DSU professor to present research on Hugh Glass, Mountain Men


Students and community members can learn the real story behind “The Revenant” at a discussion this Friday.

South Dakota State’s Agricultural Heritage Museum will be hosting a free event, Hugh Glass and the Mountain Men Friday, March 18 at 7 p.m.

Orval Van Deest, South Dakota humanities scholar and professor at Dakota State University, will present the discussion. Van Deest has done in-depth research on the Mountain Men, Hugh Glass and the fur trade in South Dakota.

Van Deest’s presentation will consist of three different parts. The first part of the presentation will focus on the fur trade in South Dakota and the relationship between the American Indian populations and the white population.

The second part will touch on Hugh Glass being left for dead and his journey to get revenge on those who left him for dead.

The final portion will talk about how much of “The Revenant” is history and how much of it came from Hollywood.

Staff at the Agricultural Heritage Museum encourage students and community members to come ready to ask questions.

“This is a discussion program,” said Carrie Van Buren, collections coordinator at the Agricultural Heritage Museum. “It’s not a lecture, so we’re hoping for audience participation throughout the event.”

The Gift Shop at the museum currently carries three books that could give the audience more background on this time period of South Dakota’s history including “The Revenant,” “Lord Grizzly” and “The Saga of Hugh Glass.”

The presentation at SDSU began to come together before Winter Break.

“We found out the movie was coming out then,” Van Buren said. “We just happened to know of someone who had done a lot of research, so we started to put it together.”

Van Buren is hopeful that Van Deest’s presentation will enlighten attendees about the first contact between white population and the native populations as well as allow people to see that there was a very vibrant trade economy before the white population even arrived.

“We hope this program will provide a better understanding of South Dakota’s history and encourage those in attendance to read and expand their knowledge of our state’s history,” Van Buren said.

Friday’s event is free and open to the public and will be at an open gallery in the Agricultural Heritage Museum.