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Shotgun Stories (2007)

PG-13 | | Drama, Thriller | 26 March 2008 (USA)
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Shotgun Stories tracks a feud that erupts between two sets of half brothers following the death of their father. Set against the cotton fields and back roads of Southeast Arkansas, these ... See full summary »


Jeff Nichols


Jeff Nichols
5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Shannon ... Son Hayes
Douglas Ligon Douglas Ligon ... Boy Hayes
Barlow Jacobs ... Kid Hayes
Michael Abbott Jr. ... Cleaman Hayes
Travis Smith ... Mark Hayes
Lynnsee Provence Lynnsee Provence ... Stephen Hayes
David Rhodes David Rhodes ... John Hayes
Glenda Pannell ... Annie Hayes
G. Alan Wilkins G. Alan Wilkins ... Shampoo
Natalie Canerday ... Nicole
Coley Campany ... Cheryl
Cole Hendrixson Cole Hendrixson ... Carter
Vivian Morrison Vivian Morrison ... Melissa (as Vivian Morrison Norman)
Tucker Prentiss Tucker Prentiss ... Paul
Wyatt Ashton Prentiss Wyatt Ashton Prentiss ... Kevin


Shotgun Stories tracks a feud that erupts between two sets of half brothers following the death of their father. Set against the cotton fields and back roads of Southeast Arkansas, these brothers discover the lengths to which each will go to protect their family. Written by Jeff Nichols

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, thematic elements and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

26 March 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fegyverek és emberek See more »

Filming Locations:

Stuttgart, Arkansas, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,553, 16 December 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$45,661, 13 July 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Jeff Nichols and Michael Shannon first film together. See more »


Son Hayes: We don't own the square-root of shit.
See more »


References An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) See more »


Written by Ben Nichols
Performed by Red 40
All Rights Reserved
See more »

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User Reviews

Gripping family tragedy set in the American South
6 July 2008 | by Robert_WoodwardSee all my reviews

Shotgun Stories, Jeff Nichol's impressive directorial debut, is an intense portrayal of a host of social ills in the Southern US: poverty, lawlessness, broken homes and guns. Set in a town in Arkansas, the film picks up the story of three brothers, all young men, named Son, Kid and Boy. The father of this unfortunate trio abandoned them when they were at a young age and they grew up in the home of a bitter, vindictive mother. Of the three, Son is the least hopeless case in a truly dysfunctional trio, but his relationship with his girlfriend and pre-teenage son is decidedly rocky due to his gambling addiction. The shared rapport between the brothers is one of the few comforts in a bleak situation and it makes the subsequent tragedies all the more painful to watch.

The tragedy begins to unfold when the three brothers learn of the death of their father. When they turn up to the funeral they confront the four brothers that their father raised after he left his first family behind. The unpleasant encounter at the funeral stokes up the resentments on each side and initiates an escalating blood feud. The reprisals become increasingly violent as new weapons are used to settle the scores: words, fists, knives and, lastly, inexorably, guns. The violent clashes are filmed only fleetingly, rather than in voyeuristic close-up detail, but the tragic consequences are felt with sickening force on both sides of the family. It is telling that the police intervene only once during a fight and do so without leaving their car – vigilantism is left unchecked. A further tragedy in all of this is that the young child fathered by Son is witness to so much of the violence.

The landscape of the American South is beautifully observed in Shotgun Stories; the fecundity of the cotton fields and the warm glow of golden sun on the fields are contrasted with images of sewage flowing into rivers and lily pads decaying in muddy ponds. The bittersweet soundtrack complements the mixed imagery, using a simple palate of acoustic guitar and cello to considerable effect and playing again and again in your ears long after the credits roll. In the final scenes, the desperately sad and tragic events wind up in a curious ending, neither happy nor sad, but about as heartening a cinematic experience as I have had this year.

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