Robert Redford plays Johnson, the former soldier of the title who becomes a mountain-trapper in Utah in the 1850s after the Mexican-American war, surviving Indians, a wild winter and other trappers as well as trapping bear, fish and an Indian wife.
He’s fed up with civilization and decides to go into the wilds to escape the responsibilities of society. Of course, he can’t do that and he has a hard lesson to learn amidst the deceptively grand and beautiful mountain country.
John Milius’ script is strong and realistic but it doesn’t quite know where to stop and is ultimately too long.
The film is based on a real-life trapper named John Johnston, nicknamed “Crow Killer” and “Liver Eater Johnston” for his penchant for cutting out and eating the livers of Crow Indians he had killed (several Crows had murdered his wife and he swore vengeance against the entire tribe).
Paints His Shirt Red
Allyn Ann McLerie
Chief Two-Tongues Lebeaux