Jeremiah Johnson

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Jeremiah Johnson (1972) is a film about how a man, weary of civilization, enters the Rocky Mountains around the middle of the 19th century to become a lone mountain man. Yet civilization catches up with him and he finds himself between all fronts...

Jeremiah Johnson

  • [Caleb is crying] Stop that, cheese!
  • [Jeremiah and Caleb see a bird flying across the sky] Hawk. Goin' for the Musselshell. Take me a week's ridin', and he'll be there in... hell, he's there already.

Bear Claw Chris Lapp

  • You're the same dumb pilgrim who I've been hearing for twenty days, and smellin' for three!
  • I am Bear Claw Chris Lapp; bloodkin to the grizzer that bit Jim Bridger's ass! YOU are molesting my hunt!
  • [Bear Claw has found Jeremiah half starved and freezing] Heh, heh, heh. How come you ain't been scalped?

Del Gue

  • [to Jeremiah] You turn down this gift, and they'll slit you, me, Caleb and the horses from crotch to eyeball with a dull deer antler!

Hatchet Jack

  • [note on Hatchet Jack] I, Hatchet Jack, being of sound mind and broke legs, do hereby leaveth my bear rifle to whatever finds it, Lord hope it be a white man. It is a good rifle, and killt the bear that killt me. Anyway, I am dead. Yours truly, Hatchet Jack.


  • His name was Jeremiah Johnson, and they say he wanted to be a mountain man. The story goes that he was a man of proper wit and adventurous spirit, suited to the mountains. Nobody knows where abouts he come from and don't seem to matter much. He was a young man and ghosty stories about the tall hills didn't scare him none. He was looking for a Hawken gun, .50 caliber or better. He settled for a .30, but damn, it was a genuine Hawken, and you couldn't go no better. Bought him a good horse, and traps, and other truck that went with being a mountain man, and said good-bye to whatever life was down there below.


Jeremiah Johnson: Where you headed?
Del Gue: Same place you are, Jeremiah: hell, in the end.

[Jeremiah and Bear Claw hunt elk]
Jeremiah Johnson: Wind's right, but he'll just run soon as we step out of these trees.
Bear Claw Chris Lapp: Trick to it. Walk out on this side of your horse.
Jeremiah Johnson: What if he sees our feet?
Bear Claw Chris Lapp: Elk don't know how many feet a horse has!

Jeremiah Johnson: Just where is it I could find bear, beaver, and other critters worth cash money when skinned?
Robidoux: Ride due west as the sun sets. Turn left at the Rocky Mountains.

[Jeremiah and Caleb find Del Gue buried to his neck in sand]
Jeremiah Johnson: Are you all right?
'Del Gue: what do you think?![sneezes] Got one of them feathers in my nose.
Jeremiah Johnson: You keep sneezing, it'll come out all right. Haven't seen anyone pass by recent, have you?
Del Gue: Nobody's gone in front of me. Can't say what's happened behind me, though.
Jeremiah Johnson: The Injuns put you here?
Del Gue: T'weren't Mormons. A Chief, name of Mad Wolf. Nice fella, don't talk a hell of a lot. Say, you wouldn't have an extra hat on you, would you? Shade's getting' scarce in these parts.
Jeremiah Johnson: What'd you shave your head for?
Del Gue: Mad Wolf figures like every other Injun I know. Says this scalp isn't fit for no decent man's lodgepole. Ain't the first time I've protected my head in such a way. Name's Del Gue, with an "e".

[Bear Claw and Jeremiah Johnson meet again after not seeing each other for a long time.]
Bear Claw: You've come far, pilgrim.
Jeremiah Johnson: Feels like far.
Bear Claw: Were it worth the trouble?
Jeremiah Johnson: [half-joking] Ha? What trouble?

Jeremiah Johnson: You will do well, Del. You will do well, if you don't get in too much trouble with all that hair.
Del Gue: Ain't this somethin'? I told my pap and mam I was coming to the mountains to trap and be a mountain man. Acted like they was gut-shot. Says, "son, make your life go here. Here's where the peoples is. Them mountains is for animals and savages." I said, "Mother Gue, the Rocky Mountains is the marrow of the world." And by God I was right.

Del Gue: I ain't never seen 'em, but my common sense tells me the Andes is foothills, and the Alps is for children to climb! Keep good care of your hair! These here is God's finest scupturings! And there ain't no laws for the brave ones! And there ain't no asylums for the crazy ones! And there ain't no churches, except for this right here! And there ain't no priests excepting the birds. By God, I are a mountain man, and I'll live 'til an arrow or a bullet finds me. And then I'll leave my bones on this great map of the magnificent . . .

