Man in the Wilderness

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Man in the Wilderness
Man in the wilderness.jpg
Promotional poster for the film
Directed by Richard C. Sarafian
Produced by Sandy Howard
Written by Jack DeWitt
Starring Richard Harris
John Huston
Prunella Ransome
Percy Herbert
Henry Wilcoxon
Norman Rossington
Dennis Waterman
Music by Johnny Harris
Cinematography Gerry Fisher
Edited by Geoffrey Foot
Release dates
  • 1971 (1971)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Man in the Wilderness is a 1971 American action film about a scout for a group of mountain men who are traversing the Northwestern United States during the 1820s. The scout is mauled by a bear and left to die by his companions. He survives and recuperates sufficiently to track his former comrades, forcing a confrontation over his abandonment. The story is loosely based on the life of Hugh Glass. It stars Richard Harris as Zachary Bass and John Huston as Captain Henry.

The expedition is notable in the movie for bringing a large boat with them, borne on wheels. Captain Henry's aim of using the boat to traverse the rivers (possibly the Missouri or the Platte) comes to naught in the final scene, when the expedition comes across the drained riverbed.


A classic survival story, told partly through flashbacks to Zachary Bass's past. After being abandoned for dead by his fellow trappers, he undergoes a series of trials and adventures as he slowly heals and equips himself while he tracks the expedition, apparently intent on retribution for his abandonment, while earning the respect of the Indians he encounters. However, when he finally confronts his fellow trappers and Captain Henry, he chooses not to seek revenge, but instead to focus on returning to his infant son.

Production background[edit]

Man in the Wilderness is based loosely on the 1818-20 Missouri Expedition and "Capt. Henry" is likely a fictionalized Major Andrew Henry of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. The film was shot in Andalusia, Spain, with the terrain looking more like the Adirondack wilderness and less like the Absaroka country of the Yellowstone River. Not technically a "Spaghetti Western", Man was filmed in the rugged highlands near the desert-like Spanish terrain seen in many of Sergio Leone's Italo westerns.

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