Jeremiah Johnson is a 1972 western film, directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford as the title character and Will Geer as "Bear Claw" Chris Lapp. The movie was said to have been based in part on the life of the legendary mountain man Liver-Eating Johnson, based on Raymond Thorp/Robert Bunker's book Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson and Vardis Fisher's Mountain Man. The script was written by John Milius and Edward Anhalt; the movie was filmed at various locations in Redford's adopted home state of Utah. It was entered into the 1972 Cannes Film Festival.
A jaded veteran of the Mexican War (1846-48), Jeremiah Johnson seeks solace and refuge in the West. He aims to take up the life of a mountain man, supporting himself in the Rocky Mountains as a trapper. His first winter in the mountain country is a difficult one; he has a brief run in with Paints-His-Shirt-Red, a chief of the Crow tribe, who observes a starving Johnson futilely fishing by hand.
Initially, Johnson uses a .30 caliber Hawken rifle for hunting and protection, but finds it under-powered for his needs. He stumbles on the frozen body of Hatchet Jack (another mountain man), clutching a .50 caliber Hawken in his dead hands, which Johnson gladly takes for his own. He then inadvertently disrupts the grizzly bear hunt of the elderly and eccentric "Bear Claw" Chris Lapp. After meeting at gunpoint ("I know who you are; you're the same dumb pilgrim I've been hearin' for twenty days and smellin' for three!"), Lapp takes him in and mentors him on living in the high country. Johnson claims he can skin most anything, so the first lesson is the delivery of a live grizzly bear into Lapp's cabin for Johnson to skin. After a brush with Crow Indians, including Paints-His-Shirt-Red (a friend of Lapp's), and learning the skills required to survive in the mountains, Johnson sets off on his own.