Alright, we’re going to do something a little different and discuss one of my favorite movies of all time: Jeremiah Johnson. This is a 1972 film about a hunter and frontiersman by the name of (you guessed it) Jeremiah Johnson. It is loosely based on the real-life frontiersman “Liver Eatin’ Johnson”, named by the rumors that he killed 300 Crow Tribe members as revenge for murdering his wife. Directed by Sydney Pollack, it stars Robert Redford in one of the best roles of his career.
It’s about a war veteran who after serving in the Mexican War wants to get away from society. He decides to head out into the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains and to try and test his mettle against the land. Before heading into the mountains he stops in town to purchase a Hawken 50 caliber rifle but has to settle for a 30 caliber Hawken instead. The start of his travels into the rockies is filled with other missteps. We soon find out he doesn’t know how to fish, hunt, or do any of the other things one needs to survive in the wilderness.
He eventually runs into a hunter named Bear Claw who, after a hazing period involving a live grizzly bear, takes Jeremiah in and teaches him some of the skills he will need to survive. While in the mountains, Jeremiah is deep into Native American territory and quickly learns that some of the tribes are friendly and some are not.
I don’t want to go any further on the plot, because if you haven’t seen it—you need to go watch it.
The movie features some of the most authentic portrayals of hunting and the mountains that you will find. It’s an absolutely gripping story about a man who gets in over his head, learns how to survive, and then finds out that in the end, the mountain always wins. In my opinion, it is one of the best hunting movies ever made and a perfect way to spend a summer evening.