Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

DailyView: Day 69, Movie 119

I came across this movie on HBO Max and I had never heard of it before. It starred Robert Redford and the synopsis made it sound like Grizzly Adams. I used to like that show back when I was young, so I put this on my queue.

There was little comparison between the two. Redford looked like Adams a touch and there was a Mad Jack type character early in the movie, but he gets left behind and Jeremiah Johnson becomes a different story than a greenhorn trying to learn how to survive in the mountains.

Jeremiah Johnson (Robert Redford) made his way into the mountains to live a life of seclusion. After learning to survive in the harsh environment of the mountains, Johnson began his trek through the countryside. As he did this, he ended up an Indian bride (Delle Bolton) and a traumatized boy who did not speak (Josh Albee).

When leading a rescue party of the US Calvary, Jeremiah had to lead them through the Native American tribe, the Crows’s sacred burial ground and this triggered a long vendetta from the Indians. Tragedy and revenge followed for the remainder of the film.

Robert Redford was excellent in this role. You can see how he developed from a “pilgrim” as he was called by Bear Claw (Will Geer), a fellow mountain man, to a legend who was spoken about in hyperbolic terms.

Directed by Sydney Pollack, Jeremiah Johnson is slowly paced, allowing the viewer to understand the passage of time and to enjoy the surroundings of the film. There are some gorgeous scenery in these mountains and they act almost like a second character. Some may claim that this is a boring movie because of the pacing, but I found it to be fully immersing in the character and the manner in which his life developed.

The movie is based on Raymond Thorp and Robert Bunker’s book Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson and Vardis Fisher ‘s novel Mountain Men. It was an impressive movie, especially since I had not heard of it before.

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