MoSho’s Badass of the Week- Bear Fighting Hugh Glass
You may have seen the movie "The Revenant," but I bet you didn't know he was a pirate too! Check out this week's badass, bear-fighting Hugh Glass.
We're taking a look at Ben Thompson's book "Badass" and finding some of our favorite badasses in history. A few months ago, we discovered an amazing website Badass of the Week. The creator, Ben Thompson, founded the site so others could learn about various badass men and women in history. The site has been around since 2004 and Thompson has written several books on the subject of Badasses through history, as well as the Guts and Glory series of books. Both series look at various types of heroes and villains throughout history. While reading these books, we've found interesting facts, stories and people that we believe should be highlighted so you know more about them.
Have you seen The Revenant? Well, let’s hear the real story of frontiersmen Hugh Glass. Hugh Glass was a fur trapper and frontiersman who was born to Irish immigrant parents in Pennsylvania. He lived a quiet life with his family until he was captured by pirates in the Gulf of Mexico. He served for two years as a pirate for Jean Laffite before he escaped to Texas but was then captured by the Pawnee tribe. Laffite is known as well in history for pausing his illegal activities to defend the US and New Orleans in the War of 1812. But that’s another badass for another time.
Glass lived with the Pawnee tribe for a few years and even married a Pawnee woman. Then in 1822, he joined 100 men for a fur-trading venture that was heading North to trade with local Native American tribes. On the first part of this journey, the group was attacked by Native Americans and Glass was shot in the leg but survived. Once the group made it to South Dakota, they split into two parts and Glass’ group traveled west in search of the Yellowstone River. It was during this adventure that Glass had his infamous run-in with a Grizzly bear. While scouting for game, Glass surprised a mama bear and her two cubs and before he could do anything, he was attacked. The bear picked him up, bit, scratched, ripped and essentially mauled the man to near death. Glass was able to defend himself with the tools on him and then eventually kill the bear with the help of his traveling party.
Although alive, Glass was believed to be mortally wounded by his traveling companions. He had a broken leg, severe lacerations all over his body but was miraculously still alive. Two men were commanded to stay with Glass until he passed, then bury his body and catch up with the rest of the group. So the two men did as they were told and dug a grave for Hugh Glass and waited for him to die. The two men claimed that not long after they were attacked by some Natives and they took Glass’ equipment: his knife, rifle, fire making set, and other items and bolted leaving the frontiersmen to defend for himself in the wild. Whether or not this aspect of their story is true is unknown. What the two men told the rest of their party was that Glass had passed.
But Hugh Glass wasn’t dead, he was alive and came to alone in the wilderness with no supplies and no help. From this point, Glass did what he could to survive his bleak situation. He re-set his broken leg, cleaned the wounds to the best of his ability and even got maggots to eat his infected skin on his body. He wrapped himself in the skin of the bear he killed and started his arduous journey back to civilization. Glass trekked on through mountainous land, the hostile territory of Native Americans, and dealt with wild animals. He persevered and was about to get a crude raft and floated down the river back to Fort Kiowa on the Missouri River. Once he arrived he recuperated and recovered from his injuries. But this Badass's story isn't done yet.
Surviving would have been enough of a tale, but he also wanted revenge. He made his way towards the group of soldiers he traveled with, to find the two men who left him to die in the forest. He found the younger of the two and spared the man's life and his actions due to his young age. But the second, a man named Fitzgerald, he still wanted a revenge on. Once he found the man, he was unable to kill him sadly. An army captain would then kill Glass for murdering another soldier. Because of this, he spared the man's life but left him with a warning. According to his fellow soldiers, Glass told Fitzgerald if he ever left the army, he would come back to kill him. As far as history can tell, Fitzgerald stayed in the army until he died.
Finally, with his incredible saga coming to a close, he didn't go off into retirement to live a quiet life. Hugh Glass then went back to the old life of his younger years, becoming a pirate once again. In 1833, he was killed by hostile Native Americans, going out in another blaze of glory. If you need more of Hugh Glass, go check out the move "The Revenant."