After being mauled by a grizzly bear and left to die in the wilderness, Hugh Glass managed to drag himself hundreds of kilometres to find the men who abandoned him and seek his revenge.
It’s the amazing true story of the frontiersman who inspired Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest project, The Revenant.
Born in 1780, just four years after America’s Declaration Of Independence, Glass was an expert hunter and marksman.
In 1823, he joined an expedition to collect beaver skins that travelled up the Missouri River and the Grand River in what is now South Dakota.
When Glass came upon a female grizzly bear and her cubs, the protective mother charged him, grabbed him by the throat and threw him to the ground.
Despite managing to shoot and stab the bear, she would not be stopped and continued to claw at Glass’ flesh, shredding his face, chest and limbs.
[Drawing Of Hugh Glass - Image: Creative Commons]
By the time his companions managed to kill the bear, Glass had been mauled from head to toe. A savage rip to the throat left him unable to talk and barely able to breathe.
None of his companions expected Glass to survive for long. John Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger were ordered to stay with Glass until he died and give him a burial upon his death.
But Glass just wouldn’t die. After five days, anxious to catch up to the rest of the expedition, the two men abandoned Glass and took his gun, knife and flint.
When they caught up with the rest of the group, they claimed Glass has passed away and been given a proper burial.
Meanwhile, Glass was still very much alive. Setting his own broken leg and allowing maggots to eat his dead flesh to avoid gangrene, Glass began to drag himself to Fort Kiowa, more than 150 kilometres away.
After surviving encounters with wild animals and hostile Native Americans, Glass set off for Big Horn, determined to find the two men who abandoned him and exact his revenge. But the group had already left.
When Glass eventually tracked Bridger down, he forgave him because of his young age – Bridger was just 19 year old at the time.
Sources disagree on what happened with Fitzgerald. Some say he had joined the army and was therefore safe from Glass’ retaliation, while others contend Glass simply forgave him as well.
Glass returned to trapping and was eventually killed by Native Americans in 1833 while on an expedition in modern-day Montana.
For more, don’t miss A World Unseen – tonight at 9.30pm on National Geographic Channel.
This unique documentary explores the incredible stories of perseverance and the deeply personal journey behind the creation of the feature film “The Revenant” as seen through the film’s visionary director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and starring actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy.
[Header image: 20th Century Fox]