Hugh Glass Monument.
Hugh Glass Monument.

Hugh Glass Mauled by Bear Here

Field review by the editors.

Shadehill, South Dakota

In 1823, Hugh Glass was part of an expedition traveling through the plains near what is now the town of Lemmon. He was attacked by a grizzly bear, which slashed him from head to foot. While the rest of the party moved on, two of its members, John Fitzgerald and young Jim Bridger, were left to tend to Glass. Instead, they took Glass's gun and gear and left him to die.

Lonely monument.

When Glass came out of his coma, he was alone on a desolate plain, with maggots eating the rot in his back. His leg was broken, so he had to crawl 200 miles to Fort Kiowa and safety. Fever and infection took their toll and frequently rendered him unconscious. The trip took more than two months.

Glass eventually caught up with Fitzgerald and Bridger, but Fitzgerald had joined the Army and was untouchable, and Bridger was spared by Glass in a gesture of unexpected kindness. Bridger went on to become one of the most famous mountain men, trappers, and scouts in the U.S. -- a legendary name in the Old West. Glass remained a nobody, and Fate rewarded his compassion by having him killed in an Indian ambush a few years later.

A lonely monument marks the spot where Glass was attacked, standing at the end of a winding, unpaved road on a bluff near Shadehill, south of Lemmon, overlooking a man-made lake. The open grave that Fitzgerald and Bridger had dug for Glass was said to still be visible before water covered it in 1951.

Update: in August 2015, spurred by the pending release of the film "The Revenant," sculptor John Lopez unveiled a larger-than-life junk sculpture of Hugh Glass battling the bear. It's in nearby Lemmon.

Also see: Men Vs. Bears

Hugh Glass Mauled by Bear Here

Hugh Glass Recreation Area

Address:
Pasture 8 Rd, Shadehill, SD
Directions:
From Lemmon, South Dakota, drive south on Hwy 73 about 13 miles. Turn right (west) onto Hugh Glass Rd (unpaved). Drive about 3.5 miles; the monument will be on the right, at the end of a little pull-off, overlooking Shadehill Reservoir.
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Hugh Glass Bear Battle and Dinosaur CowboyHugh Glass Bear Battle and Dinosaur Cowboy, Lemmon, SD - 14 mi.
Scrap Metal Bronco BusterScrap Metal Bronco Buster, Lemmon, SD - 14 mi.
Petrified Wood ParkPetrified Wood Park, Lemmon, SD - 14 mi.
In the region:
The Enchanted Castle, Regent, ND - 49 mi.

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May 28, 2016

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