Hugh Glass … American Legend / Part 1

– a person who has returned, especially from the dead.

Hugh Glass
Hugh Glass

“In the 1820s, a frontiersman, Hugh Glass, sets out on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling.”

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Tim (Tim Neath – Visual Artist was commenting that the upcoming film: “The Revenant”, is a remake of the 1971 film Man in the Wilderness”which starred Richard Harris and John Huston. We were both puzzled at the lack of acknowledgement about this ?

Looking at things a little closer, however, I see that the book “The Revenant” was written by Michael Punke and released in 2002. While “Man in the Wilderness” was a screenplay / script written by Jack DeWitt about 1970 – a novel was later released, named after the movie. In any event, it’s the same story – by different authors.

Man in the Wilderness script and novel
Man in the Wilderness script and novel

Above: The (blue) script for Man in the Wilderness (1971). A biopic loosely based on the life of American frontiersman Hugh Glass (1780-1833). I’m guessing it follows the factual events of Glass’s adventures more closely than The Revenant, but the theme of being a revenge movie seems accurate. In real life Glass didn’t follow through on his vengeance – after he confronted the men and accepted their reasons for abandoning him. In Man in the WildernessGlass’s name is changed to Zachary Bass (not sure why?) and played by Richard Harris. Captain Henry is the antagonist played by John Huston, as the leader of the expedition members who deserted him.

Though shot on location in Spain in the 1970’s, Man in the Wilderness has no feel of being a Spaghetti Western and I don’t personally qualify it as such. Others may differ.

Nor would you guess that the locations in the movie are anything other that the Appalachians or Adirondack’s of the Eastern US. The terrain seems amazingly similar/authentic.

Strangely enough, The Revenant is also shot outside of the US – in Alberta and Argentina. ??

The Revenant book covers
The Revenant book covers. Initial release 2002.

Glass and Grizzly

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Hugh Glass – A Short Bio

What can we say? Hugh Glass seems to have been a hell of a man.

Wikipedia: “Despite his injuries, Glass regained consciousness, but found himself abandoned, without weapons or equipment. He had festering wounds, a broken leg, and cuts on his back that exposed bare ribs. Glass lay mutilated and alone, more than 200 miles (320 km) from the nearest American settlement at Fort Kiowa on the Missouri. Glass set his own leg, wrapped himself in the bear hide his companions had placed over him as a shroud, and began crawling. To prevent gangrene, Glass laid his wounded back on a rotting log and let maggots eat the dead flesh …”

from A Song of Hugh Glass
Excerpt from A Song of Hugh Glass
Plaque marker overlooking Shadehill Reservoir in northwestern South Dakota
Plaque marker overlooking Shadehill Reservoir in northwestern South Dakota

Hugh Glass monument 2

Hugh Glass - Charles M. Russell sketchHugh Glass – Sketch by the great Western Artist, Charles M. Russell 

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Hugh Glass Sculpture
South Dakota sculptor John Lopez stands next to his latest creation of Hugh Glass being mauled by a Grizzly Bear. Unveiled in February 2015

Hugh Glass Sculpture 2

Grizzly ... by John Lopez
Magnificent Grizzly sculpture … by John Lopez

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Hugh Glass Celebration ... Lemon, South Dakota

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Hugh Glass … American Legend / Part 2

Author: jcalberta

Howdy! I love Westerns. ... and the intent of is to celebrate Western Movies/Film - old and new. This site will eventually show my top 30 favorite Westerns - or more. I will have original graphic work with regular updates. All this - and more ... Yee Haw ... !! - jcablerta / Moderator / Administrator

10 thoughts on “Hugh Glass … American Legend / Part 1”

    1. I’ve just watched Man in the WIlderness last night. Must say I’m pleasantly surprised. It’s a much better film than I recalled from my previous viewing so many years ago. It’s me that’s changed for the better though – not the movie. Thus a greater appreciation.

      1. Glad you like it, for me in its the minimalism of the film. Little dialogue. I can still remember the woman silently in labour, just wow, those scenes. And the boat on wheel is very much a products of the time for me. Wish I could watch it again

      2. I downloaded it off torrent. Got a good copy. Yes, that is a powerful, poignant scene. Harris seemed to have a fondness for films that depict Native culture in a human light.

  1. I hope this one is good too. It has been quite a while since any good new westerns were released.

    I think a lot of stuff gets shot up your neck of the woods because you have much more unspoiled countryside … and it’s gorgeous. A lot of stuff supposedly taking place in the 19th century is shot on PEI and the rest, well. You’ve got that great scenery 🙂

    1. They used to shoot quite a few movies around southern Alberta. ‘Little Big Man’, ‘Legend of the Fall’, ‘Unforgiven’, ‘Open Range’ .. lots of stuff. But the government here stupidly made some changes that destroyed that incentive. And now many projects are shot around Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia instead.
      There seems to be a notion that there’s more unspoiled country up here for such projects, but believe me, there’s plenty of open space and great country in the US. But maybe it’s still cheaper to do it here.

    1. Thank you Cindy. Interesting man.
      I’ve done some hiking in the Rockies – luckily never had a bear encounter. But it’s their home and we must tread carefully and respectfully.

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