John Lopez Unveils Monument to Hugh Glass Near the Site of His Epic Fight With a Grizzly Bear

Last Updated by Michael Zimny on

Last August, Lemmon-based artist John Lopez unveiled a new sculpture commemorating Hugh Glass, close to the spot where the legendary pioneer nearly lost his battle with an angry mother grizzly bear. The sculpture — depicting the pivotal moment in the Glass legend — comes at a time of renewed interest in his story. 

While not a household name, Glass has long had his adherents. His story is simple and linear. He was hunting for game while on a trapping expedition with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, when he stumbled on a mother grizzly and her cubs. The mother mauled him gruesomely before he managed to fell her with his knife.  

Expedition leader Andrew Henry assigned two men as a burial party to stay with Glass until he died, while the rest of the company moved on. The pair stole his rifle and knife and abandoned him instead. Glass just plain refused to die though. He wrapped his mutilated body in the hide of his would-be killer and began a long, tortuous crawl that would make him a symbol of survival.

The Revenant — a film biopic about his struggle, and quest for vengeance against the trapper/soldiers who left him for dead, is now a box office smash and the winner of three Golden Globes.

Based on the novel by Michael Punke, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Glass, the film takes some liberties with the story, and was shot in the Canadian Rockies rather than in the Grand River grasslands where Glass was abandoned to die. 

hughglassdetail.JPG

The John Lopez sculpture brought the Hugh Glass legend back to its birthplace. 

The sculpture was unveiled in front of a crowd gathered for the inaugural Hugh Glass Rendezvous at a South Dakota state recreation area also bearing his name, contiguous to the Shadehill Reservoir and Grand River National Grassland

Rendezvous are the name given to a loose network of outdoor festivals for history buffs, where the facial hair and throwback clothing styles are reminiscent of modern Brooklyn, but without the irony or the artisanal pickle stand. And for any group that celebrates the pioneer ethic, it would be hard to find a more rugged embodiment of frontier grit than Glass.     

Having grown up in Lemmon, where Glass casts a long shadow over the arid landscape, Lopez understands the fascination with the story. 

hgplaque.JPGAn interpretive plaque dedicated to Glass overlooks the Hugh Glass Rendezvous encampment

“I think [because of] the fact that it happened so close to our hometown of Lemmon, we have all heard the story since we learned about it in History class," says Lopez, "and every time you drive by Shadehill or Summerville, you’re reminded of it. He’s the ultimate survivor. The life that he had even before he was mauled by the grizzly bear... and then to crawl 200 miles after the grizzly attack puts him in a category of frontiersman where he has a cult following, among rendezvous-ers and historians.”

The Hugh Glass monument is now on permanent display at the Grand River Museum in Lemmon. 

More on Hugh Glass and John Lopez.

 

subscribe to sdpb email updates food blog link image learning blog link image living blog link news and information blog link science and technology blog link sports blog link image

Related content from SDPB Radio - Art

In The Moment ... Senator Mike Rounds On Cybersecurity

In The Moment ... May 24, 2017 Show 100 Hour 1 As top programmers compete in Rapid City at the International...

In The Moment ... Dental Forensics And The Deadwood Pioneer

In The Moment ... May 16, 2017 Show 094 Hour 2 "Deadwood Pioneer: A Face from the Past" is a new documentary from...

In The Moment ... Calvin Coolidge In The Black Hills

In The Moment ... May 3, 2017 Show 085 Hour 2 This week's Dakota Political Junkies features Roger Whittle, managing...

In The Moment ... Shifting Populations, Shifting Opportunities

In the Moment ... April 20, 2017 Show 076 Hour 1 We continue our look at how shifting populations impact South...

Books

In The Moment ... Children’s Literature In The Age Of Trump

In The Moment ... May 19, 2017 Show 097 Hour 1 We could all use a laugh right now, especially children. So says...

In The Moment ... Dental Forensics And The Deadwood Pioneer

In The Moment ... May 16, 2017 Show 094 Hour 2 "Deadwood Pioneer: A Face from the Past" is a new documentary from...

"Paul Goble, Storyteller"

Artist Paul Goble passed away on January 5, 2017. Biographer Greg Bryan worked with Goble for more than four years...

Michael Dirda: A Life In Books And The Pulitzer Prize

Pulitzer Prize-winning book reviewer Michael Dirda takes a look back at a career as a professional reader. From...

Music

In The Moment ... Shemekia Copeland

In The Moment ... May 22, 2017 Show 098 Hour 2 When Shemekia Copeland was eight years old, her father pulled her...

In The Moment ... Children’s Literature In The Age Of Trump

In The Moment ... May 19, 2017 Show 097 Hour 1 We could all use a laugh right now, especially children. So says...

In The Moment ... Moment In Sound With Aces & Eights

In The Moment ... May 12, 2017 Show 092 Hour 1 Today for Moment in Sound, we welcome Harland Allen and Kim Bachman...

In The Moment ... Levitt At The Falls

In The Moment ... May 4, 2017 Show 086 Hour 1 SDPB's Steve Zwemke sits down with Minneapolis indie band " Night...

Theater

In The Moment ... Alex Meyer's Scenic Design

In The Moment ... May 10, 2017 Show 090 Hour 2 Alex Meyer. He's a junior art and theater major at Augustana College...

In The Moment ... Remembering Vietnam On Horseback

In The Moment ... May 9, 2017 Show 089 Hour 2 Colt Romberger’s father served in Vietnam, and it changed his life...

Dakota Midday: S.F. Washington's "Wizard Of Oz"

South Dakota high schools produce a variety of plays each year. This week the Washington High School drama...

Dakota Midday: Lisa McNulty On Female Artists

The Off-Broadway Women's Project Theater is the oldest and largest theater company that promotes women artists in...