Was Hugh Glass From 'The Revenant' A Real Person? Leonardo DiCaprio Brings A Legendary American Figure To Life

I don’t know if all of you have seen the trailers for the upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio survival thriller The Revenant yet, but believe me when I say that his character is going through it. DiCaprio plays a fur trapper named Hugh Glass, who answers an advertisement for a 100-man expedition through the American frontier. In the year 1823, any journey through the western part of the continent wasn’t for the weak. The film tracks the hardship Glass endures during his travels and the treachery that arms him with a vendetta against his former associates. Glass survives such violence that anyone’s first inclination would be to assume that his ordeal comes straight from the imagination of a screenwriter. But Hugh Glass was a real person, and The Revenant only touches on a fraction of his incredible life’s story.

Glass wasn’t well known before the attack that occurred during the expedition. After he lived through his injuries and the aftermath, Glass became something of a real-life folk hero. He’s been the subject of poems, songs, biographies, and novels. The Revenant isn’t even the first film dedicated to telling his story. Several details about Glass’s life have been passed down in an oral tradition, so should be taken with a grain of salt. But if the tales are to be trusted, these are four unbelievable things that happened to the real Hugh Glass.

He Was A Pirate For A While, But Not By Choice

Some stories have it that Glass, who'd worked as a sailor, was captured by French pirate Jean Lafitte, who operated in the Gulf of Mexico, and was forced to be a part of his crew. He was under Lafitte's employ for several years before he was able to swim to the Texas coastline and his freedom. Today, Glass would probably do alright in an Iron Man race.

He Was Captured By The Pawnee Tribe, But Made The Most Of It

Another historical rumor says that Glass was abducted a second time, this time by member of the Pawnee tribe. He lived among them for a period, and much more harmoniously than he did with his pirate captors. Allegedly, Glass even married a Pawnee woman and advocated for the rights of Native Americans to the U.S. government.

He Survived A Vicious Bear Mauling And A Winter In The Elements

And thus is the plot of The Revenant. During the 1823 expedition, Glass was attacked by a female grizzly bear who was protecting her cubs. Seriously wounded, Glass was left in the care of two young members of the party. Instead of staying with their charge, the men unburdened Glass of his gun and other possessions and left him for dead. He battled the elements so that he could live to be revenged, which pretty much debunks the theory of the power of positive thinking.

He Died In 1833 In An Attack By Members Of The Arikara Tribe

After living through unimaginable challenges in the previous decade, Glass met his end on the banks of the Yellowstone River when he and his companions were ambushed by a North Dakotan tribe. Legend has it that a trapper colleague later recognized Glass's gun (the same one that had been stolen from him after the mauling), which exposed the man who held it as one of his murderers.

Not every extraordinary element of Hugh Glass's life can be fully substantiated. But even if the years have embellished events, the truth of them is still pretty astounding.

Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy (4)