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Photo: SD Tourism

The Revenant: Wildlife of the Hugh Glass Story

February 5, 2016 – 9:35 pm

We Dakotans know the story of Hugh Glass. He’s part of our state legends and folklore, much like Wild Bill Hickok or Casey Tibbs. It’s usually fourth grade, when we turn our history lessons …

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Hugh Glass: The Real Revenant in Lemmon, SD

January 14, 2016 – 5:11 pm
Photo: SD Tourism

Photo: SD Tourism

“The Revenant” movie has the world buzzing. The movie, staring Leonardo DiCaprio, took the winter movie releases by storm. But like Hollywood does, the changes from book to movie are colossal.

Residents of Lemmon, South Dakota, are happy to share the real story of fur trader and trapper Hugh Glass who suffered a gruesome bear attack just a couple miles from their sleepy town of 1200.

First of all, anyone who visits Lemmon or neaby Shadehill Recreation Area will note that they are not in the mountains like the movie shows, they are on the northern mixed grass prairie. And, there are very few trees. Very few.

prairie scenic Hugh Glass

Photo: SD Tourism

The real story of Hugh Glass takes place “Where north and south fork of grand river come together to form the Grand River,” John Lopez, Lemmon resident said in a video he posted about the site. “Today it’s known as Shadehill Reservoir, and the very spot where Hugh Glass was mauled is under water.”

The Bureau of Reclamation completed a dam on the Grand River in 1954. The reservoir has 5,000 acres of surface water today and provides excellent fishing and recreation opportunities. Shadehill Recreation Area is managed by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. One side of the reservoir has campsites, a lodge, a boat ramp and picnic shelter. The other side of the reservoir, the Hugh Glass Lakeside Use Area, is a primitive campground with 12 sites for that type of rough camping.

The Hugh Glass Rendezvous will be held there August 25 to 28, 2016, with reinactors accurately recreating the time period Glass and other fur trappers were there.

Prairie scenic Hugh Glass

Photo: SD Tourism

Lemmon, S.D., is just 12 miles down the road. The town of 1200 is ready to welcome visitors who want to learn more about the area’s history. The Grand River Museum, open May 1 to September 30, has several displays about not only Hugh Glass, but also the area’s ranching history, dinosaur dig sites and Native American history.

Petrified wood park

Petrified Wood Park in Lemmon, SD. Photo: SD Tourism

Visitors can also stop at the world’s largest petrified wood park in Lemmon. The park is filled with petrified wood formations and some other geological specimens and takes up an entire city block. The museum in the park is constructed itself with petrified wood.

Residents give a nod to “The Revenant” book by Michael Punke, but most cite “Lord Grizzly” by Frederick Manfred for putting the story of Hugh Glass in the public’s eye originally. “Lord Grizzly” was published in 1954 after Manfred spent years studying Glass, including crawling around the ground himself with an arm and a leg bound up so he couldn’t use them. Punke’s 2002 book brought Glass’ story back to the forefront and Hollywood grabbed it up for film.


Visit Lemmon, South Dakota, and remember, never judge a book by its movie! 



Book Festivals: 5 Tips for Attending a Festival

September 6, 2015 – 4:04 pm
mary badham2

Book Festival: Five Things to Bring
Attending a book festival seems like a simple enough task. But a little preparation can make your experience even more enjoyable.
What should you bring to your regional book festival?  Here are five tips that …

South Dakota Festival of Books

August 16, 2015 – 12:04 pm

This fall, book lovers will head for the hills—the Black Hills, that is! The 2015 South Dakota Festival of Books, Sept. 24-27 in Rapid City and Deadwood, will feature events for readers and writers …

2014 Holidays Gifts for Book Lovers

November 29, 2014 – 8:37 pm

Our annual list is so much fun to make – I hope you enjoy purchasing from it as much as we enjoy showing you all these great ideas and projects!
The Great Gatsby T-Shirt
Everything at …

Wordsworth: Upon Westminster Bridge

September 20, 2014 – 9:29 am
Westminster Bridge

By Steve King, Today In Literature
In September, 1802, William Wordsworth completed the sonnet, “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge,” one of his best known short poems. The actual moment on the bridge had come a month …

Albuquerque: Treasure is Behind the Counter

September 9, 2014 – 11:05 am

A bookstore can be old, dirty and or full of rats and people who love books will still go inside. Books have a power to draw people in the doors to thumb through rough …

Peter Heller: And I Asked Her to Marry Me

September 7, 2014 – 9:22 am

Road Trips for Readers asks one question to authors who are attending the South Dakota Festival of Books each year. This year, we asked, “What is your favorite road trip you ever took?” We’ll be …

Sandra Brannan: Two Trips with Someone You Love

September 6, 2014 – 6:02 pm

Road Trips for Readers asks one question to authors who are attending the South Dakota Festival of Books each year. This year, we asked, “What is your favorite road trip you ever took?” We’ll be …

Lawrence Diggs: Travel for Novel-Worthy Narratives

September 4, 2014 – 12:19 pm

Road Trips for Readers asks one question to authors who are attending the South Dakota Festival of Books each year. This year, we asked, “What is your favorite road trip you ever took?” We’ll …