It really does come down to cowboys and Indians in relation to political ideology within America. Progressives identify with the Indian, a tribe of people collectively unified in worship of Mother Earth who have a top down hierarchical social structure. Progressives from both political parties see themselves as the tribal leader and by their nature they sacrifice their individual lives to the greater good of “their people.” Little known in America because history has not yet caught up to the facts, but the Indians as we know them, the Shawnee, the Lakota, the Adena, the Hopewell—were all following the Vico Cycle accurately. Advanced cultures had been in the Ohio Valley and the American Midwest for centuries—well ahead of Christopher Columbus’s arrival—but the societies broke down into regional tribes at war with each other as they regressed back into nomads from their city-state histories—moving from aristocracies, then democracy followed by anarchy, then starting all over again by the time Europeans came looking for relief from religious persecution in their native land. For evidence, just study the city of Cahokia, Illinois and many other examples that existed between 100 BC to about 1200 AD. Progressives have the same thing in mind for modern America—regressing from an advanced culture into a nature worshiping nomadic culture controlled by a hierarchy of political tribal leaders.
Then of course there is the American cowboy, which would tend to be politically conservative, embodying all the values of rugged individualism and self-reliance. In the conflict between the cowboy and the Indian the main difference between the two is along these primary lines. Frontiersman who evolved into the cowboy in American folk tales embodied the type of individualism that became the symbol of United States strength throughout the world and was the distinguishing characteristic behind the economic method of capitalism whereas the Indian would be most at home with socialism. Progressives prefer socialism whereas conservatives’ capitalism—it’s a very distinct comparison that literally cuts to the essential mythologies of America, the cowboy versus the Indian.
For many years I have been espousing the entertainment necessity of turning Allen Ekert’s novels starting with The Frontiersman into either a movie, or a mini-series because of the importance that those stories played in regard to the creation of America. They are fabulous novels that will change the way people view the Midwest of North America. If done correctly they could be some of the best films made and would answer for America a lot of questions. I think they would make a ton of money because they would appeal to the American masses that lean to the political right. Ekert was very fair in his novels toward the frontiersmen and the Indians. He seemed to regard them both not as villains in either case, but as participants on the battlefield of life, which is the most honest way to portray them. So I was pushed back into the seat a bit with excitement at the Cinebistro at Liberty Center’s premier movie theater when I saw a preview for the upcoming film, The Revenant. At first I thought Leonardo DiCaprio had discovered the Ekert books, but after a few minutes I realized that the character he was portraying wasn’t Daniel Boone nor Simeon Kenton, but someone else. My interest was retained, but my suspicions increased.
The Revenant is an upcoming American biographical Western thriller film directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. The screenplay by Mark L. Smith and Iñárritu is based on Michael Punke’s 2002 novel of the same name. It is inspired by the life of frontiersman Hugh Glass (c. 1780–1833). The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, and Domhnall Gleeson.
Development of the film began in August 2001 when Akiva Goldsman purchased Punke’s manuscript with the intent of producing the film. The film was originally set to be directed by Park Chan-wook with Samuel L. Jackson in mind to star, and later by John Hillcoat with Christian Bale in negotiations to star. Both directors left the project, and Iñárritu signed on to direct in August 2011. In April 2014, after several delays in production due to other projects, Iñárritu confirmed that he was beginning work on The Revenant and that DiCaprio would play the lead role. Principal photography began in October 2014 and ended in August 2015.
The film will have a limited theatrical release in the United States on December 25, 2015, followed by a wide release on January 8, 2016.
In 1823, fur trapper Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) is brutally attacked and mauled by a bear while hunting in what will become the Dakota Territory. His companions, led by John Fitzgerald (Hardy), rob him and leave him to die, while Fitzgerald murders Glass’s young half-Native American son, but Glass survives and sets out on a 200-mile trek to seek out the men who betrayed him and exact revenge on Fitzgerald for killing his son.