Del Gue: Which way you headed, Jeremiah?
Jeremiah Johnson: Canada, maybe. I hear there is land there a man has never seen.
Del Gue: Well, keep your nose in the wind, and your eyes along the skyline.
Jeremiah Johnson: I will do that, Del Gue.

Jeremiah Johnson: Who are they?
Bear Claw Chris Lapp: Crow, most likely. This is their hunting ground, if they catch us, they'll steal our horses
[an arrow flies by Bear Claw's head and sticks in a tree]
Bear Claw Chris Lapp: Yep, Crow. Fella by the name of Paints-his-Shirt-Red. That's his sign.

[Jeremiah and Del have killed the Indians that stole Del's horse and gear]
Del Gue: Don't you want any of these?
Jeremiah Johnson: What?
Del Gue: Scalps!
Jeremiah Johnson: [Shaken by the incident] No.
Del Gue: Well, Mother Gue never raised such a foolish child!
[Pulls his knife and begins scalping the Indians]

[Del and Jeremiah have run into a Flathead scouting party]
Del Gue: He wants to know if you are the great warrior who avenges the crazy women that lives in the Wolf Tail Valley. She's big medicine and you are too, if you be that man.
Jeremiah Johnson: [the Indian begins talking in a very loud voice] Say, why's he yellin'?
Del Gue: Scared of ya.

[Jeremiah finds Del Gue buried in the sand]
Jeremiah Johnson: Indians put you here?
Del Gue: Well, it weren't Mormons. Blackfoot name of Mad Wolf; nice enough fellow, don't talk a whole hell of a lot.
Jeremiah Johnson: Why'd you shave your head?
Del Gue: Mad wolf, like most Indians, figures this scalp is no fit trophy for a man's lodge. That's not the first time I've saved my life in such a manner. Name's Del Gue. With an E.

Jeremiah Johnson: Y'ever get lonesome?
Bear Claw Chris Lapp: Fer what?
Jeremiah Johnson: Woman?
Bear Claw Chris Lapp: Full time night woman? I never could find no tracks on a woman's heart. I packed me a squaw for ten year, Pilgrim. Cheyenne, she were, and the meanest bitch that ever balled for beads. I lodge-poled her at Deadwood Creek, and traded her for a Hawken gun. But don't get me wrong; I loves the womens, I surely do. But I swear, a woman's breast is the hardest rock that the Almighty ever made on this earth, and I can find no sign on it.

Del Gue: Jeremiah, maybe you best go down to a town, get outta these mountains.
Jeremiah Johnson: I've been to a town Del.

Bear Claw Chris Lapp: You've come far pilgrim.
Jeremiah Johnson: Feels like far.
Bear Claw Chris Lapp: Were it worth the trouble?
Jeremiah Johnson: What trouble?

Bear Claw Chris Lapp: Can you skin Griz?
Jeremiah Johnson: I can skin'em as fast as you can catch'em.
[Bear Claw runs through the cabin with a huge Grizzly Bear close behind and jumps out the back window.]
Bear Claw Chris Lapp: Skin that one greenhorn and I'll get you another!

[Jeremiah has just killed a Crow warrior who has been stalking him]
Del Gue: Is it always like this? One at the time?
Jeremiah Johnson: Yep.
Del Gue: Lucky they were Crow. Apache would have sent fifty at once.

[Jeremiah is being forced by the Flathead chief to marry an Indian girl]
Jeremiah Johnson: Del Gue, I don't think this is a good idea.
Del Gue: He may be a Christian and talk white; but he's still an Indian and his rules is his rules. Now, when this is over you can take her to Fort Hawley and trade her, but you will get married my friend. Besides, maybe she ain't half bad.

[Bear Claw is talking to Paints-his-Shirt in Crow]
Jeremiah Johnson: You understand what he's sayin'?
Bear Claw Chris Lapp: Paints-His-Shirt speaks English, he just does this to aggravate me.

Jeremiah Johnson: Ain't that hair I see on your head, Del?
Del Gue: I figured that when I depart this life I'd like to leave something behind even if just to be remembered on some man's lodge pole.
Jeremiah Johnson: Sound thinking, Del.

Del Gue: Ain't that Hatchet Jack's rifle?
Jeremiah Johnson: Yep. Found him froze to a tree.
Del Gue: Damn! He was a wild one, old Hatchet Jack. He was livin' two year in a cave up on the Musselshell with a female panther. She never did get used to him.

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