The movie, Smoke Signals, had quite a few differences from the book The Lone Ranger and Tinto Fist Fight in Heaven. Since the movie is based off the book, they also have a lot of similarities.
In the movie, Arnold (Victor’s Father), saved Victor and Thomas in a house fire. Growing up, Victor always saw his father drunk. He hated when his parents drank. One night Victor was so so of his drunk parents he started chucking beer bottles at the truck. His mother woke up and saw Victor doing this act. She stated that she would never drink again. Arnold was furious when he heard this, hitting his wife and leaving the Rez. Victor chases after him hopping into the back of the pick up. His Father got out of the car, hugged Victor, set him back down and drove off.
Victor and his father had a very weird relationship. One moment Victor doesn’t like his father and the next moment loves him. He doesn’t really know how he feels or how he should feel. Along the journey to Phoenix, Thomas tells all of these stories about Victor’s father. Thomas thought Arnold was a great man, telling Victor that he should love his father for he has been there for him. Victor refuses to listen to Thomas’ stories. He felt obligated to go to Phoenix, not out of love but out of force. On the way back, Thomas kept telling his stories and making Victor think. Victor then realized that this was his father, the one that raised him, loved him, and cared for him. Victor finally understood the stories and set his father free.
The book and the movie have its differences, but in the end they both come out to be the same and the themes match. Fathers on the Rez are mostly drunks who through their lives out the window, always relying on alcohol. Sons of these fathers go through a lot and see their fathers as role models, corrupting them to be like their fathers. Victor in the book is an alcoholic but in the movie he claims to have never had a drop. Although Victor was made at his father, he had a special connection with him.