Hugh Glass

History is full of some pretty badass people who have pulled off some incredible feats and survived to tell the tale. We have taken a look at a few of these guys and gals below whose feats of survival will put you to shame!

Hugh Glass (1783-1833) (pictured above)

Those who aren’t too familiar with history may recognise the name Hugh Glass as the character who won Leonardo DiCaprio his first ever Oscar.

For those of you who don’t know the story, Glass was a fur-trapper who, on a fur-trading expedition, ended up being attacked by a grizzly bear. The animal was killed – some reports say by Glass himself –  but Glass was left with horrific injuries. He reportedly had a broken leg, punctured throat, a ripped scalp and several deep gashes to his person.

Believing that he was mortally wounded, the expedition leaders left behind John Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger to stay with Glass until he died. However, the two man decided to re-join their party a few days later, placing Glass in a shallow grave and leaving with his hunting knife and rifle, believing him to be at death’s door.

Glass somehow regained strength over the next few days, and started his 200-300-mile journey/crawl, which would take him two months. After his ordeal, he arrived at Fort Kiowa where he would regain enough strength to seek revenge on the men who left him.

After catching up with Bridger and Fitzgerald (not before being attacked TWICE by Native Americans) Glass forgave Bridger due to his age (he was only 19). There are differing reports about Fitzgerald, as some say he joined the Army so was safe from the wrath of Glass, whilst others say he was also forgiven.
“Stagecoach” Mary Fields (1832–1914)

 Stagecoach Mary Fields posing with a rifle in hand

Mary Fields was born a slave in 1832 until slavery was abolished in 1865, when she became the first African American woman to be employed as a postal carrier in the United States, and only the second woman to work for the United States Postal Service.

She joined the Postal Service at the age of 60, due to being the applicant who could hitch five horses in the quickest time. She drove her mail route and never missed a day or delivery, which earnt her the nickname “Stagecoach”. Due to becoming such a beloved citizen of Cascade, Montana, the local schools closed each year to celebrate her birthday, and she was also granted an exemption when all other women were banned from saloons.

Standing at six feet tall and weighing over 14 stone, she smoked cigars, had a pistol strapped under her apron and always had a jug of whiskey close to hand… What a woman!

John “Liver Eating” Johnson (1824 –1900)

The grave of John "Liver Eating" Johnson

Known by many names, including “Crow Killer” and “Liver-Eating Johnson” (dropping the “T” from his last name), American man John Johnston went on a revenge-fuelled rampage against Crow Indians after they killed his wife.

The Liver Eating nickname? He reportedly cut out and ate the livers of the people he killed, as a symbolic way of completing a revenge killing.

The Crow tribe feared for their safety so sent out 20 of their best warriors to kill Johnston. No one knows how the battle panned out, but none of the warriors returned…

Johnston was later captured by Blackfoot warriors who were going to present him to the Crow Tribe. They bound him with leather straps as a prisoner, but he managed to chew his way through them and escape from where he was being held.

Upon his escape, he was confronted by a guard, who he killed with a single blow to the man’s nose before he could react. Johnston then took the warrior’s knife, sawed off the leg of the Indian at the hip and used it as a blunt instrument to battle his way out of the Blackfoot camp and into the woods.

The leg served him well on his 200-mile journey back to his home, acting as a food source when scarce all was about. After his vendetta against the Crow tribe, he joined the Army as a sharpshooter and was honourably discharged a year later.

In December 1899, he was admitted to a veteran’s hospital where he later died aged 76, although his badass legacy still lives on today!



John Johnston image courtesy of Billy Hathorn, under Creative Commons