguin Classics canon. Welch’s total book sales worldwide number over half a million. Equally impressive, Welch’s loyal, diverse, and multi-generational fan base has driven his novels to be translated into eight languages and ensured that they remain mainstays in Native American, Indigenous Studies, and Western Literature classes in universities across the United States, Canada and abroad.

For more information, images, background on the movies origins go to the official site forWinter in the Blood

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