Jeremiah Johnson (1972) Script

His name was Jeremiah Johnson.

They say he wanted to be a mountain man.

The story goes that he was a man of proper wit and adventurous spirit…

…suited to the mountains.

Nobody knows where he came from, and it don't seem to matter much.

He was a young man…

…and ghosty stories about the tall hills didn't scare him none.

He was looking for a Hawkin gun, 50 caliber or better.

He settled for a 30, but damn, it was a genuine Hawkin.

You couldn't do no better.

Bought a horse, traps and other truck that went with being a mountain man.

And said goodbye to whatever life was down below.

Where is it I could find bear, beaver, other critters worth cash skinned?

Ride due west as the sun sets. Turn left at the Rocky Mountains.

This here's his story.

"I, Hatchet Jack…

…being of sound mind and broken legs…

…do hereby leaveth my bear rifle…

…to whatever finds it.

Lord hope it be a white man.

It is a good rifle…

…and killed the bear that killed me.

Anyway, I am dead.

Yours truly, Hatchet Jack."

Ha, ha!

A 50 caliber Hawkin!

Come on, you.

That'll be far enough, pilgrim!

Where are you?

You're a fine target, pilgrim!

Empty your hand.

I ain't seen no live man in 2 months.

I am Bear Claw Chris Lapp.

Blood kin to the grizzly that bit Jim Bridger's ass!

You are molesting my hunt!

I am... I know who you are!

You're the same dumb pilgrim I've been hearing for 20 days…

…and smelling for 3!

How come you ain't been scalped?

Ain't been too lucky?

No. This place has been trapped out since '25.

Why are you here?

I hunt griz.

Griz? Grizzly bears, pilgrim. I collect the claws.

I had one in that thicket.

Ready to shake hands, until you came!

I'm sorry, then.

You look it!

Hungry too?

Come on.

You know how to skin griz?

I can skin most anything.

You sure are cocky for a starving pilgrim.

There she be. Go in, get warm, eat something.

I've got a chore to finish.

My boy!

Are you sure that you can skin griz?

Just as fast as you can find them.


Skin that one, pilgrim, and I'll get you another!

Must have missed another war down there.

Didn't miss nothing.

If I head due west tomorrow, will I find places to trap?

If you head due west or any place tomorrow, you'll be starving in a week.

You ain't likely to meet someone like me.

Mountain's got its own ways.


Use that skin pad, pilgrim, before you lose all your fingers.

What you learned down in the flat will serve you no good up here.

You got some work to do.

Utes and Flatheads…

…are generally peaceful critters.

Crows, they are fearful.

Mighty warriors too.

In my opinion, the Crows are the handsomest Indians there is.

And proud too.

There ain't a man alive can match them on a horse.

I've seen them ride with one foot on the horse's rump…

…one wrist through a loop in the mane…

…shooting arrows and guns under the horse's neck!

But they are an adulterous people.


Here you are, pilgrim. Sharp enough to scale a fish with.

Ever get lonesome?

For what?


Full-time night woman?

I never could find no tracks in a woman's heart.

I packed a squaw for 10 years, pilgrim.

Cheyenne, she was.

And the meanest bitch that ever balled for beads!

I lodgepoled her at Dead Wolf Creek and traded her for a Hawkin gun!

Don't get me wrong, I love the women, I surely do!

But I swear…

…a woman's breast is the hardest rock…

…the Almighty ever made on Earth…

…and I can find no sign on it.

Now these coals here will simmer until sunrise.

You better go do likewise.

Didn't put enough dirt down.

Saw it right off.

You track well, pilgrim.

Kind of like it, don't you? Maybe.

Figures. A human man…

…likes tracking and killing.

An Injun, he figures it's natural.

Wind's right.

But he'll just run, soon as we step out of these trees.

Trick to it. Walk out on this side of your horse.

What if he sees our feet?

Elk don't know how many feet a horse has.

No, you damn fool! Slide it up over the saddle!

You got him, pilgrim! You nailed him clean.

We got us an elk to skin!

Can't figure people there eating hog when they could feed on elk.

Didn't like it down there?

Ought to have been different. Is that so?

Many a child journeys this high to be different.

To get from here what their natures couldn't get them below.

It comes to nothing.

Can't cheat the mountain, pilgrim. Mountain got it…

Probably Crow. They'll steal our horses unless we bribe them.


It's their territory. They figure we're trespassing.

Yep, Crow.

