The Haunting: The True Story of the Man Who Came Back From The Dead
“The Revenant” (2015 film)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Revenant is a 2015 American epic historical adventure film directed, co-produced, and co-written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. The screenplay by Iñárritu andMark L. Smith is based in part on Michael Punke‘s novel with the same title, inspired by the experiences of frontiersman Hugh Glass in 1823, in what is nowMontana and South Dakota. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Glass, and co-starsTom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter.
Development began in August 2001 when producer Akiva Goldsman purchased Punke’s manuscript. Iñárritu signed on to direct in August 2011, and in April 2014, after several delays due to other projects, Iñárritu confirmed that he was beginning work on The Revenant and that DiCaprio would play the lead role.Principal photography began in October 2014; problems with location and crew delayed the film from May to August 2015.
The Revenant premiered at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on December 16, 2015, and had a limited release on December 25, 2015, followed by a wide release on January 8, 2016. It received positive reviews, mostly for its performances, direction, and cinematography. The Revenant won three Golden Globe Awards, five BAFTA Awards, and at the 88th Academy Awards, Iñárritu, DiCaprio and Lubezki won the awards for Best Director, Best Actor and Best Cinematography. DiCaprio also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actor and the BAFTA Award for Best Leading Actor.
In 1823, a crew of trappers under the command of Captain Andrew Henry(Domhnall Gleeson) hunt for pelts in the Northern Plains, in unorganized U.S. territory (later the Dakotas). When Arikara Native Americans launch a surprise attack, many trappers are slaughtered. The survivors then flee on a boat but the experienced guide Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) recommends journeying on foot to their outpost, Fort Kiowa. That suggestion bothers some, particularly John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), who is hostile towards Glass and Glass’ half-native son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), because years earlier he was partially scalped by natives. The Arikara continue to stalk the Americans, believing that they are responsible for the abduction of Powaqa, the Chief’s daughter.
While scouting ahead solo, Glass is badly mauled by a grizzly bear. The party finds him close to death and carries him on a makeshift stretcher. Fitzgerald argues that Glass will not survive and that they should kill him to speed their journey. Unwilling to kill Glass, Henry offers payment to those who will remain with him. Fitzgerald, Hawk, and the young Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) volunteer. Henry makes Fitzgerald promise to stay with Glass until he dies and give him a proper burial.
While Bridger is away re-filling his canteen from the creek, Fitzgerald tries to smother Glass but Hawk discovers them. Fitzgerald kills Hawk as Glass watches helplessly. When Bridger returns, Fitzgerald says Hawk is missing, and Glass is too injured to protest. Fitzgerald lies that the Arikara are nearby and that they must abandon Glass; he drags Glass into a shallow grave. Bridger hesitates, but flees with Fitzgerald, leaving Glass with his canteen. Glass crawls from the grave and walks for days, slowly regaining strength and haunted by visions of his deceased Native wife. He escapes the Arikara by floating down rapids.
On their way to Fort Kiowa, Bridger realizes that Fitzgerald lied but Fitzgerald intimidates him into silence. When they arrive at the fort, Fitzgerald tells Henry that Glass died and Hawk was likely attacked by the Arikara. Henry pays Fitzgerald his reward, but Bridger refuses payment out of guilt.
Glass encounters Hikuc, a friendly Pawnee who shares bison meat with him. Hikuc has lost his family too, but says that “revenge is in the Creator’s hands”. They travel on horseback. Hikuc treats Glass’s wounds and shelters him. The next morning, Glass finds Hikuc hanged by French-Canadian pelt hunters. He infiltrates their camp and sees the leader savagely raping the Arikara chief’s daughter. He frees her, kills two hunters, and retakes Hikuc’s horse. He encounters the Arikara again and escapes by galloping off a cliff, killing the horse and injuring himself. He survives the night by sheltering inside the horse’s carcass.
