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"The Revenant" links Montana history and "mountain man" legend - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

"The Revenant" links Montana history and "mountain man" legend

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The movie, directed by Alejandro Iñárritu, was inspired by the experiences of fur trapper Hugh Glass; Glass is portrayed by Leonardo Dicaprio in the movie. The movie, directed by Alejandro Iñárritu, was inspired by the experiences of fur trapper Hugh Glass; Glass is portrayed by Leonardo Dicaprio in the movie.
The movie "The Revenant" is based on a book by Michael Punke, who is a former University of Montana professor. The movie "The Revenant" is based on a book by Michael Punke, who is a former University of Montana professor.
HELENA -

The movie "The Revenant" is based on a book by Michael Punke, who is a former University of Montana professor.

The movie, directed by Alejandro Iñárritu, was inspired by the experiences of fur trapper Hugh Glass; Glass is portrayed by Leonardo Dicaprio in the movie.

The movie is garnering much praise and critical acclaim.

Glass worked for the Rocky Mountain Fur Company trapping beavers in eastern Montana and South Dakota in the 1820s.

“The book is fiction and the movie is fiction, but Hugh Glass was a very real person,” said Tom Cook of the Montana Historical Society.

Glass and other trappers experienced a daily threat from the Reese Indians who were near the Boulder River.

But that was not the only threat.

“Glass was attacked by a bear and mauled terribly, just terribly, and that is a very true situation,” said Cook.

One of the men involved was the famous Jim Bridger, who was a young man at the time. But with the Indians behind every move, they left Glass to die.

“He was virtually dead as far as they (fellow trappers) were concerned. They left and of course Hugh Glass didn’t die. He dug himself up out of the mud, healed himself, fought his way back to civilization,” said Cook.

"Michael Punke did a great job of writing about it. It’s a fun thing to be able to look at the movie and get excited. We’re hoping people want to read more about it. We have a whole selection of bear attacks which were rampant during that period. A lot of those stories are fantastic to read,” said Cook.

You can learn more about Bridger and other mountain men at the Montana Historical Society in Helena.

Punke released his novel -- titled "The Revenant: A Novel Of Revenge" -- in 2002.

He has not been involved in any of the current promotion and publicity for the movie, however.

He now serves as the U.S. Deputy United States Trade Representative and US Ambassador to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. The Washington Post notes that federal ethics rules "prohibit him from doing any side work — even a little promotional campaign — that might enrich him and potentially abuse his high-ranking office in the process."

The movie website states:

Inspired by true events, THE REVENANT is an immersive and visceral cinematic experience capturing one man’s epic adventure of survival and the extraordinary power of the human spirit. In an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. In a quest to survive, Glass endures unimaginable grief as well as the betrayal of his confidant John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Guided by sheer will and the love of his family, Glass must navigate a vicious winter in a relentless pursuit to live and find redemption.

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