The Tragic 1833 Death Of Hugh Glass Explained

The film "The Revenant," Alejandro Iñárritu's mesmerizing 2015 portrayal of revenge, redemption, desperation, and one man's grueling will to survive, took home three Academy Awards — including Leonardo DiCaprio's long-awaited Best Actor feat. It gave moviegoers some insight into what it was really like to face the unforgiving elements of the early American frontier, but as far as the actual Hugh Glass and who he really was, the film's credibility gets a little muddled (via IMDb).

According to Britannica, Hugh Glass was a real person who did in fact hunt game upon the American frontier and traveled with a party of other trappers throughout the early 1800s. He was attacked by a grizzly bear and left for dead by John Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger around the year 1823. After being left to perish alone in the cold, Glass took to the wilderness in pursuit of his betrayers and traveled close to 300 miles on foot over the course of two months, surviving multiple attacks from Native American tribes and defying nature's brutal conditions. As to whether or not he fulfilled his self-avowed duty to kill the men who left him bleeding and broken in the wilderness, little confirmation can be extracted from factual accounts.

The true story of Hugh Glass

Over the course of the past few centuries, Hugh Glass has become something of a fabled enigma. Still, what remains true is that Glass led an astonishing life that was characterized by numerous hardships and triumphs over otherwise certain death upon the frontier. "Although I had lost my rifle and all my plunder, I felt quite rich when I found my knife, flint and steel in my shot pouch,' Glass is reported to have once said. "These little fixins make a man feel right peart when he is three or four hundred miles from anybody or any place" (per Historynet).

A trapper by trade, Glass took to the landscape with several different hunting parties throughout the 1820s. He even got separated from his troop once again and, for the second time in his life, was exiled into the gauntlet of the wilderness alone, according to Britannica. Yet again, he survived the mishap and continued his life as a trapper, undaunted.  

Hugh Glass died in 1833

The odds finally caught up with Hugh Glass in 1833 while he was on yet another trapping expedition. Over the years, Glass survived multiple confrontations with the Arikira tribe. Following the grizzly bear attack that nearly put him in the grave, he met with them upon his 300 mile journey to find John Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger and even took an arrow in the back at one point, but he lived through the bloodied exchanges. He was working with a group of trappers known as Ashley's Hundred for a decade or so before he perished, and two separate times, the party fought off the Arikira tribe and evaded death (via All That's Interesting). 

However, while traveling along the Yellowstone River in 1833, members of Ashley's Hundred was attacked once again by Arikiras, as All That's Interesting reports. As to the direct circumstances of Hugh Glass's demise, history remains unsure, but what we know for certain is that it was the final time Hugh Glass would draw a gun against assailants. He was killed by the Arikira tribe that day on the Yellowstone River in 1833.