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

Art That Takes You Home

In The Moment ... July 18, 2018 Show 381 Hour 2 Jon Crane creates "Art that Takes You Home." After a tour at...

Renowned Artists Visit Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute

In The Moment ... June 19, 2018 Show 361 Hour 2 Art can be meditation, expression, activism, and escape. It can also...

Eagle Butte Artists Learn Tips To Flourish

Artists who turn their passion into a business venture can find it a challenge. They need to figure out the details...

2018 Sculpture Walk Installation

In The Moment ... May 2, 2018 Show 328 Hour 2 Visitors to Sioux Falls will soon be able to stand beneath a giant...

Books

Read, Baby, Read: What's America's Best-Loved Novel?

In The Moment ... May 22, 2018 Show 342 Hour 1 What's America's best-loved novel? You get to decide. PBS launches...

Author Kirk Wallace Johnson's "The Feather Thief"

In the Moment ... May 1, 2018 Show 327 Hour 1 The centuries-old art of salmon fishing fly-tying has a dark side. It...

Jane Yolen Celebrates #Yolen365 And Counting

In The Moment ... April 26, 2018 Show 324 Hour 1 In March, author Jane Yolen released her 365th book. That means you...

Christine Stewart: 41st Great Plains Writers Conference

In The Moment ... March 21, 2018 Show 301 Hour 2 The 41st Great Plains Writers Conference kicks off on March 23 at...

Music

Fun Approach To Music Theory

Andrew Rogers – in home music lessons designed for children and young adults. Uses a unique teaching style that...

The Literary Style of Reina del Cid

Reina del Cid kicks off her summer tour with a stop in Sioux Falls at the Icon Lounge. She joins SDPB's Lori Walsh...

Eric Johnson Returns For Black Hills Playhouse Opener

In The Moment ... May 29, 2018 Show 346 Hour 2 Leave the ordinary behind at this year's Black Hills Playhouse Season...

The Claudette's: Making Music In The Midst Of Crisis

In The Moment ... May 24, 2018 Show 344 Hour 1 The Claudettes play Total Drag Records in Sioux Falls, Saturday, May...

Theater

Broadway Choreographer Chet Walker

In the Moment ... April 9, 2018 Show 311 Hour 1 The University of South Dakota Theater Department presents "Cabaret"...

Images of the Past: Stage To Screen

In The Moment ... November 27, 2017 Show 227 Hour 2 A new exhibit at the Old Courthouse Museum tells the story of...

Personalities: From Huron High to Broadway

Singer, actor, and teacher Joseph Mahowald graduated from Huron High School in 1977. He went on to study music and...

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...