Paints-His-Shirt-Red. That's his sign. Just stand still.

You two know each other?

I saw him once.

He says you fish poorly.

You understand their language?

Paints-His-Shirt speaks English, he just does this to aggravate me.

Says he's got enough bear claws.

Hold that.

What's your name?


Your Christian name?


You've learned well, pilgrim. You'll go far.

Providing you ain't burnt alive or scalped.

I will do my best.

You can cut wood and leave it up on the Judith.

Riverboat captains will leave you gold if you put out a pouch.

Good thing to know…

…if times get hard.

Watch your topknot.

Yes. Watch yours.

I told you not to go play outside. You got yourself all dirty…

…and also, young lady…

…without your shoes.

And you, Josh…


Look at you! There, now!

Mary Lou, you knew better than to go out in the sun…

Have I told you not to go out…

…without a bonnet on your head?

You better stop there.

Woman, I am your friend.

We have graves to dig.

You were borne on the wind today.

Josh was being a bad boy. I must tell your father.

Time to start the garden.

If the wind would stop.

We will now sing.

Shall we gather at the river Where bright angel feet have trod With its crystal tide forever Flowing by the throne of God Yes, we'll gather at the river The beautiful, the beautiful river Gather with the saints at the river That flows by the throne of God

Boy, did you see all this?

Better get one of these biscuits, boy.

I make damn good biscuits.

Here's food.

I could not find your husband anywhere, ma'am.

So, maybe he will come back here.

The Indians will not bother you now, on account of…

…you are touched.

They will be afraid.

What about the boy?

Maybe you and the boy best come with me now.

I will take you down to the Judith. Put you on a ferry.

Take him.

What? Take him!

Ma'am, I wouldn't know how to tend after…

You got a name, boy?


I will call you Caleb.

It is a name I have always admired.

You like that? Caleb?

Do what you like. I was much the same myself.


Are you all right?

Sure, I got a fine horse under me!

Got one of them feathers in my nose.

Keep sneezing, it'll come out all right.

Haven't seen anyone pass by recently, have you?

Nobody's gone in front of me.

Can't say what's happened behind me though.

The Injuns put you here?

It weren't Mormons.

A chief, name of Mad Wolf. Nice fellow, don't talk a hell of a lot.

You wouldn't have an extra hat on you, would you?

Shade's getting scarce in these parts.

Why did you shave your head?

Mad Wolf figures like every other Injun I know.

Says this scalp ain't fit for no decent man's lodgepole.

Ain't the first time I protected my head in such a way.

Name's Del Gue.

With an "E."

When did they come through? A few hours ago.

I will be happy to see my horse. I hate walking.

I knew you would help me get my pelts back.

I wouldn't leave a man without a horse or gun.

Ain't that Hatchet Jack's rifle?


How did you get it?

I found him, froze to a tree.


That Hatchet Jack was a wild one.

He was living with a female panther.

Two years in a cave up in the Musselshell.

She never did get used to him.

That be them.

How many you figure? Three.

Just like before.

Are you smelling them Blackfeet?

No, I'm locating my horse. Dirtiest animal this side of hell.

Come dark, you give me your pistol. Load that bear rifle full of nails.

No. I got no truck with them Blackfeet.

I plan to be here a long time. I do not want them down on me.

Them critters hammered me into the ground. Took my rifle, horse.

Stole my pelts. Not to mention what they done to that boy's folks!

Then let it pass?


But they'll be asleep soon.

Should be no trouble to slip in there and then get your possibles.

Use this blanket, boy.

To keep you warm.

He don't say a lot, does he?





Stay here with the animals.


I am Del Gue!

I can whip my weight in wolverines…

…straight through a crab apple orchard on a flash of lightning!

You've stolen my pelts!

And die, you must!

You skinheaded son of a bitch, you almost got me killed!

Where are you going?

Don't you want any of these?




Mother Gue never raised such a foolish child.

Stop that, boy.

What do you do with the scalps? Sell them to the English.


London is wallpapered with Injun scalps.

Let's pull into those trees. Don't go getting hasty.

Them is Flatheads, and they've hurt nobody that I know.

Just hold back.

What's he saying? Says they're Blackfeet ponies.

He asks if you are the great warrior…

…who avenges the Crazy Woman in the Wolf Tail Valley.

She's big medicine.

And so are you, if you are that man.

So what's he shouting for? Scared of you.

But how did you…? I didn't know they'd be Flatheads.

It's all right, boy.

