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 date
  • 1971 (1971)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Man in the Wilderness is a 1971 American revisionist Western 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.[1]

The expedition in the movie is notable for bringing a large boat with them, borne on wheels.


A classic survival story, told partly through flashbacks to Zachary Bass's past. After being left 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 near Covaleda, Province of Soria, 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 where David Lean had shot some of the scenes for Doctor Zhivago in 1964.

John Huston had joined this production a few days after he had quit as director for the film, The Last Run, due to on-set fights with George C. Scott.


Though survival and revenge are the main themes, Christianity and religion play a significant role in the evolution of the main character. Through flashbacks, Zach Bass is shown to be at odds with religion and God in general. This was brought on by his lonely and abusive childhood in indoctrinating Christianity into the young Zachary.


The film was theatrically released in the United States on November 24, 1971, including New York City, New York and Los Angeles, California.

The film was the first feature to be shown in years at the newly refurbished Princess Theatre (renamed the Klondike Theatre, at the time) in Edmonton, Canada on December 25, 1971.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Howard Thompson (November 25, 1971). "Movie Review: Man in the Wilderness (1971)". Film: The Pioneer Spirit:' Man in the Wilderness' Is at Loew's State 1. The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2016. 
  2. ^ "MAN IN THE WILDERNESS (1971)". Motion State Review. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 

External links[edit]