Winter in the Blood

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Winter in the Blood is the first novel by Native American author James Welch. The Native American author won several national literary awards for his later novel Fools Crow, as well as receiving positive reviews for Indian Lawyer and The Death of Jim Loney.

Winter in the Blood was published in 1974 by Harper & Row. It was later issued as a paperback by Penguin Paperback.


The novel, set in contemporary times, features a self-destructive narrator undergoing an identity crisis. He lives in a Native American reservation in Montana. His tribe and his culture are clashing with a nearby white settlement and misguided legislation. He moves through his days in a mental haze and tries to console himself with sexual encounters.

He attempts to deal with the memories of his father found dead in a snowdrift and blames himself for his elder brother's fatal accident at the age of fourteen. The tone is set right way to be distant. His name is never mentioned.


The novel takes place on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and along the Hi-Line of Montana.

The location is based on where Welch lived as a child.


Winter in the Blood was adapted as a screenplay and made into a feature film in 2012 by the brothers Andrew and Alex Smith, and the screenwriter Ken White.[1] The Smith brothers also wrote The Slaughter Rule (2002) and Career Opportunities in Poetry (2008). The Austin, Texas-based band Heartless Bastards provided the film's soundtrack.


  1. ^ Winter in the Blood, Official film website, accessed 14 February 2013