At Fort Kiowa, a lone French hunter arrives carrying Bridger’s canteen. Believing it was stolen from Hawk, Henry organizes a search party to look for him. Fitzgerald, realizing that Glass is alive, steals the fort’s money and escapes. Henry’s search party discovers Glass and brings him to the fort. Furious, Henry charges Bridger with treason, but Glass assures Henry that Fitzgerald lied to him. Glass insists on joining Henry to find Fitzgerald. After they split up, Fitzgerald ambushes Henry. Glass finds Henry dead and scalped.
Using Henry’s corpse as decoy, Glass ambushes Fitzgerald. He chases him into the woods and they engage in a bloody fight beside a river. Glass is about to kill Fitzgerald, but remembers Hikuc’s words and pushes him downstream into the hands of the Arikara. The chief, accompanied by Powaqa, scalps and kills Fitzgerald, but spares Glass.
Afterwards, a grievously wounded Glass retreats into the forest and experiences a final vision of his deceased wife, only this time she smiles before disappearing.
The Revenant Ending and How It Differs From History
By now, many of us have seen Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s latest powerhouse film,The Revenant, and we can safely say we’ve never felt dirtier. It’s a dire and unrelenting, yet profoundly beautiful movie about fur trapper Hugh Glass’ desperate fight for survival and revenge in the American frontier. Despite the disgusting and brutal nature of the film, people seem to have genuinely gravitated towards it. In its expansion to wide release, The Revenant has already made an estimated $38 million at the box office, making it Leonardo DiCaprio’s fourth biggest opening ever, and Inarritu’s all-time best frame.
As unlikely as it may seem, The Revenant is in fact based upon a real story. Many of the treacherous events that befall Glass throughout the film actually took place, but as we all know, Hollywood does love to play fast and loose with the phrase “based on a true story.” Given the vague, and possibly embellished accounts of what happened to Glass out in the wilderness, how much of The Revenant is fact, and how much of it is fiction? Join us as we sift through the details to find the truth, and determine whether, or not the truth even matters.
SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Revenant.
What Happened In The Movie
Set against the harsh backdrop of the American frontier during the early 19th century,The Revenant follows expert tracker Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he and his Native American son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) guide a fur trapping expedition led by Captain Andrew Henry (Domnhnall Gleeson). After witnessing the majority of their expedition violently murdered at the hands of a Native American tribe, Glass finds himself brutally mauled by a bear while scouting in the woods. Unwilling to care for Glass’ situation or his survival, party member John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) murders Hawk in front of Glass and leaves the tracker for dead in the wilderness – lying about Glass’ fate when he returns to their home at Fort Kiowa and forcing fellow party member Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) to corroborate his story.
Unbeknownst to Fitzgerald and Bridger, Glass survives their attempt to bury him alive and begins a rage-fueled journey for revenge that sees him brave hunger, Native attacks, and various other treacherous elements to get the man who murdered his son. Throughout Glass’ journey, he experiences haunting flashbacks of his dead Pawnee wife that remind him to keep fighting as long as he can breathe. After being subjected to just about every type of hell imaginable, Glass finally makes it back to the trapping outpost, at which point the truth begins to come out, causing Fitzgerald to flee with Henry’s money. Glass forgives Bridger, and eventually tracks Fitzgerald down in the wilderness where the two men engage in a vicious brawl – shooting, slashing, and beating each other to within an inch of their lives. Gaining the upper hand, Glass opts not to kill Fitzgerald, but sends him downriver into the hands of a hateful Native tribe from which they spent the film running. The final moments of The Revenant see Glass still barely breathing among the trees, as he watches the specter of his dead love wander away into the wilderness. The credits roll, and all the audience is left with is the sound of Glass’ breath. Riveting stuff for sure, but let’s see how it compares with reality…
What History Tells Us
Going by the significant research of the website HughGlass.Org, The Revenant actually gets a surprising amount of Hugh Glass’ story correct when we consider just how amazing it is. According to trapper’s journals and Native American stories passed down for generations, the real Hugh Glass did in fact suffer major injuries at the hands of a grizzly bear, and was indeed left for dead by John Fitzgerald. However, Glass’ real journey for revenge stemmed more from the simple fact that he was left for dead, and his fellow trapper stole his prized rifle from him. This is because the real Glass did not have a Pawnee son whom Fitzgerald murdered. The film also condenses Glass’ trek for the sake of brevity, and in reality the trapper and frontiersmen didn’t actually catch up with his treacherous companion until months later – discovering that he had enlisted himself in the army. As a result of Fitzgerald’s status as a government employee, Glass was forbidden from exacting any sort of violent justice against his enemy. Instead, his prized rifle was returned to him, and officials who learned about his ordeal compensated him roughly $300.
