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

Middle Schoolers Get Rock Orchestra Lesson

Sioux Falls middle schoolers are playing music with a world-renowned rock orchestra violinist. Mark Wood is in town...

Spitting Words At LNI’s Fourth Annual Poetry Slam

The Lakota Nation Invitational is not just for athletes, but aesthetes as well. An aesthete, if you are wondering...

Dakota Midday: Horse Nation Of The Oceti Sakowin

The Horse Nation of the Ochethi Sakowin honors culture, spirituality and relationship. It's a traveling exhibition...

2017 Governor’s Awards In The Arts Winners

Every two years, Arts South Dakota and the South Dakota Arts Council honor artists and organizations across the...

Books

"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...

Dakota Midday: J. Ryan Stradal

J. Ryan Stradal is the author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest. A Minnesota native, Stradal lives in Los Angeles...

Dakota Midday: Paul Andrew Hutton

Paul Andrew Hutton joined Dakota Midday from the SD Festival of Books in Brookings. Hutton is a distinguished...

Music

In the Moment Podcast: "The Creative Spark"

On this week's podcast we celebrate the creative spark with author Augustin Fuentes, musician N.W. Engbers, and...

In the Moment Podcast: Davy Knowles

This week's podcast features a conversation with blues musician Davy Knowles, poetry from Patrick Hicks, and music...

In the Moment Podcast: "World Gets Heavy"

In this week's In the Moment podcast, we explore the full range of the human condition with expressions of despair...

In The Moment Podcast: Pat Hammond, Jim Reese, And Bob Fehy

On this episode of the In the Moment podcast, "Women are women wherever you go." Pastor Pat Hammond talks about...

Theater

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...

Dakota Midday: Playwright Bill Russell's Journey to Broadway

Tony nominated Broadway lyricist and playwright Bill Russell was born in Deadwood and raised in Spearfish. His...

DWU Plans $1 Million Theater Project

After dedicating a new sports and wellness center this past month, Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell is now...