They Say He Wanted to Be a Mountain Man

17 Mar

Jeremiah Johnson is one of my all-time favorite movies. I have watched it so many times that I know what the characters are going to say before they say it. The movie is great on many levels. It has a great story, great scenery and great music. It is the music part that inspired this post.

I have wanted to soundtrack for a long time, but everything I have found is lacking. The music is there but not the words. To me, the narration of Jeremiah Johnson is one of the vital aspects of the movie. The music without the words is missing something.

A couple of weeks ago, I found a copy of the original soundtrack on the Internet and ordered it immediately. Honestly, I paid too much, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. A few days ago, the CD arrived.image

It is more awesome than I thought it would be. It has music, narration and dialogue. Now, I can turn on the old iPod and hear Jeremiah and Bear Claw talking over the spit. Never fear, all of this great stuff has already been uploaded onto the iPod.

The liner notes are also cool and contain details about the people who were involved in the making of the film. There is one part of it that I found very interesting. Some of the people involved felt that Robert Redford played the character in too spiritual of a fashion, and that is something that I have also felt.

A mountain man had a job to do, and that job was to kill animals for large fur companies. They were not there to become one with nature. In Jeremiah Johnson, the main character does a lot of soul-searching and little trapping. He was also a loner, and, from what I have read, mountain men worked in groups.

I have also read that the character of Jeremiah Johnson was based on John “Liver-Eating” Johnson, a mountain man who killed Native Americans to avenge the murder of his wife. As the story goes, he cut out and ate the liver of everyone he killed.

The real Johnson is buried in Cody, Wyoming, and, when I was a kid, we visited his gravesite.

Jeremiah Johnson misses out on a lot of historical accuracy, but it is still a great movie. It may not be accurate, but it is entertaining. That is what I expect from a movie. Oh, there is one final thing. As Del Gue says, “Keep your nose in the wind and your eye along the skyline.”

13 Responses to “They Say He Wanted to Be a Mountain Man”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong March 17, 2014 at 02:49 #

    This is one of our favorites. Garry especially. Maybe Jeremiah Johnson didn’t have a “become one with nature” epiphany, but Robert Redford did. This is what inspired him to buy Sundance and take up ranching etc. etc. The movie was a personal turning point for him. He fell in love and never fell out. Print the legend!

    I envy you that soundtrack!

    • Rick March 17, 2014 at 02:55 #

      It definitely helped Redford fall in love with the land. I’m thinking he may have already owned some of the filming locations. I forgot to mention that the Judith River mentioned in the movie is real. It’s in Montana.

      • Marilyn Armstrong March 17, 2014 at 02:59 #

        Garry is better with the timeline than I am. I know Redford ranch was used for a bunch of movies since and when Redford makes a western, he rides his own horses. Trains them, too.” Did all his own riding (or so I understand) on “Electric Horseman.” Was a very good rider. I expect not any more. He’s pretty long in the tooth these days.

  2. Marilyn Armstrong March 17, 2014 at 02:50 #

  3. jcalberta March 17, 2014 at 15:12 #

    The music IS great. They have a free App for YouTube whereby you can download sound (not all permit it) from their videos (MP3) – and it sounds good to me.
    Pollack and Redford had a heck of time making that movie as it was one of the most brutal winters in quite a while up there in the mountains. But the studio had initially wanted them to film it on the back lot. Really!! Redford said NO.
    I had initially challenged Redford in the casting as Johnson – thot they outta find somebody more rugged. But he does a great job.
    Yep …. It’s a classic.

    • Rick March 17, 2014 at 15:21 #

      Thanks for the reblog. At first, a more rugged actor would seem appropriate. In fact, I read the Clint Eastwood was the first choice. However, I can’t imagine anyone besides Redford being Jeremiah Johnson.

  4. jcalberta March 17, 2014 at 15:14 #

    Reblogged this on My Favorite Westerns and commented:
    This is one of MY FAVORITE WESTERNS … a Classic.
    Nice write up Rick !!

  5. Septian Online March 19, 2014 at 15:00 #

    Reblogged this on Septian Online.

  6. Garry Armstrong April 13, 2014 at 20:57 #

    Just catching up to this one. “Johnson” is one of my favorite westerns. Think it may be a little underrated coming early in Redford’s career when many still considered him just a pretty face. The Redford-Pollack team was just coming into its own. I absolutely loved Tim McIntire’s music. Son of veteran character actors John McIntire and Janette Nolan, Tim died way too young. Tim worked again with Redford in “Brubaker” in an acting role. “Jeremiah Johnson” is a gritty film that still works.

    • Rick April 13, 2014 at 21:23 #

      It’s one of my favorites. I think Westerns like this one get overlooked because they aren’t “cowboy” movies. Teaching history, I get a lot of surprised looks when I say that not everyone in the West wore cowboy hats.


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    […] still has the songs that were there before, but I cannot add any cool new stuff. You know, like the Jeremiah Johnson soundtrack that I bragged about the other day. Hopefully, my nephew can fix it when he comes back […]

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