At our Breakfast Club on Monday, Matt’s presentation was on the topical movie that might just shatter the popular meme of an Oscar-less Leonardo DiCaprio: The Revenant. Matt didn’t want to spoil anything though, so his presentation explored the arguably more interesting topic of the historic truth behind the movie.
Hugh Glass, the main character glorified on the big screen by Leo, was a real person, a Frontiersman in the early 1800s. So too was another character, not the focus of the movie, but the focus of Matt’s presentation. James or “Jim” Bridger also lived in the 1800s and was also a Frontiersman.
Although Jim Bridger in the movie was not, to say the least, portrayed as the most courageous kind of man, in reality he explored a great deal of what is now the Western United States. He was the first European man to see many famous American sights, such as the Yellowstone Geysers. He explored many areas, opening up travel routes. Further, there are numerous Western towns named for Bridger, including the Bridger Mountains (both those in Wyoming and those in Montana) and the Bridger Pass, which became an important train route that Bridger had been the first to explore.
Another interesting point about Bridger is his fame for telling stories that would become legendary. Some stories, like those of the geysers were true, but others, specifically those in which he died in the end, were not. Many people did not know what was true and what wasn’t, save for the aforementioned tragedies, because Bridger was the first European to have seen such things.
During his time, Bridger learned to speak up to five languages, including native languages—good for spreading his stories—and had three native wives at different times over the course if his life.
Jim Bridger was an explorer who established many of the foundations of trails and passes through the United States, and through his courage, was integral to the development of the US’s slightly less wild West.
Of course, it’s always important to remember the past, to honour those who have accomplished great things and not to forget humanity’s mistakes. And at adHOME, we like to explore all kinds of different things. The movie industry is an important one to keep in touch with as trends are always changing and it can be a great source of inspiration for the creative thinkers here at adHOME. And what could be better than learning about the history that inspired an Oscar nominated film? Plus, pop culture references are always fun.