In the early 1800s, the American frontier was a wild and dangerous place. Men and women ventured west in search of adventure and fortune, facing countless dangers along the way. One of the most remarkable survival stories from this era is that of Hugh Glass, a fur trapper and frontiersman who survived a brutal grizzly bear attack and crawled nearly 200 miles to safety.
Hugh Glass was born in Pennsylvania in 1780 and spent much of his early life as a sailor. In 1817, he joined the Rocky Mountain Fur Company as a fur trapper and began a life of adventure in the wilderness. Over the next several years, he worked as a trapper and guide in the Missouri River valley, facing danger and hardship at every turn.
In 1823, while on a trapping expedition along the Grand River in South Dakota, Glass was attacked by a massive grizzly bear. The bear, which weighed over 500 pounds, pounced on Glass and mauled him severely, leaving him with deep cuts and bruises all over his body, including his head, neck, and back. His companions, thinking he was going to die, left him behind with a few supplies and promised to return and bury him when he died.
Despite his injuries, Glass refused to die. He managed to crawl his way to a nearby river, where he fashioned a crude shelter out of some brush and branches. Using his hunting skills, he caught small game to eat and drank water from the river. He also tended to his wounds as best he could, using gunpowder to cauterize his cuts and using a salve made from animal fat to help them heal.
Over the course of several weeks, Glass managed to survive in the wilderness, despite his injuries and the harsh conditions. He crawled nearly 200 miles, using the sun and stars to guide him, and eventually made it to the Cheyenne River, where he fashioned a crude raft and floated downstream until he reached the safety of Fort Kiowa, a U.S. Army outpost.
Glass’s survival story quickly became the stuff of legend. His companions, who had left him for dead, were amazed to find him alive when they returned to the site of the bear attack. Glass’s tale of survival inspired countless other frontiersmen and became a symbol of the rugged individualism and determination that characterized life on the American frontier.
In the years that followed, Glass continued to work as a fur trapper and guide in the wilderness. He died in 1833, reportedly at the hands of Native American warriors, but his legacy lived on. Today, he is remembered as one of the greatest survivalists and frontiersmen of the American West, and his incredible story continues to inspire people around the world.