The story of Hugh Glass only became more legendary with the 2016 hit movie release of "The Revenant," starring actor Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass. Celebrate his heroic journey where it all happened in South Dakota.
An epic tale of survival and revenge, the early 2016 film The Revenant tells the story of frontiersman Hugh Glass (played by Leonardo DiCaprio). Glass was a trapper in South Dakota, where he was mauled by a grizzly bear and left for dead by his companions. Fueled by revenge and the will to survive, he crawled for 6 weeks to the nearest settlement, Fort Kiowa, near present-day Chamberlain.
Today, you can follow the route Glass took through the South Dakota wilderness and be amazed just how he lived to tell the tale.
Start your journey in the northern South Dakota town of Lemmon. You can almost hear the roar while looking at renowned artist John Lopez's sculpture in the Grand River Museum. Lopez used scrap metal — his preferred medium — to recreate the battle between Hugh Glass and a grizzly bear. Want to know more? Just head to Lopez's studio in downtown Lemmon. Not only can you see more of Lopez's work, you're also likely to catch the sculptor himself at work.
Head south on Highway 73 to the Hugh Glass monument near the Shadehill State Recreation Area. It's near where he was mauled by the bear and left for dead by his comrades. The area is part of the 155,000 acres of Grand River National Grassland, where pristine buttes and prairies almost guarantee a sense of peace. Come for the history, stay for the views.
Keep exploring the beautiful plains of Grand River National Grassland as you move down Highway 73 past Thunder Butte, which Glass used as a reference point for navigating as he crawled toward help. Continue down to the Cheyenne River, where Glass fashioned a crude raft and floated down to the Missouri River and, eventually, to safety at Fort Kiowa. The fort is gone now, but the present-day towns of Oacoma & Chamberlain were established near the fort's former site.
View the video below of John Lopez describing the original location where Hugh Glass was attacked and his motivation for creating the beautiful sculpture depicting the event.