Following the events portrayed in The Revenant, the real Hugh Glass went on to live a full life by continuing his work as a fur trapper. He moved around from territory to territory, and during this time he survived several more dangerous ordeals – including having an arrow shot through his back by a Native American in New Mexico. A full decade after the events of shown in The Revenant, it is generally believed that Glass met his demise at the hands of the Arikara tribe – native to the Dakota Territory.
Which Do You Prefer?
The artistic licenses taken by The Revenant open up an interesting question for us to examine: which story do you prefer? As it stands, the ending of the movie leaves the fate of DiCaprio’s Glass somewhat ambiguous: he has achieved his goal of revenge, and he’s on death’s doorstep in the middle of the wilderness, but we don’t necessarily see him die. By contrast, the real Glass is believed to have lived for at least a decade following the events that unfold in The Revenant. Both of these versions lend themselves to amazing storytelling, so how should we interpret the film?
On one hand, having Glass die at the end of the film feels like a fitting way to cap off the film’s story. He achieves the one thing that compels him to stand up and leave his dead son’s body: getting revenge against Fitzgerald in the desolate, snowy mountains. Glass states that he no longer fears death because he has already died before; he’s a man whose mind and loved ones have already crossed over to the other side, so the fulfillment of his revenge is the last thing he needs to do before he can join them. It’s the sort of mentality previously cinematically presented in Joe Carnahan’s The Grey, which frames survival more as a matter of dying with one’s boots on, rather than literally prolonging one’s life. From this point of view, it could be easily argued that DiCaprio’s version of Glass has earned the respite of death, and breathes his last breaths during the credits.
On the other hand – even if we ignore the real life fact that Glass made it out alive – Glass’ survival seems somewhat essential in order to hammer home the theme of the movie. The last thing we as an audience hear as the credits roll is Glass’ breath, weak but persistent, emphasizing his own begrudging commitment to the film’s theme of survival. A mentality is presented repeatedly throughout the film that as long as we have the physical capacity to draw breath, we must endeavor to keep doing so. He wants so badly to join the love of his life by the time the credits roll, but she walks away from him into the woods because they both know his time has not come yet
The film provides no concrete explanation to these profound questions, and as a result we as the audience are left debating the events we have just witnessed. Perhaps that’s the beauty of a film such as The Revenant – its lack of answers forces us to think, and as a result we learn a thing or two about the way we view the world. Now if you’ll excuse me I am going to go take another shower because I still have some Revenant on me.
Hugh Glass, the True Story of “The Revenant”
The true story behind “The Revenant”—Hugh Glass’s tale of survival and revenge.
Inspired by true events, The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, tells the story of survival and revenge on the frontier. Read on to learn about the real story of Hugh Glass, the man who inspired it all.
Stories abound of the prodigious experiences of the mountain men—the larger-than-life fur trappers and wilderness explorers of the early 19th century. None, however, surpasses the saga of Hugh Glass’s remarkable fight for life after surviving a grizzly bear attack. It is one of the most fantastic tales to emerge from the entire Westward Movement. In fact, it inspired the recent Leonardo diCaprio film, The Revenant. Hollywood took liberties with the story, but as near as oral tradition can be trusted, what follows is the real story of Hugh Glass, the true story of The Revenant.