Chief here is named Two-Tongues Lebeaux.

Mighty educated too.

French missionaries taught him their language.

Christian Indians? Lots of them.

He says the scalps are fierce and the horses are fleet.

Take them.

Take them. And the ponies. I have no further use for them.

Damn fool, you may have cooked our brains!


He brought us here to honor you and you want to give him a gift.

If he cannot give you a better one, it'll be an insult.

What's so funny?

The danger is over.

He has thought of a better gift.

His daughter. Huh?

Now you have a son, you need a wife.

I don't want no wife... He says he'll be very happy.

Uh… Um… What is that word? Oh, yes!

He may read the Bible, but he's still an Injun.

And his rules is his rules.

If you value your hair, you will get married!

Del Gue, I do not think this is funny.

It ain't.

When you leave, you can take her to Fort Hawley and sell her.

But you best take her, friend.

Besides, maybe she ain't near bad.

He says she's called The Swan, but she'll answer to anything you want.

But maybe you need her.

You turn down this gift, they'll slit you, me, Caleb and the horses…

…from crotch to eyeball with a dull deer antler!

Pleased to make your acquaintance, Mrs. Johnson.

Your husband has told me so much about you.

Congratulations, Two-Tongues. Wonderful wedding.

Bye, Jeremiah Johnson! Where are you going?

I wouldn't want to disturb your wedding night.

I'll see you in the fall.

Have a nice honeymoon, Mrs. Johnson.

Hyah! Hyah!

Do you speak any English?

I don't speak any Flathead.

So don't bother me, neither of you!

Wondering about something?

Go ahead, ask.

Ah. Leave it be.

Nothing wrong with quiet.

Cooking sure don't smell like Bear Claw's.

Tie him off, boy.


Go on, boy, and eat. It's good for you.


I'm full.

You religious too?


I'm not going to harm you.




I'm not going to harm you.





Ain't that a lot easier than saying all that gibberish?


Great hunter.


Yes. Yeah.

Fine figure of a man, yes?


Yes. That is all you need to know. For now.

You getting enough, boy?


This wasn't my idea, you know?


This'll do.

River in front, cliffs behind.

Good water. Not much wind.

This will be a good place to live.


Yeah. Going for the Musselshell.

It'd take me a week's riding. And he'll be there in… Hell, he's there already.

Uh. I wish you would see fit to stop the practicing of these ceremonies.


Caleb, take notice of the traps and go fetch some proper food.

And keep your nose open, there may be Indians about.

Be going for buffalo soon.

No, you'll stay here.

Here. Go on, fetch the rest of that wood.


Swan, I cannot stand this weight.

Well… It will have to do.


It will keep me warm in the strong wind.

And the rain will not pass through neither.

Thank you.

You have beaver scent?

What happened to your face?

Huh? My beard?

Watch this.



Careful, that'll take your hand off.

Put that smell down.

Won't come around without the smell.

Hell, don't run off. It's me.


Skin this.

Troop, halt!


I'm Lieutenant Mulvey, Third Cavalry.

That's Reverend Lindquist.

We've been watched since we started to climb up from the Gila.

Who are they, Flathead?

I said, are they Flathead?

Did I say something? No.

It's been a long time…

…since I had…

…so much of the English language spoke at me.

I ain't used to it.


This is Crow land.

This is the Department of Colorado.

Yeah. You're on good terms with them.


Who gave you that idea?

People talk about it down below.

You live up here.

I do that.

And you know the high country.

Do you know Feather Mesa?

I do. So?

We have wagons there. Three of them.

Broke down in the snow and ice.

We got to get them out of there before they freeze.

Or the Indians get them.

Would be wise.

We were told that you would know how to get there.

Through those passes.

We were hoping that maybe…

These are Christian families.

Christian women and children, starving.

Do you mean that you intend to let those people die?

How's the war going?

Which war?

One against the President of Mexico.

It's over.

Who won?

Whoa. Did you hear something?

Can't go through here.

Why not?

Crow burial ground. Sacred.

We'll have to turn around and head east. How far east?

Next pass.

Twenty… 20 miles or so.

Those people are waiting for us! They're freezing, hungry and scared.

Crow only come with medicine men and burying parties!

We are not Crows! What would happen?

I don't know.

I don't know.

This is big medicine. They guard it with spirits.

You don't believe that.

It doesn't matter. They do.

You've been up here too long, believing in this!

What chance would I have finding a way through, just by riding west?

Poor chance. Or none.

