In mountain man circles, Hugh Glass was synonymous with grit long before Hollywood and Leonard DiCaprio made him a household name in The Revenant. His 200-mile journey for help after being mauled by a grizzly and left for dead by his “companions” is precisely how mortal men become mythical legend. His adventures before the famous bear encounter were pretty hairy, too.
In the early 1800’s, Glass was forced to be a pirate with Jean Lafitte in the Gulf of Mexico. He and a companion escaped near Galveston after two years at sea. After their escape, they were captured by the Pawnee in Kansas. Glass watched as the Pawnee impaled and burned his friend alive, and Glass gave a gift of cinnabar to the Chief. This saved his life, and he actually fought alongside the Pawnee against neighboring tribes.
By 1823, Glass had made his way to St. Louis and saw an ad that wanted to pay young men to hunt in the West. It was posted by the famous Rocky Mountain Fur Company where he met a young Jim Bridger and John Fitzgerald—the two men who would leave him for dead after being mauled. Glass eventually reunited with both men but killed neither.