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Long before ‘The Revenant,’ Boys’ Life shared the harrowing true story of Hugh Glass

In 1823, a brutal bear attack in what is now South Dakota left frontiersman Hugh Glass clinging to life. His ribs were crushed. His face mangled. His body clawed and shredded.

Left for dead by his traveling companions, Glass was forced to find a way to survive on his own. His companions even took his rifle, knife and belongings, forcing Glass to rely on skills not unlike those learned by modern Boy Scouts earning the Wilderness Survival merit badge.

If you think the tale of Hugh Glass would make a great Hollywood movie, you’re not alone. Leonardo DiCaprio portrays this 19th-century trapper in The Revenant, in theaters now.

But 27 years before The Revenant offered its fictionalized tale of Glass, Boys’ Life shared the terrifyingly true story with its readers.

You can read the full story, as it appeared in the November 1989 issue of BL, below.

Minor spoiler warning: I’ve seen The Revenant, and I can say it diverges enough from reality that reading the Boys’ Life telling below won’t spoil the movie for you. (The trailers for The Revenant say the film is merely inspired by true events, after all.)

That said, if you’re a purist and like to watch a movie knowing absolutely nothing going in, wait to read this story after you’ve seen the film.

The Tale of Hugh Glass

Click/tap the image below to enlarge.

Hugh Glass Boys Life November 1989

6 Comments on Long before ‘The Revenant,’ Boys’ Life shared the harrowing true story of Hugh Glass

  1. Also told in the March 1947 Boys’ Life
    https://books.google.com/books?id=EZF2obvg0RwC

  2. demondeacon87 // January 19, 2016 at 11:41 am // Reply

    If you can produce the sources for the Boy’s Life article that makes it more or less fictional than the recent movie, your post would have credibility. The phrase “true story” is not synonymous with “legend.”

  3. Taking my troop this Sunday. Should be a great lesson with lots of good follow up discussion.

  4. Cubmaster Pack 548 // January 19, 2016 at 10:44 pm // Reply

    The main character is a TRUE EAGLE SCOUT(Cub Scout, Boy Scout). As Cubmaster, that is how we have taught our boys in order to survive. Can u make a fire or a shelter like that? My scouts can!

  5. Lots of great old Boys Life stories in the Wayback Machine! http://boyslife.org/wayback/

  6. Yesterday's Scout // January 22, 2016 at 10:58 pm // Reply

    The 1971 film “Man in the Wilderness” was (apparently loosely) based on the same story.

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