Liver-Eating Johnson Escapes! 40 x 32" Print
Ultra Limited Edition (5 total) Liver-Eating Johnson Escapes! 40 x 32 inch print on elegant 310 gsm matte paper with a half inch border.
Each print is signed, numbered and includes a certificate of authenticity.
Free pick up or delivery for Livingston MT residents (or transients). Enter the discount code LOCAL at checkout.
In recent years, the legacy surrounding the myriad of colorful characters comprising the history of the West has rightly come under no small amount of moral scrutiny. Those who once inhabited our collective imagination as folk heroes, are now seen as devastating symbols of colonization and prominent examples of western civilization’s destructive and savage nature. Amongst many contenders, there is perhaps no 19th century figure more prone to contemporary controversy than John “Liver-Eating” Johnson, the famed mountain man who had a life long blood feud with the Crow Indians, earning his handle by literally eating the livers of slain members of the tribe.
Johnson gained much more notoriety for his unsettling history than his other exploits, which were practically erased from the public’s memory. Today, many people learn of fellow mountain man John Colter’s naked escape from the Blackfeet Tribe, but Liver-Eating Johnson found himself in an identical situation, except, as he would recount over and over again, “I had to do in the winter!” Later in life, Johnson became obsessed with discrediting Colter’s escape and drawing more attention to his own much frostier adventure. “Isn’t it convenient nobody ever mentions what season it was when that happened to Colter?” he was known to lament.
To most mountain men, whose lives were a collection of hair-raising adventures and near death experiences, the advent of cinema had little to offer as far as entertainment was concerned. Johnson, on the other hand, was particularly influenced by Wyatt Earp’s ability to collaborate with Hollywood and retell his story the way he thought it ought to be told. While Tinseltown had to wait long after the death of figures like Hugh Glass to tell their story, Johnson eagerly answered the call from the “far west.” Johnson was adamant that his naked snowy escape be captured on celluloid and championed hard for Robert Redford to portray him in the film. Spokespeople from the Crow, Blackfoot and Flathead tribes, in addition to other surviving mountain men at the time, unanimously lamented the decision to have “pretty boy” Bob Redford play such a robust and contentious figure from their past, but old Liver-Eating Johnson remained convinced. “I know a lot of those fellows would rather someone like James Garner, or George Kennedy play me, and I respect that, but Bob Redford has the best body out of all the men in Hollywood at this time.” Johnson was so invested in the naked escape scene that finding the best actor for that chapter of his history was his priority. He was quick to reject performers like Tab Hunter and Rock Hudson, even though he “knew they [had] great bodies, but they’re not natural. Bob looks just as good as Rock or Tab without his shirt, but it doesn’t look like he spends all day in the gym!” Johnson’s relationship with Hollywood was eventually severed when the naked winter escape was unceremoniously cut from the film due to the nation’s unwillingness to see a picture with full frontal male nudity. “It’s the worst thing to ever happen to anyone in America,” the Crow Killer said. He withdrew his support from the project, and for legal reasons, the producers were forced to retitle the film “Jeremiah Johnson.”