Orphaned in a house fire that took his parents’ lives, James Many Horses is raised by the unnamed young man who saved his life, through whose eyes we see the early years of James’s life unfold. As a child James is silent and slow to develop language and motor skills; he does not cry, he does not crawl, and he does not speak. When he does begin to talk, he is, according to his guardian, deeply spiritual, intelligent, and advanced for his age. When we encounter James next, he is grown; a man “who [tells] so many jokes that he even ma[kes] other Indians get tired of his joking.” He is married to a woman named Norma, who leaves him after an argument they have when he makes several jokes in the middle of telling her that he has late-stage cancer. He receives “useless” cancer treatment in a Spokane hospital for a time, but is then sent home so that he can be more “comfortable.” Norma eventually returns home as well, with the intention of helping James to “die the right way.”
The timeline below shows where the character James Many Horses appears in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Jesus Christ’s Half-Brother is Alive and Well on the Spokane Indian Reservation
...Rosemary MorningDove’s house is on fire. Frank rushes into the house, and, minutes later, throws James, who is “a little on fire,” out the window. The narrator runs to catch James,... (full context)
After getting drunk, the narrator goes to the reservation hospital to visit James, Frank, and Rosemary. When he arrives, Moses MorningDove, Rosemary’s father, tells him that Frank and... (full context)
...younger Indian boys and girls. When he plays, he says, he doesn’t feel like drinking. James watches him play. The narrator says that James “always talks whenever [he’s] not in the... (full context)
The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor
Somebody Kept Saying Powwow