Glass’s life before becoming a mountain man is shrouded in mystery. Some versions have him sailing as a pirate under the notorious Jean Lafitte. It is a known fact, however, that he joined the Ashley-Henry fur-trapping brigade when he was around 40, older than middle-aged for his time. The Ashley-Henry party left St. Louis in the spring of 1823, making its way up the Missouri River to the “Shining Mountains”—the Rockies—in search of beaver pelts. Within a short time, they were set upon by a party of Arikara, leaving 15 of their number dead and “Old Hugh,” as Glass was called, wounded in the leg.
By summer, the trappers were proceeding cautiously overland, their eyes peeled for signs of hostiles. And there were other perils in the mountains that threatened to snuff out a man’s life, and grizzlies—“Old Ephraim,” as the trappers termed them—ranked high on the list. A full-grown grizzly stood upwards of 12 feet tall, and weighed some three-quarters of a ton. Even if a man survived a bear attack, he was usually left with physical reminders of the encounter. The legendary Jedediah Smith himself had come out second-best in a contest with an angry grizzly, leaving him with several broken ribs, and much of his scalp and one ear hanging by a strip of skin. He calmly supervised the reassembling of his face with rawhide stitches, but he would bear the reminders of the encounter till his death.
At this juncture, the lack of documentation means we’re relying on oral tradition for the rest of the story. According to legend, Hugh Glass—his leg now healed—was scouting ahead of the brigade near the forks of the Grand River, when he entered a thicket to hunt for berries. He immediately stumbled upon a sow grizzly and her two cubs. As the bear reared upright and charged, Glass fired directly into her chest. His single-shot weapon now useless, he took to his feet, but the bear—apparently unfazed by the shot—swiftly overtook him, and brought her claws down on the hapless trapper.
Although he hacked away with his knife, he was no match for the creature. By the time Glass’s comrades came to his aid, the animal had slashed his face to the bone, and opened long, gaping wounds on his arms, legs, and torso. The trappers fired several balls into the creature, finally bringing it down beside the inert Glass.
Glass was barely alive. His breathing was labored, and he was bleeding profusely from a number of grave wounds. The other trappers made him as comfortable as they could, expecting him to expire at any moment. However, when he survived the night—and the next few days—without any perceptible improvement, Major Henry decided that the party had to move on, to avoid the possibility of Indian attack. He offered to pay two men $40 each—the equivalent of two or three months’ pay—to remain with Glass until he died, and to then catch up with the rest of the party.
The two men who accepted the job were John Fitzgerald, a seasoned trapper, and a youth named Jim Bridger. As their fellows moved out, the two set up a cold camp, settled into their buffalo robes, and waited for the old man to die. But Glass held on, breathing fitfully. After nearly a week, Fitzgerald grew desperate to catch up to the brigade. He convinced young Bridger that there was nothing to be gained by further endangering their lives, and—after taking Glass’s rifle, knife, and all his “possibles—they left him to die alone.
Incredibly, Glass regained consciousness. He rallied enough to realize his situation, and after dragging himself to water at a nearby spring, and snagging a few buffalo berries from a low-hanging bush, he began to drag his torn body towards salvation—which, in this case, was Fort Kiowa, a trading post some 250 miles distant. He had neither the means nor the strength to hunt for food, so he sustained himself on roots and the rotting meat of old kills he came upon as he crawled through the dry, scrubby plains of present-day South Dakota. At one point, he found a rattlesnake sated and swollen from a recent kill, and after smashing its head with a rock, soaked the meat in water and fed himself.
Glass calculated he was covering a mile a day at a crawl, and knew that he had to do better if he was to survive. He stood for the first time since the bear attack after seeing a pack of wolves bring down and feed on a buffalo calf. Realizing that without its meat he would die, he struggled to his feet and, leaning on a long stick, screamed at the wolves until they left their kill. Glass stayed alongside the calf for several days, gorging on its organs and flesh, gradually regaining some of his strength. When the meat turned so rancid that it was no longer edible, Glass continued on his journey, walking upright and making 10 miles a day.
