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

About Bryan Wendell 3269 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.