Hugh Glass 1783?-1833  

It is not known what Hugh Glass had done before he appeared in the Rocky Mountains as a fur trader. He was thought to be a seafarer, possibly even a pirate who came west. He was known for his wilderness skills. In 1823, he joined the Major Andrew Henry expedition to the upper Missouri. He was scouting with some others when he came between a female grizzly bear and her two cubs. He was severely injured, slashed from head to foot. He was bleeding profusely. It was not a matter of if he would die but when. The other members of his party carried him on a litter for several days waiting for him to die, but he still held on. Now came a decision. They were going through dangerous Indian country. They couldn't jeopardize the entire party for one man. So two men would stay behind with him, young Jim Bridger, and a man named John Fitzgerald. Finally after a week it looked like he had died, showing no signs of life. So Bridger and Fitzgerald packed up to go, taking Glass's gun and gear.
But somehow he came out of his coma, so weak he could only crawl. His back was infected from the bear wounds. He rolled over onto a rotting log and let the maggots eat the infection out of his back. Then he started dragging himself toward Fort Kiowa, a trading almost 200 miles away. He lived on the meat of dead animals and rattlesnakes. He slowly gained his strength so that he could walk upright. Most on his mind was getting revenge on the two men who had left him. At one point he was almost run over in a buffalo stampede.
He narrowly avoided being seen by Indians. After somewhere between two and three months he reached the fort. At the fort other mountain men were amazed at his story. He nursed himself back to health. He became obsessed with finding the two men who deserted him on the trail. He discovered that Fitzgerald was working for the military as a scout. He was told he would be hunted down and killed if he killed a soldier. He caught up with Jim Bridger, but had not realized he was just a boy and inexperienced. He forgave Jim Bridger. In 1833, Glass was killed in an Indian attack near present day Billings, Montana.

-Copyright 2000 by Beth Gibson

Read also: Hugh Glass - Mountain Man from Franks Realm 'Mountain Men' section.