On his trek, he narrowly escaped death in a buffalo stampede, and was nearly discovered by a passing band of Arikara. Incredibly, after seven weeks in the wilderness, he staggered into Fort Kiowa, to the amazement of the fort trader. Keeping him alive against all odds was the unquenchable urge to live, his wilderness skills, and the unflagging desire for vengeance. He was determined to exact retribution from the two men who had taken all he possessed and left him to die in the wild.
After further recuperation, Hugh joined an expedition to the Mandan villages, where he was told that the Ashley-Henry company was wintering at Fort Henry. Knowing that Fitzgerald and Bridger would number among the party, he set off for the fort in mid-December. On New Year’s Eve, as a storm raged outside the walls, the reveling trappers within responded to a muffled pounding on the gate. They opened it to a wraithlike, ice-encrusted, nearly frozen Hugh Glass.
The holiday merriment ceased abruptly as Glass rasped, “Where’s Fitzgerald and Bridger?”
He was told that Fitzgerald had quit and joined the Army as a scout, which made him a federal employee, and untouchable. For Glass to kill him now would be to invite his own execution. Bridger, however, was skulking in a corner, overcome with guilt and shame. Seeing how young the boy was, and allowing for the fact that he had been strongly influenced by Fitzgerald, Glass spared the youth’s life—after giving him a hearty chewing-out. Jim Bridger took the lesson to heart, and went on to become one of most celebrated trappers, guides, and scouts in the West.
Hugh Glass returned to his trapper’s life, and his legend spread throughout the nation. The account was, no doubt, improved upon over time, reflecting the old Western maxim, “Any story you can’t improve on just ain’t worth the tellin’!” Old Hugh ultimately “went under” 10 years later, in an Arikara attack. His old enemies finally killed and scalped the old trapper, but not before his name had found an honored place in the pantheon of Western legends.
Life isn’t fair – we often wonder why bad things happen to good people. We feel that The Wheel of Justice isn’t moving at all; we can’t help thinking that Lady Justice is failing in her duties in meting out what is fair, just and right. In contemporary times, it is a fact that the Wheel of Justice is corroded with rust and it creaks noisily because its oiling mechanism hardly ever kicks in. This is because this Wheel of Justice is overridden with greed, corruption, deceit, deviousness and extortion. It is not surprising therefore that the instances of the meting out of fair-play and justice are few and far-between. The main reason for such a dire situation is because justice is man-made and driven by the fallibility and frailties of humankind. In such a case, some people feel that they should take justice into their own hands and mete it out themselves. Such persons are driven by desperation, disillusionment, impatience, impulsiveness and their thought processes have gone so far astray that they hardly know what they are doing. To a large extent, however, people who mete out a crude form of justice themselves, are deemed as being as guilty of the crime as the guilty party itself. For example, no one has the right to torture and kill another even though the nature of the crime committed speaks of heinousness and evil of the grossest kind.
What most people tend to forget about is that there is another form of justice – it is referred to as God-Given Justice – better known as KARMA. The latter stems from Popular Hindu philosophy and is based on the principle of echoes – if one does good deeds, the goodness and benevolence of such actions reflects back on the doer. On the other hand, if one does wrong and wicked deeds, some form of ill will befall the doer of such wrong-doings. The Wheel of Karma moves slowly but surely – even The Good Lord has a Book of Priorities in a world driven by malice, dishonesty, viciousness and evil. You can be sure that Justice will be served – in most cases, sooner rather than later.
God is an unerring marksman – He hardly – if ever – misses the mark. His form of Justice takes the form of either a Kiss of Love or a sting of pain, suffering and sorrow. If you are very lucky, you might live to see the workings of Karma – but even if you don’t, you can rest assured that the Wheel of Karma moves slowly but persistently. Justice will be meted out – at the right place and at the right time. The trick lies in learning patience – the art of how to wait and bide one’s time.
The ending scene of ”The Revenant” might not be true to fact but it amply portrays how Karma always has the Last Laugh.