Hugh Glass Bear Battle and Dinosaur Cowboy
Lemmon, South Dakota
Scrap metal sculptor John Lopez lives in the small town of Lemmon. Although his art can be seen elsewhere in South Dakota (such as here and here) he had never made a sculpture of his hometown's most famous moment: the battle between frontiersman Hugh Glass and a grizzly bear.
"I'd been toying around with the idea for a while," said John, before the looming release of the film The Revenant gave him the necessary kick in the pants. That was in early 2015. By August, John had the sculpture complete: a half-ton of iron and steel showing the moment when the murderous bear is about to maul Hugh Glass. "I tried to make the bear more powerful, lunging for the kill," said John. "Not like some cheesy Hollywood bear." Glass is bent backward against a spindly tree. Despite his upraised knife it appears that the frenzied bear will win. "It's not looking good," said John.
Surprisingly, Glass survived (as noted at the mauling site monument south of town), which eventually made him a good choice for an Oscar-caliber movie. The film's director chose to stage the bear battle in a location that looks nothing like the area around Lemmon, but John (and the town) are okay with that. "Artist's choice," said John. "We're thrilled."