Thanks all the same, Johnson, but we're riding through.

Sergeant! Prepare to move!

You won't make it.

You have to hunt, you said.

I have to try.

Tell your men to keep behind me in single file.

Tell them to go slow and stay quiet.

Sergeant! Sir.

Single file, slowly.

Yes, sir.

Keep them quiet.

Well, we seem to have escaped.

How long have you been carrying your squaw?

Johnson I can't thank you... Better move'em out fast.

Crow don't take kindly to trespassing.



Where's your mule that kicks holes in the sky and shakes off its saddle?

Where's your slavering wolf of the rolling prairie?

Here's your old grizzer brown bear can clobber bark off a gum tree.

There's a man for you, Jeremiah Johnson.

I'm half horse, half gator, and a touch of the earthquake.

I got the prettiest gal, fastest horse…

…ugliest dog this side of hell.

I can outjump, outrun, throw down…

…drag out and whip any man in all Kentucky.

How you been, Jeremiah?

Staying alive, Del. Ain't that hair I see on your head?

It sure is.

I've decided that when I depart from this life, I'd leave something.

At least to be remembered on some man's lodgepole.

Sound wisdom.

Where you headed? Same place you are, Jeremiah.

Hell in the end.

With all them Injuns after you, I cannot brag about your campsite.

You got old and scary since you growed hair on your head?

What ever happened to that boy? The one that didn't talk much?

Never did take him to Hawley.

Stayed with that Injun gal all this time?

She wasn't no trouble.

Just like this, one at a time?

You're lucky they were Crows.

Apaches would send 50 at once.

Amongst Injuns…

…a tribe's greatness is figured on how mighty its enemies be.

Maybe… Maybe you'd best go down to a town…

…get out of these mountains.

I've been to a town, Del.

Which way now?

Don't know.

I hear the Big Belt in the Blue has beavers the size of bobcats.

That so?

I ain't never trapped either…

…but sure would like to.

Jeremiah... You will do well, Del.

You will do well.

If you don't get in too much trouble with all that hair.

Ain't this something?

I told my pap and mam I was coming to the mountains…

…to trap and be a mountain man.

Acted like they was gut-shot.

Says: "Son…

…make your life go here. Here's where the people is.

Them mountains is for animals and savages!"

I said: "Mother Gue…

…the Rocky Mountains is the marrow of the world."

And by God, I was right.

Yes, you were.

Which way you headed, Jeremiah?

Canada, maybe.

I hear there's land there a man has never seen.

Keep your nose in the wind…

…your eyes along the skyline.

I will do that, Del Gue.

I ain't never seen them, but my common sense tells me…

…the Andes is foothills, and the Alps is for children to climb.

Keep good care of your hair!

These here are God's finest sculpturings…

…and there ain't no laws for the brave ones!

And there ain't no asylums for the crazy ones!

And there ain't no churches except this right here.

And there ain't no priests…

…excepting the birds!

I are a mountain man! And I'll live until an arrow or bullet finds me.

And then I'll leave my bones…

…on this great map of the magnificent…

Right here, mister.

Where's the crazy woman?

She's gone.

Walk over this way.

Gone where?


One of them mounds.

Who are you?

My name's Qualen.

I'm a settler.


What are you going to do?

I do it when Indians are coming.

You're him.

Ain't you him?

What's this?

It's for you.

If you be Johnson.

A might early, ain't they?

It ain't a grave like the other.

More like a statue or a monument.

We never see them.

We never even hear them.

We look and there's a new piece of bone or hide, or something's been left.

So we know they've been here.

Some say you're dead on account of this.

Others say you never will be on account of this.

It won't save anything.


Sending them out to hide in the corncrib.

What's on the spit?

Grown particular?

Not about feeding.

Just the company I keep.

Thank you kindly.

You've come far, pilgrim.

Feels like far.

Was it worth the trouble?

What trouble?

You cook good rabbit, pilgrim.

Cold up here.

What brings you up so high? Griz.

Ah, griz.

Avalanche took the cabin.

Lost my mule.

We swum out of it.

But no matter.

Weren't no griz left anyway.

Would you happen to know what month of the year it is?

No, I truly wouldn't.

I'm sorry, pilgrim.


Maybe April.

March, maybe.

I don't believe April.

Winter's a long time going?


Stays long this high.

March is a green, muddy month down below.

Some folks like it.

Farmers mostly.

You have done well to keep so much hair…

…when so many are after it.

I hope you will fare well.