"The Revenant" was a tale of survival and revenge, which Alejandro G. IÃ±Ã¡rritu wouldn't have second thoughts (of adapting to the big screen). As every moviegoer would guess, this was a loose adaptation of the life of Hugh Glass. And this Western epic wasn't the first motion picture to depict this man. (Richard Harris played him in another loose adaptation of his exploits in the Upper Missouri River, but director Richard C. Sarafian thought of a different name.) During the studio days, viewers would be reminded that what they were about to see was a product of creative minds. They don't do it nowadays. (Perhaps the big studios knew the audience don't care anymore.) What they might not know was Hugh Glass was a legend during his lifetime.
What was the real Hugh Glass really like? Here are five interesting things about him:
Hugh Glass was the son of European immigrants. And many weren't looking for a better life. Glass had Irish-Scottish parents who settled in Pennsylvania. This would be far from the Upper Missouri River, which covered Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. This was wild country, with the Arikara Native Americans roaming the land. But this didn't discourage the likes of Glass. Perhaps they were bored by the cultured life in Europe. And some Europeans journeyed inward in search of adventure. Not that fur trapping wasn't a profitable trade, but financial security wasn't the first priority of trappers and mountain men.
Glass did everything to ensure his prolonged stay in the watershed. The film focused on how a grizzly bear mauled Glass. John Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger left him, believing he was dead. But he lived. He struggled with a broken leg. (Imagine watching maggots feeding on his rotting leg to survive.) Glass didn't whine about his predicament. He knew what he was getting into. Many don't know about the other episodes of his life. For instance, Glass was married to an Arikara woman. Some would doubt it, as Arikanas weren't hospitable to every white men they met in the wild. Glass couldn't think of a better way.
Glass forgave Fitzgerald and Bridger. Anyone familiar with IÃ±Ã¡rritu's works would guess that he modified this part of Glass's story. He was able to locate Bridger and Fitzgerald, but he had a change of heart. He didn't let the Arikaras killed them either. After all, they were members of Ashley's Hundred, pioneer explorers of the Green River Valley. Don't be surprised if a camaraderie was formed between them after all the adventure and danger they went through.
And they would die violently. You couldn't fault them for not quitting the game early. It was the only thing they knew. (Some would suggest withdrawal symptoms. They couldn't be farther from the truth.) It was hard to imagine Glass in fine clothing.
The Upper Missouri River is still a playground for the brave. Unless you get bored of amusement parks, then it will better to keep a distance in this part of America.