In Memory of Stefan Gierasch

13 Jan

The latest edition of Cowboys & Indians magazine has arrived with sad news. September saw the death of Stefan Gierasch, who played Del Gue in Jeremiah Johnson.Stefan

Gierasch created a great representation of mountain men as he showed Robert Redford the ways of survival in the mountains. At the end of the movie, Del and Jeremiah were saying their goodbyes, and Gierasch spoke the lines that epitomize the thinking of mountain men – both real and imagined. He said:

Ain’t this somethin’? I told my pap and mam I was comin’ to the mountains to trap and be a mountain man; acted like they was gut-shot. Says, “Son, make your life go here, son. Here’s where the peoples is. Them mountains is for animals and savages.” I says, “Mother Gue, the Rocky Mountains is the marrow of the world,” and by God, I was right.

As the two men parted ways, he continued:

I ain’t never seen ’em, 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 is God’s finest scupturings! 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 for this right here! And there ain’t no priests excepting the birds. By God, I are a mountain man, and I’ll live ’til an arrow or a bullet finds me. And then I’ll leave my bones on this great map of the magnificent…

Geirasch appeared in several productions that I have watched – The Hustler, High Plains Drifter, Carrie, Silver Streak, and The Champ. However, he will live in my mind as the crusty mountain man, Del Gue.

Rest in Peace, Stefan Gierasch. As Del Gue, you said, “I decided that when I depart from this life I’d like to leave something.” You left a great performance in one of the great movies.

8 Responses to “In Memory of Stefan Gierasch”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong January 13, 2015 at 03:11 #

    Funny. After reading your post the other day, we watch Jeremiah Johnson yesterday. He was a great character and it was a great movie.

    • Rick January 13, 2015 at 03:17 #

      It is an awesome movie. I like all of the characters, and Del Gue is near the top of the list.

      • Marilyn Armstrong January 13, 2015 at 03:30 #

        Garry and I were talking about why it is so good and why it has stood the test of time. We finally decided it wasn’t one thing … it was that everything fits together. The music, the cinematography, the pacing, the story. Like a good set of gears.

      • Rick January 13, 2015 at 04:33 #

        It’s a complete movie. I can’t think of anything wrong with it.

  2. jcalberta January 13, 2015 at 07:51 #

    A gem. A joy. A Classic.
    If I’m flipping channels and I hit JJ I can’t help myself … I gotta watch it. For the hundredth time. One of My Favorites.

    • Rick January 13, 2015 at 13:07 #

      It’s one of the all time greats.

  3. Randall Poore July 18, 2020 at 20:02 #

    I know this is way late but…Thanks for your posting and comments. “In Memory of Stefan Gierasch” He was a great actor and Jeremiah Johnson is one of my all-time favorites. We would watch it many times at our cabin in Northern Minnesota when it was raining or too cold to go out. Just recently watched the movie (again!) and wondered about “Del Gue” and the actor behind the character. His lines as you quoted are very interesting and heart-warming to me and so well written. “They don’t make them like that anymore” sure fits movies these days. Many thanks for recognizing him. RJP.

    • Rick July 18, 2020 at 22:34 #

      Thank you for commenting. It is one of the all time great movies, and Del Gue is one of the all time great characters.

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