(Spoilers for The Revenant ahead.)
In case you weren’t watching the Golden Globes, Leonardo DiCaprio won for starring in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant (and he also won for best response to touching Lady Gaga). His character, Hugh Glass, was mauled (and/or raped) by a bear, lost his son, and generally had a pretty rough time in his outdoors adventure. It’s an intense movie, and it’s definitely something that could only happen in a movie that’s trying really hard to get awards.
But did you know that Hugh Glass is an actual person? The Revenant is based on a 2002 book by Michael Punke, who was inspired by the real life story of Glass. While a few alterations were made between the man and the account, Glass did lead an intense life. He didn’t go on the film’s expedition or seek revenge for his son (since he didn’t have one), but the fur trapper did go on a trek with Major Andrew Henry, another character in the movie.
And that infamous bear attack? Yep, that happened, too, but the fictional version left out one of the craziest moments of real life. After biting off some of Glass’ flesh, the mama bear fed it to her cubs. The real man also survived the attack and being left for dead by his men.
While he did return to civilization, it took longer than the movie suggested. Glass didn’t make it to a proper fort for two months and didn’t reunite with the men who abandoned him for another seven years. Instead of going all Inglourious Basterds on the men and their scalps, Glass forgave them.
The movie also fabricates the relationship between Glass and the Native Americans who spared him. The real story ended with Glass shot, scalp-less, and dead.
So, would you rather lose your son and get revenge after a bear mauls you, or get dead and scalped after a bear mauls you? Neither. I would be the fur trader who stays at home and doesn’t get a movie made about me.