The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven


Sherman Alexie

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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven: First Annual All-Indian Horseshoe Pitch... Summary & Analysis

An unnamed narrator describes the events of The First Annual All-Indian Horseshoe pitch and barbecue. Somebody has forgotten the charcoal; Victor brings a secondhand piano and plays Bartok; the narrator and his “love” hold each other beneath a picnic table. “There is something beautiful,” he says, “about an ordinary carnival.” One man, Simon, wins the horseshoe pitch, the storytelling contest, and the one-on-one basketball tournament. He suggests that basketball should become the tribe’s “new religion.” All across the carnival, dreams, the narrator says, “crackle like campfire, put on a good jacket that smells of fry bread, [and] stay up late and talk stories.”
Continuing in the vein of “A Good Story,” this short narrative describes a “beautiful” and “ordinary” day at a carnival, a celebration of community, culture, and love. Symbolism is rife throughout the story—there is a basketball game, everywhere there is the comforting smell of fry bread, and dreams are personified, given weight and value.
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon