Leonardo DiCaprio will play this fearless frontiersman in the upcoming film The Revenant. Here’s how his adventures back in the 19th century helped turn him into a legend.
It’s difficult to separate fact from fiction when it comes to his many adventures. In 1806, 26-year-old Glass was reportedly kidnapped by the crew of pirate captain Jean Lafitte. Glass served under the command of Lafitte for two years before he escaped and swam to shore near Galveston, Texas.
Years later in 1822, he responded to an ad posted in The Missouri Gazette and Public Advertiser looking for fur trappers. In August of 1823, he was searching for game near the Grand River in the Dakota Territory when he was attacked by an angry female bear defending her cubs. Glass was brutally mauled but, with the help of two of his fellow trappers, he managed to kill the beast. Back at the group’s camp, their colleagues assumed Glass would not survive his injuries and he fell into a coma. Two men volunteered to stay with him until he died and bury him but they were eager to get a move on. Despite digging him a grave, they tossed the bear’s hide on top of Glass to serve as a burial shroud, grabbed his equipment, and abandoned him. But Glass survived.
After regaining consciousness, he wrapped himself in the hide of the bear and began crawling. Despite being 200 miles from the nearest American settlement, having no supplies and a broken leg, Glass built a raft and sailed down the Cheyenne River toward Fort Kiowa. The journey took six weeks, during which he lived primarily on wild berries, roots, and bison meat. A group of Native Americans also aided him by sewing the bear’s hide directly into his skin to protect his wounds.
Despite his horrifying ordeal, Glass decided to continue working as a fur trapper after recovering from his injuries.. The frontiersman was later killed during a skirmish with Native Americans along the Yellowstone River in 1833. A lonely monument can still be found on the spot where Glass was attacked by the bear. Some claim that his open grave also remained visible until it was covered with water in 1951.
Eager to learn more about legendary encounters with wild animals and how to defend yourself from them? Then grab a copy of Uncle John’s How to Fight A Bear and Win…And 50 Other Survival Tips You’ll Hopefully Never Need.