ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Jerimiah Johnson (1972)

Updated on July 4, 2016


Beneath The Skin

Robert Redford as Jerimiah Johnson
Robert Redford as Jerimiah Johnson

Unexpectedly, a few films you watch get under your skin and nestle there for what may turn out to be a lifetime. The film Jeremiah Johnson, filmed in 1972, staring Robert Redford, and directed by Sydney Pollack was of this sort. I recall first seeing the film in a tiny, tiny art house somewhere on the west side of Los Angeles. The "screen" couldn't have been wider than 50 inches. The audience seated maybe 40 people. Despite these limitations, the screen capture was amazingly bright and clear. The audience, consisting mostly of students and teachers from UCLA were properly quiet and seemed pulled into the film to an extent that maybe rivaled my own.

I remember the audience applauded at the conclusion of the movie -- something almost unimaginable in most theaters today.

It Ought To Have Been Different

Will Geer as Bear Claw
Will Geer as Bear Claw

Whenever VHS video tapes became available, I bought a copy, and, over a period of years, watched the flick many times. Something about the film resonated within my psyche. I'm not going to do a movie review, as you can find this elsewhere. A short recap would include: A disenfranchised army soldier decides to make a complete break with humanity and live off his own ingenuity and tenacity up in the Rocky Mountains. Therein he meets other mountain men and a few significant others, not the least of which include a tribe of Blackfeet Indians -- who first off get along fine with Jeremiah, but after he trespasses on their sacred burial ground, they are stubbornly determined to destroy him.

Where Can I Find Bear, Beaver and Other Critters Worth Cash Money When Skinned?

Robert Redford
Robert Redford

The film is part action-adventure while another part is about the spiritual quest of a man seeking his place in this world.

It is this second aspect that has resonated with me throughout the years.

The film is powerful in its ability to capture individualism and isolation. The snowy peaks of Utah in contrast to a single "pilgrim" create an overwhelming sense of the sheer beauty and difficulty of attempting to survive under these conditions.

The motion picture is at times ironic, sometimes downright hilarious, sometimes tragic, sometimes exhibiting a man (who could be any of us) at the limits of his endurance. If somehow you haven't seen the movie, be sure to put it on your list because it stands head and shoulders above anything approaching its kind.

The Wanderer

Robert Redford
Robert Redford

For me, the film illuminates that lonely wanderer inside all of us -- and it does so with dignity, respect and a good measure of humor.

The cinematography is spectacular. The depiction of early American Indian tribes is educational, as is the obscure existences of a handful of mountain men who attempted a sustained existence by fishing, trapping and shooting wildlife in some of the most rugged (yet beautiful) terrain that exists in North America.

A Lonely Life

Robert Redford
Robert Redford

Watching Jeremiah Johnson is a kind of journey. Sydney Pollock does an amazing job of blending the mythic aspects of the early west's mountain men with a factual depiction of how non-glamorous such an existence must have been.


Director, Sydney Polock
Director, Sydney Polock

Grasping the Role

Redford is perfectly suited to play the main role. I think he has about 30 lines in the entire film. He has to convey a variety of emotions with body language and facial expressions, and he does this amazingly well. Redford, throughout his career, always took on interesting characters, not just handsome cavaliers. This film demonstrates his seriousness as an actor and to take on roles that completely camouflage his natural handsomeness.

Robert Redford
Robert Redford

Lastly, the soundtrack matches the visuals and overall "feel" of the film as well as I can imagine.

This film would comfortfully fit within the top 25 favorites on my list.

Movie Trailer

Available on Blu-Ray DVD

For those who are so inclined, the film has recently become available on Blu-Ray DVD.

Lyrics to the Jerimiah Johnson Song

My source for this entry ironically came from:

Jeremiah Johnson made his way into the mountains
Bettin' on forgettin' all the troubles that he knew
The trail was wide and narrow
And the eagle or the sparrow
Showed the path he was to follow as they flew.
A mountain man's a lonely man
And he leaves a life behind
It ought to have been different, but oftimes you will find,
That the story doesn't always go that way you had in mind.
Jeremiah's story was that kind. . .
Jeremiah's story was that kind.
The way that you wander is the way that you choose,
The day that you tarry is the day that you lose.
Sunshine or thunder, a man will always wonder.
Where the fair wind blows.
An Indian says you search in vain for what you cannot find.
He says you'll find a thousand ways for runnin' down your time.
An Indian didn't scream it, he said it in a song,
And he's never been known to be wrong.
He's never been known to be wrong.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 

      7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Great hub. This is one of my favourite films of all time. I am going to watch it again today after reading your hub. Thank you.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)