“LIVER-EATING JOHNSON: THE TRUE STORY OF JEREMIAH JOHNSON”
BY DR. DENNIS MCLELLAND
“Liver-Eating Johnson: The True Story of Jeremiah Johnson,” presents a factual, heavily referenced, honest representation of the life of Montana mountain man John “Liver-Eating” Johnston, as portrayed by Robert Redford in the 1972 movie, Jeremiah Johnson.
The legends and myths about Liver-Eating Johnston evolved from two sources: a book entitled Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver Eating Johnson, by authors' Raymond W. Thorpe and Robert Bunker, (upon which Johnston's bloated reputation was created); and the above referenced movie (Jeremiah Johnson). Both are historical fiction.
When exposed against the true mirror of historical fact as detailed in my Johnston biography, Thorpe and Bunkers' Crow Killer novel turns out to be a most wonderful read. However, virtually nothing in their entertaining book rings of historical fact. Many fans of the old west remain fascinated with the character of Liver Eating Johnston. They seek the truth about the wilderness exploits of this most extraordinary frontiersman.
The wilderness experiences of the real Jeremiah Johnson, John Johnston (a.k.a. John Garrison) were perhaps as impressive as were those of Jim Bridger and Kit Carson. Yet Johnston never achieved their level of fame and notoriety. This was apparently by design because he never purposefully sought the spotlight except but for one time - when he decided to join the Hardwick's "Great Rocky Mountain Wild West Show” in 1884, where he was billed (most appropriately) as The Avenging Fury of The Plains.
Johnston sought no glory except in the delight he took at running a knife over the throat of his Indian foe. Granted, he was clearly the master of a thousand woodland skills. No one could control his limitless avenging fury but himself. Fresh scars judged his wilderness deeds and multitudes of bloodied scalps; proud trophies of countless combat victories.
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About the Author
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Dennis McLelland Ed.D. “Have you ever been out for a late autumn walk in the closing part of the afternoon, and suddenly looked up to realize that the leaves have practically all gone? And the sun has set and the day gone before you knew it - and with that a cold wind blows across the landscape? That's retirement.” Stephen Leacock Here I sit. Sixty-four years have rocketed by and I suddenly find myself with considerable time on my hands. One year after World War II, I was yanked from a tenuous closet of safety and delivered quite roughly by a midwife with monstrous, calloused hands. I grew and seemed to blow out every pair of shoes. The years passed too quickly. College, Grad School, marriage, kids, divorce, re-marriage, great times - brutal times. When I was fourteen, it was a very good year. It was the first season that smiled upon me. I wrote and published my first article for a Teamster’s Union Newsletter. Jimmy Hoffa hadn’t gone missing yet, so my article was anything but sensational. The article I wrote focused upon the history of the A&P supermarkets; nothing spectacular; but I was published! I was quickly transported to the fall of 1982; the year when I published my second article. I was an educator for thirty-years in various high schools, and began to regularly submit articles to various newspapers and magazines in the field of education. I had the moxie and ability to write grants for my school districts, which brought in considerable sums of funding. I was also able to speak at national education conferences, which helped to merge my writing with presentations on the results of my grants. In the 1990’s I also wrote articles in the area of “old west” history, specifically about the town of Tombstone and some of its most notable citizens. In addition, and most importantly, I have shared my wife’s ministry for the past twenty-four years. She is a pastor who works with the Hispanic community. It was during this ministry that I realized that most Christians have little or no knowledge about what God’s word says about the rapture and end-time events. Hence, I decided to write a book with the purpose of helping people to find comfort and security in the Biblical fact that true Christians will not participate in the tribulation. The year 1999 was similarly a very good year. I completed my dissertation and received an earned Doctorate in Counseling Psychology. I utilized this degree in Biblical counseling. In 2008, I authored a biography entitled “The Avenging Fury of the Plains,” which focused upon the historical character Jeremiah Johnson, as portrayed by Robert Redford in the 1972 film. To date, my book has sold nearly 600 copies. My book can be located online at Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Borders, buybooksontheweb.com, and other bookstores. Retirement is glorious. My second career as a published author is stimulating - and plain fun!