Glass was born in Pennsylvania, to parents who were from Ireland of Scottish descent. An explorer of the watershed of the Upper Missouri River in present-day North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, Glass is best known as a frontier folk hero for his legendary cross-country trek after being mauled by a grizzly bear.
Glass’ survival odyssey has been recounted in numerous books. A monument to Glass now stands near the site of his mauling on the southern shore of Shadehill Reservoir at the forks of the Grand River.
- Western writer Frederick Manfred penned Lord Grizzly (1954), an account of Glass’ ordeal nominated for a National Book Award.
- In the 1966 episode “Hugh Glass Meets the Bear” of the syndicated television series, Death Valley Days, the British actor John Alderson played Glass. Morgan Woodward was cast as Thomas Fitzpatrick and Victor French as Louis Baptiste.
- Richard Harris starred in Man in the Wilderness (1971), an action film loosely based on the Glass story.
- Roger Zelazny and Gerald Hausman meshed the stories of John Colter and Hugh Glass in the 1994 novel, Wilderness.
- The song “Six Weeks” by Of Monsters and Men is “inspired by the true tale of American frontiersman Hugh Glass, seemingly left for dead after killing a bear that attacked him.”
- The May 27, 2015 episode of Monument Guys, “Tesla and the Unbreakable Glass,” features the construction of a Hugh Glass Sculpture.
- Leonardo DiCaprio plays Glass in the 2015 film The Revenant, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.
In the legend of Hugh Glass he had an Indian wife, and the previews reveal that he has a son. Thinking from the perspective of Hollywood, likely Fitzgerald will kill the boy as a form of discrimination. Fitzgerald would later become a member of the U.S. military in Nebraska Territory which plays into the themes that the progressive activists at the Academy of Arts and Sciences require to be a Best Picture nomination for 2015. There would have to be some subplot that attacks the American military and the people within it to qualify for an award. The filmmakers are clearly going for such appeal since they are in a limited release during Christmas of this present year. But as a western, I’ll take it. I will likely be able to overlook those bits of liberalism to enjoy a classic story set on the American frontier. There are a lot of stories that NEED to be told about that time period, and many of them favor the perspective of the cowboy. This film about Hugh Glass has the potential to be great. I hope it makes a lot of money to encourage investors to make more of these types of films.
The life of the cowboys and Indians were very different, they came from opposing viewpoints that are not compatible, just as modern liberals and conservatives aren’t reconcilable. Indians were unquestionably collectivists and all these modern western tales feel they must tell that story first from a racist point of view to earn the right to tell a good story about cowboys. Yet, if frontier stories are honest about their presentation, and The Revenant looks like an honest attempt to show the brutality of that life, then the Indians will have to be shown not as the docile tribes of earth worshipping collectivists that they were, but a regressive lineage that had their own problems of self-destruction and inclinations toward warfare—for which the political left chooses to ignore—like the Democratic Party presently is, in denial of their own foundations.
Indians—“Native Americas” were not rooted into the territory of the Americas—they were a declining culture from what was here before them. Like the modern progressive, they chose to regress socially into hunters and gathers from the advanced culture of their origins. History led by liberals has chosen to focus on only this portion of history and not the people who were trading with China, South America, Mexico and other places around the world as massive cities rivaling everything in Europe. Presently, and even by the time of the story of Hugh Glass, that world had washed away by the rivers and trees of earth’s progress to fight against mankind for the right to write history. Under the same fields of corn and wheat across Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and the Dakota’s are complex remains of cities long gone, and the cultures that made them forgotten except by Indian legend. The natural hatred between the cowboy and the Indian was not one based on different colors of skin, but that both had different intentions for the same land. The Indian wanted to worship the earth just as progressives do. The cowboy wanted to tame it, just as conservatives do. And that fight is as alive today as it was in the times of Hugh Glass. My hope is that if director Alejandro G. Iñárritu went to all the trouble of making the crew’s life miserable on-set with on location shoots that were torturous, all in an attempt to capture the real lighting of hard frontier life, then he’ll go the rest of the way to tell the story of real heroics that shaped America. And that story knows no political party. I can’t wait to see The Revenant.
Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman